What Is The Goal?
Our overall goal is to release the wildlife back into an appropriate natural habitat. We do not play with our wildlife. We want them to be ready for freedom from humans :)
We provide ways for our wild babies to learn skills. Things such as giving them opportunities to climb trees and dig in the ground. We buy natural foods such as minnows and put them in a bucket for the raccoon kits.
Wildlife Rehabilitators may start their own facilities. Some rehabbers work out of their garage. Here at Fox Run we have dedicated buildings for wildlife and have established ourselves as a 501c3 non – profit organization.
Other persons choose to volunteer for a wildlife rehabilitator. This person may or may not be licensed and comes in to assist on a mutually agreed-upon schedule. A volunteer for an environmental center or rehabber gets many of the positives without baring as much of the costs and liabilities.
Why I Love Rescuing Wild Animals
There are certainly many positives when being a wildlife rehabilitator. Rescuing an injured or orphaned baby and four-six months later watching that secure, healthy animal doing what nature intended – being wild and free. It’s a fabulous feeling. I find educating the public and sharing my love of wildlife with children is very rewarding. Rehabilitators play a crucial role in helping wildlife biologists track population and disease. I have worked on two national studies to track diseases and populations.
Some of the challenges rehabbers have are the cost and the time it takes. Wildlife infants, just like human infants, need frequent feedings and round the clock care. Baby wildlife require special baby formula, medical care and safe housing which requires money.
Many wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers and pay for at least some of these expenses out of their own pocket. Some states offer stipends and grants.
Some rehabbers become non-profits so that they may ask for donations and apply for grants.
Is It Legal?
Laws vary from state to state so it is important to check with your department of fish and wildlife or department of natural resources. It is illegal in all states to rehabilitate animals without the proper permits.
In Kentucky wildlife rehabbers are volunteers and by law must be licensed through the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Each rehabber is required to take the class Basic Class in wildlife rehabilitation from IWRC plus classes for continuing education to become licensed. (NOTE: There will be a class offered in November 2019 in Bowling Green, KY)
Migratory birds fall under the licensing of the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife for all states and have additional requirements.