Facts about NWRA

  • Wildlife rehabilitators are committed to the treatment and subsequent release of indigenous wildlife in need. Estimates indicate over 75% of the animals cared for are affected in some manner by human activities. Nest tree destruction, vehicle collisions, unrestrained pets, illegal or legal wild “pet” trading, intentional or unintentional poisonings including oil contamination, window collisions, and non-target trapping or shooting result in wildlife distress. 

  • NWRA members treat hundreds of thousands of animals annually; some provide this care with little or no financial support.  Members provide educational programs to over eight million people each year in an effort to reduce the impact humans have on our native wildlife. 

  • The NWRA is a unique wildlife organization because its members’ activities are focused on preserving individual wild animals, rather than preserving entire populations and their habitats. 

  • NWRA is committed to the value of educating the public about wild animals as individuals and as part of the intertwining web of life. Habitat preservation is essential to the continued existence of all creatures. 

  • Approximately 64,000 birds, 39,000 mammals, and 2,300 herptiles (reptiles and amphibians) were treated by 343 NWRA survey respondents in 2007. The overall release rate for these animals was 60% for birds, 72% for mammals, and 69% for herptiles.  Survey respondents also handled over 252,000 wildlife-related telephone calls, and over half provided wildlife education programs to the public, reaching an estimated 839,000 people in 2007.
  • The organization recognizes the need to proactively work with state and federal regulatory agencies. In 2001, a grant for $32,000 was obtained to facilitate a special committee of agency personnel, rehabilitators, and other wildlife professionals to address better relationships and regulatory processes.
  • In 1984 the NWRA had a membership of 221 people; by 2009, the membership reached almost 1,800 people from all over the world. 

  • The members are a diverse group of people, ranging from those who work out of their homes to those who work in or run large wildlife rehabilitation centers, and ranging from interested beginners to experienced wildlife rehabilitation professionals. 

  • Officers, board members, committee chairs, and committee members volunteer their time, money, and talents. 

  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service issued approximately 1,402 federal MBTA Rehabilitation Permits in 2011.  In 2010, approximately 5,192 state permits were issued for the care of state-protected non-migratory animals. These numbers do not reflect the thousands of volunteers that work with those listed on the permits! 

  • According to a recent membership survey, 30% of the members are veterinarians, vet students, or veterinary technicians. Other members are affiliated with humane societies or zoos, still others are educators or biologists, or members of numerous other professions. 

  • The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA) incorporated August 25, 1982 in Illinois. The first national symposium exclusively on wildlife rehabilitation was held in February 1982 in Naperville, Illinois. 262 people attended that first symposium. Over 400 individuals from around the world are expected to attend the next Symposium. 


Annual symposium sites:

  • 2015 Princeton, New Jersey
  • 2014 Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • 2013 Portland, Oregon
  • 2012 Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • 2011 Albany, New York
  • 2010 Seattle, Washington
  • 2009 Chicago, Illinois
  • 2008 Cherry Hill, New Jersey
  • 2007 Chicago, Illinois
  • 2006 Costa Mesa, California
  • 2005 Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 2004 Orlando, Florida
  • 2003 Newport, Rhode Island
  • 2002 St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2001 Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  • 2000 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1999 Greensboro, North Carolina
  • 1998 Seattle, Washington
  • 1997 Columbus, Ohio
  • 1996 Houston, Texas
  • 1995 Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • 1994 Wilmington, Delaware
  • 1993 Sacramento, California
  • 1992 New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1991 Schaumburg, Illinois
  • 1990 Ithaca, New York
  • 1988 Denver, Colorado
  • 1987 Clearwater Beach, Florida
  • 1986 Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1985 St. Paul, Minnesota
  • 1984 Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • 1983 Naperville, Illinois
  • 1982 Naperville, Illinois