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About the Checklist for Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation
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Why was it developed; what does it mean; and, how should it be used?

As stated in items 3 and 4 of “A Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Code of Ethics,” a wildlife rehabilitator should abide by local, state, provincial, and federal laws, and by current health and safety practices. The checklist was created to facilitate this process and to help wildlife rehabilitators provide appropriate housing and quality care for wildlife in rehabilitation.

The Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation (MSWR) book contains a lot of important information for wildlife rehabilitators, and it is helpful to have a separate list of specific items regarding the physical facility and materials used by rehabilitators, either in a home setting or at a center. Such a list should be used in conjunction with the MSWR book, by both rehabilitators and regulatory personnel, to evaluate the physical aspects of the facility where wildlife rehabilitation is being conducted. This checklist was drafted, edited, and refined by members of a working group of rehabilitators, and reviewed by an individual from one of the regulatory agencies. This regulatory individual also noted which items might be of particular interest to various agency personnel if they were inspecting a wildlife facility.

The checklist is to be used in conjunction with the MSWR booklet, not alone or in place of MSWR, nor is the checklist to be considered part of the MSWR. The purpose is to help wildlife caregivers and agency personnel. The checklist is intended to be an aid, not a burden or an imposition. If the checklist doesn’t work for you, you do not need to use it. However, if the checklist can make it easier for a rehabilitator to evaluate his or her own facility, or for a regulatory person to evaluate a facility, then it has served the intended purpose. The end goal, after all, is appropriate housing and quality care for wildlife in rehabilitation.

When the checklist was composed, the general terms “state and federal agency personnel” were intentionally used, rather than specifying which positions in which agencies might use the list. The working group saw no need to create multiple lists specific to each agency; each agency creates their own lists when inspecting facilities, depending on what information they hope to gain from the visit. Some of the italicized information might be used by personnel from state wildlife agencies evaluating a facility prior to issuing or renewing a wildlife rehabilitation permit; some of the italicized information may be used by personnel from state or federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) investigating an employee’s complaint regarding the lack of safe working conditions; still other italicized items on the checklist might be used by personnel from a state Department of Public Health; etc. By noting italicized items, the rehabilitator becomes aware of what things in the facility might be regulated by one agency or another, i.e., what items should be addressed for legal purposes, versus items that should be addressed to provide good rehabilitative care for the animals, but are not specifically regulated by agencies. 

You can find the checklist here (PDF file format, 44KB in size)