Types of Jobs
Wildlife rehabilitation jobs usually are found in areas with high human populations. The larger wildlife rehabilitation centers typically are located near these areas due to the more frequent interactions between humans and wildlife and potentially higher incidence of wildlife injury. These centers usually are large enough to offer a variety of jobs covering the many aspects of wildlife rehabilitation. Daily feeding and cage cleaning, medical treatment, public education, accounting and recordkeeping, biology, behavior and natural history of animals, and fundraising are a few examples. Many jobs require experience with wildlife and supervisory experience. Both the private and public sectors have employment opportunities. Publicly funded jobs exist at various city, county, and state nature and environmental education facilities. Jobs in the private sector are usually with nonprofit foundations and organizations. By law US wildlife rehabilitators cannot charge a fee for animals brought to them and this makes treating wildlife a nonprofit endeavor.
What qualities do I need to work in this field?
Successful wildlife rehabilitators are creative, resourceful, and realistic. They have initiative to learn and continue learning. Employers look for a person who is:
- listens and speaks well
- willing to work
- a team player
- eager to learn
- able to acknowledge strengths and weaknesses
- concerned about wildlife, people, and the environment
What type of work do Rehabilitators do?
A great variety of tasks are involved with wildlife rehabilitation. There is no ‘typical’ job description that defines what is expected of a wildlife rehabilitator. Paid positions can involve some or all of the following: feeding baby birds or mammals, assisting with fluid therapy and bandaging, supervising paid staff and/or volunteers, providing public educational presentations about animals and the environment, cleaning cages, maintaining databases on animals and/or members, fundraising, capturing and transporting injured wild animals, talking to concerned citizens who call with animal and environmental related situations, and much more.
Wildlife rehabilitation is many things, but glamorous is not one of them. Some jobs are repetitive and some are challenging. Some people may consider routine animal care boring. Some may get discouraged by callers who do not share their concern and respect for wildlife, or who do not believe that your advice is the best for the animal. Many wildlife rehabilitators have difficulty dealing with the death and suffering often encountered when rehabilitating wild animals.
There are also many rewards in wildlife rehabilitation: helping animals, relieving suffering, working with wonderful people, helping people regain some connection with nature, and, of course, taking joy in releasing animals back into the wild.
A definition of wildlife rehabilitation and more information on what it means to be a wildlife rehabilitator can be found here.
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