Wildlife rehabilitation rules and conditions

The following are key state rules for wildlife rehabilitation regarding the required permit, care for injured and diseased animals, inspection of facilities and other issues.

  • A wildlife rehabilitation permit from the Department does not exempt the wildlife rehabilitator from complying with other state, federal, county, and city laws and regulations. A federal wildlife rehabilitation permit is needed to rehabilitate migratory birds.
  • In compliance with Washington state law, wildlife remains the property of the state and is subject to control by the state.
  • It is unlawful to 1) publicly display wildlife undergoing rehabilitation and 2) use wildlife in rehabilitation for propagation.
  • The department will make available to the public and wildlife rehabilitation permittees a list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of wildlife rehabilitation permit holders and the species they are authorized to rehabilitate.
  • Wildlife under rehabilitation will be maintained in a separate enclosure from domestic or exotic wildlife to prevent the possibility of disease transmission.
  • Injured or diseased wildlife requiring treatment by a licensed veterinarian will receive such treatment as soon as possible.
  • The regional wildlife rehabilitation coordinator will be notified of wildlife known to have died of the following diseases: avian cholera; avian pox; duck viral enteritis (duck plague); environmental contaminants (lead shot poisoning, oil spill contamination, etc.); ornithosis; Newcastle’s disease; rabies; canine distemper; or tuberculosis (in species other than birds).
  • The Director may limit the numbers and species of wildlife to be rehabilitated at a wildlife rehabilitation facility based on the wildlife rehabilitator’s qualifications and their ability to comply with the all rules, standards and guidelines, and standard wildlife rehabilitation practices.
  • Oiled bird rehabilitation facilities must comply with the facility requirements in WAC 220-450-200. When treating oiled birds, the facility requirements.
  • WDFW staff including WDFW enforcement officers may inspect at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner the wildlife, permits, records, and wildlife rehabilitation facility of any wildlife rehabilitator.
  • The wildlife rehabilitation manager will be notified within 24 hours when a state endangered or threatened wildlife species, or an oiled bird, is received at a wildlife rehabilitation facility. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager will be notified within 72 hours when a state sensitive species or marked, tagged, or banded wildlife is received at the wildlife rehabilitation facility.
  • The holder of a wildlife rehabilitation permit must, prior to release, notify the wildlife rehabilitation manager when an endangered or threatened species is ready for release.
  • The wildlife rehabilitation manager will be notified within 24 hours of any state endangered or threatened species, or oiled bird, which dies. Live endangered or threatened species unsuitable for return to the wildlife shall be reported to the department as soon as the determination is made. Endangered or threatened species will not be disposed of or euthanized without prior Department and USFWS approval.
  • Except as authorized by the department, rehabilitated wildlife will be released as soon as possible, but no later than 180 days, into its proper habitat in the same area as recovered.
  • Rehabilitated oiled birds shall only be released in the same area as recovered when the threat of becoming re-oiled no longer exists. If the area that they were recovered in is not clean enough to allow for their release at that location, department approval is required prior to releasing rehabilitated oiled birds in another location.