For more information on the Wildlife Rehabilitators Program, please contact WDFW Wildlife Rehabilitation staff.


DO NOT use this email address to report sick or injured wildlife. For sick or injured wildlife please contact a local wildlife rehabilitator




Found Injured Wildlife?

Contact a local Wildlife Rehabilitator

Or call a WDFW Regional Office

Wildlife Vet examining a Northern Pigmy Owl. Photo courtesy of Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Center

Harbor seal in conditioning pool.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Mack, PAWS Wildlife Center.

Wildlife Rehabilitation in Washington State

Wildlife rehabilitation is a profession licensed by the State of Washington. Although the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages wildlife populations rather than individuals, we recognize the valuable role that wildlife rehabilitators play in caring for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife in our state. Each animal is evaluated, diagnosed, and treated through a program of veterinary care, proper diet and medication, physical therapy, exercise, and prerelease conditioning.

Animals in rehabilitation face one of four fates: successful rehabilitation and release, non-releasable permanent educational placement, natural death as a result of its condition, or euthanasia. Successful rehabilitation means that released animals are physically and psychologically fit and able to truly function as wild animals. This includes being able to recognize and obtain the proper foods, select appropriate mates and thereby reproduce, show fear of potential dangers (people, cars, dogs, etc.), and know how to avoid predation. In additions, successful releases are planned according to weather, season, habitat, and location.

All native wild birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are protected by Washington State laws and regulations (RCW’s and WAC). Anyone wishing to practice wildlife rehabilitation is required to obtain a permit from the WDFW. A wildlife rehabilitator permit authorizes a person to temporarily posses injured, diseased, oiled, or abandoned wildlife for the purpose of wild release. Individuals must meet several requirements to earn this permit (see Becoming a Wildlife Rehabilitator). Those who work with native migratory birds must also have a US Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Permit. Licensing ensures high standards of practice and that all persons engaged in wildlife rehabilitation are trained, qualified, and provide humane care and housing for wildlife in their custody.