Wildlife rehabilitation is the volunteer practice of providing care and treatment to injured or orphaned wild animals or birds until such time as those animals are at an adequate level of health to be successfully returned to their natural environment. Required care may range from hourly feedings of orphaned animals to veterinary treatment of sick or injured animals. Time and financial requirements for volunteer wildlife rehabilitators can be very demanding, especially in the spring when large numbers of animals, which people mistake as being "orphaned," are found by the public.
Due to the sensitive nature of rehabilitating animals, it is important for the applicant to understand the special requirements and responsibilities associated with this type of activity. Please review all the information below before submitting a Wildlife Rehabilitation License application.
Last Revised on 1/9/14
Wildlife rehabilitators are not allowed to rehabilitate raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, coyotes, bears, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, wild boar, or endangered, threatened or special concern species.
Applicants should have adequate space in their rehab facility to limit human contact with animals that are being rehabilitated, and must meet the minimum caging requirements set forth in Title 15A NCAC 10H .0302 prior to applying for a rehabilitation license.
Applicants are encouraged to have prior experience in the care and rehabilitation of wildlife or have completed, at minimum, an introductory course in wildlife rehabilitation. Some examples of prior experience may include the completion of wildlife rehabilitation workshops, veterinary training, or experience as a wildlife rehabilitation assistant or volunteer.
Applicant must provide a copy of their federal rehabilitation permit to be eligible to rehabilitate migratory birds in North Carolina, including songbirds, raptors, or waterfowl.
Animals held under a wildlife rehabilitation license may not be used for any other purpose, including educational activities.
Licenses are issued to a single individual, at least 18 years of age or older, for a specific location. Rehabilitation can only occur at the location specified on the license.
Volunteers or individuals under the age of 18 may provide assistance to a licensed rehabilitator at their licensed facility without needing a license.
This is an annual license that expires on December 31st of each year.
Download the current Wildlife Rehabilitation License Rules:
Fill out a completed Wildlife Rehabilitation License application and submit to the Commission address listed at the bottom of the form. This license has a $5.00 application/renewal fee plus a $2.00 transaction fee which may be paid by:
- Credit card over the phone (number listed below) during normal business hours Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm
- Check or money order payable to NC Wildlife Resources Commission.