Wildlife rehabilitation is the process of caring for injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals and releasing them back to the wild when they are able to survive on their own. Permits are required from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to rehabilitate any wild animals. Additional permits are required from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to rehabilitate native birds.
Humans are always a young wild animal’s last hope for survival, never its best hope. An “orphan” is a young animal that is not able to care for itself and whose parents cannot be found, reuniting attempts have failed, or parents are known to be dead. If you see a feathered baby bird hopping and flapping, it’s probably a fledgling with parents nearby feeding it as it’s learning to fly. Rabbits and deer leave their young alone for hours at a time.
Click here to help you determine if an animal you see is orphaned.
Find a wildlife rehabilitation center near you:
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife lists wildlife rehabilitation centers by county.
- National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association has helpful national resources.
- International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council has links for U.S. and international rescue centers.