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.

Most wildlife rehabilitators are unable to provide services to pick up wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitators, including veterinarians, are volunteers and by law may not be paid for their services except by donation. They are not on call 24 hours/day and many of them have their facilities at their home. Please respect their time, compassion, and personal expense put into every animal they care for and please consider donating to these caregivers.

Wildlife Rehabilitators are limited by their state and federal permits as to how many and what species of animals they may admit to their facility.

Wildlife Rehabilitation in Washington State

Wildlife rehabilitation is a profession licensed by the State of Washington. It is unlawful to possess wildlife for rehabilitation without first obtaining Washington State Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit (WAC 232-12-064).

Although the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages wildlife on a population level rather than for  individuals and does not provide wildlife rehabilitation services, we value the role that wildlife rehabilitators play in caring for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife in our state and the services they provide to the public.

All native wild birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians are protected by Washington State laws and regulations (RCWs and WACs). Anyone wishing to practice wildlife rehabilitation is required to obtain a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit from the WDFW. A wildlife rehabilitation permit authorizes a person to temporarily possess and treat injured, diseased, oiled, or abandoned wildlife for the purpose of wild release.

Rehabilitators 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.

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. On average, 50% or more of wildlife brought to wildlife rehabilitation facilities die or must be euthanized. Wildlife rehabilitators must make difficult decisions daily and take their responsibility to each animal seriously. Every animal is carefully evaluated, diagnosed, and treated through a program of veterinary care, proper diet, medication, physical therapy, exercise, and prerelease conditioning. Successful rehabilitation means that released animals are physically and psychologically fit and able to truly function as wild animals. This is defined in Washington State law and includes the ability to recognize and obtain the proper foods, select appropriate mates and reproduce, show fear of potential dangers (people, cars, dogs, etc.), and know how to avoid predation. Successful releases are planned according to weather, season, habitat, safety, and location.

If you are interested in becoming a Washington Wildlife Rehabilitator see the WDFW Wildlife Rehabilitation Manual.