Feeding a Varied Thrush. Photo courtesy of Robin Purcell, West Sound Wildlife Shelter.
How to Find a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator
Per WAC 232-12-275, it is unlawful to possess wildlife for the purpose of rehabilitation without first obtaining a valid Washington State Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit.
The WDFW maintains a referral list of trained licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Do not attempt to treat or raise a wild animal yourself; it’s illegal. Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately and follow their instructions. All species are different in their capture, care and handling requirements. If you are not properly trained, you could make their situation worse or kill them. If handled improperly, animals may lose their natural fear of humans and become more vulnerable to predation or injury. These animals are referred to as “imprints,” a condition often irreversible, and which dooms the animal to euthanasia.
Remember, wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers. Most pay expenses out of their own pockets. Many are involved in educating both children and adults in biology, ecology, stewardship, and responsible relationships with wildlife and the environment. Typically, their finances and time are limited and demand is great. You may not be able to contact a volunteer immediately, or they may not be able to help you at all, especially during spring and summer when they are swamped (see When NOT to “rescue” a wild animal.). You may have to transport the animal to them. If all else fails, you may be able to find a veterinary clinic willing to give immediate care (licensed veterinarians may possess wildlife short-term), however, you will need to pay for their services.
Washington State Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator Referral List
Facilities are arranged according to county. Most rehabilitators work out of their homes, and all gratefully accept donations.