Do I Need a License?

Yes.

US wildlife rehabilitators must hold permits or licenses from the state and federal governments. Other permits from local agencies also may be necessary. If you work with a licensed rehabilitator or in a licensed facility, you may not need your own license or permit. Ask specifically if you need a permit for what the facility wants you to do, such as a transport permit or a permit to take orphaned wildlife home on weekends. Requirements vary from state to state: you are responsible for making sure your activities are legal. If you need to contact the permitting agencies, look for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Permit Section regional office and the state agency that manages wildlife, such as a Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Conservation, Fish and Game, etc., Call and ask specifically for the wildlife permit officer or check the state website for details.

In Canada, licensing varies from province to province. For rehabilitating migratory birds, contact the provincial office of the Canadian Wildlife Service, (Federal) Ministry of the Environment. For other wildlife species, contact the appropriate provincial ministry department.

Are there both state and national regulations?

Yes. The US Fish & Wildlife Service is responsible for migratory birds and federally threatened and endangered wildlife throughout the United States. The Service has printed regulations and permits pertaining to different activities, such as rehabilitation, involving these animals. Ask US Fish & Wildlife to send the appropriate rules or visit the website. 

Regulations and other requirements for becoming a wildlife rehabilitator varies from state to state. Each state agency is responsible for non-migratory birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and state threatened and endangered wildlife. Request your state agency’s wildlife rehabilitation regulations.

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