The wildlife rehabilitation permit authorizes a person to rescue, raise, and arrange for veterinary medical care or orphaned, sick, displaced, or injured native wildlife with the prudent goal of releasing the wildlife back to its natural habitat.
A wildlife rehabilitation permit shall be obtained prior to possessing live native wildlife. It is illegal to remove young wildlife from the wild, you are risking citation, and a permit will not be issued for illegally taken wildlife. These animals should be left in the wild, or returned there, and legal recourse for injured and orphaned wildlife is the prompt transfer of these animals to a presently permitted wildlife rehabilitator.
Mammal, reptile, and amphibian rehabilitation requires only this state permit.
In order to hold and rehabilitate federally protected birds (Migratory Bird Treaty Act) including raptors, songbirds, and waterfowl, a person shall have both a state wildlife rehabilitation permit and a federal rehabilitation permit. Information on the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Migratory Bird permits can be found here. USFWS requires proof of a state permit before issuing the federal permit, therefore, KDFWR will issue a rehabilitation permit for birds, but it will be invalid until you also possess the federal permit.
Wildlife rehabilitators that may exhibit wildlife for educational purposes must comply with USDA Animal Welfare Act licensing requirements. If you are exhibiting wildlife for remuneration, including donations and regardless of a non-profit status, you may be required have a valid Class “C” Exhibitors License issued by USDA-APHIS-Animal Care. It is your responsibility to comply with all state and federal laws. If you have questions regarding federal USDA licensing requirements, or need to obtain this license, please call the USDA-APHIS-Animal Care Eastern Region office at 919-855-7100.
Wildlife rehabilitation permits are valid from January 1st thru December 31st.
To obtain the wildlife rehabilitation permit, a person shall:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Not also hold a captive wildlife permit;
- Prepare facilities that comply with the Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation for at least the species you plan to accept;
- Have their facilities inspected by a KDFWR Conservation Officer to receive their required signature on the permit application if compliance is demonstrated;
- Submit proof of successful completion of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) course “Basic Rehabilitation” or obtain a “course pending” status for up to one (1) year;
Submit a $25 application fee and completed wildlife rehabilitation permit application
For renewals only, file an annual report with the department of the previous year's activity.
- Licensed veterinarians are exempt from the course requirement
- If you receive a “course pending” status, failure to submit proof of successful course completion within the one (1) year time allotment will result in your permit’s immediate invalidity and you will not be eligible to renew until such proof is submitted
- View the IWRC class schedule; for questions regarding the course call the IWRC at 866-871-1869.
301 KAR 2:075. Wildlife rehabilitation permit
Wildlife rehabilitators shall file an annual report with the department of the previous year's activity.