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March 21, 2008

DNR compiles wildlife rehabilitators registry

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources has compiled a registry to assist the public with injured or orphaned wildlife. The individuals or organizations listed are non-profit and are not federally or state funded. They volunteer their time and efforts to wildlife rehabilitation.

The care and treatment of injured or orphaned wildlife is specialized and should be left to those who are professionally trained to deal with their husbandry and dietary needs. In most cases you should not attempt to feed or treat these animals, but rather get them to a rehabilitator as quickly as possible. Birds are protected by federal law and require a special federal permit to rehabilitate. You cannot legally possess them without this permit. However, transporting them to a permitted rehabilitator is allowed.

Most wildlife rehabilitators do not rescue or relocate animals. For these services you should refer to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators list. DNR does not endorse or guarantee the services of any rehabilitators on the registry.

Guidelines can be found on many of the rehabilitation websites listed on the wildlife rehabilitation registry to determine whether or not a young animal is in need of rescue. Most young animals are being watched by the adults, but the adults are being very secretive. They do not want to draw any more attention to their young. Care should be given to make sure an animal is truly orphaned or injured before removing it.

Most rehabilitators do not provide services to pick up wildlife. They rely on you to get these animals to them. Most work out of their homes and are not on call 24 hours a day. Be courteous and mindful of this when you are calling for their assistance. Never drop off animals at a location, unless you are instructed to do so. Wildlife rehabilitators often volunteer their time and efforts to this chosen profession, but have lives outside of it as well. Please respect their capabilities, as rehabilitators often specialize in certain species of wildlife and establish limits on the number of animals they can accept and properly care for.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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