Permitted wildlife rehabilitators are an important part of post-wildfire response

This season’s wildfires have had an impact on not only human lives and property, but also on all types of wildlife and their habitats. We know that people are eager to help and may try to take in and care for distressed or injured wildlife.

While we appreciate the positive intention, it can actually do more harm than good to the animal and yourself without the proper training, supplies, and facilities to rehabilitate. That is why Washington has several licensed wildlife rehabilitation facilities certified across the state. It is actually illegal to possess a wild animal in Washington, unless you have a proper permit or license.

red-tailed hawk
red-tailed hawk
Injured red-tailed hawk being transported to a rehabilitation facility.

Our agency relies on wildlife rehabilitators to take in wildlife that is sick, injured, and truly orphaned. While WDFW manages wildlife populations on a broad scale, the department is not equipped to rehabilitate individual animals and values the services provided by permitted wildlife rehabilitators.

During this time, if you find burned or injured wildlife, you should call a trained and permitted wildlife rehabilitator. You can find a list of them on the WDFW website. Even if it seems the rehabilitator is some distance away, they can give appropriate advice and may even be able to meet for a transfer of the animal to them.

If you’d like to help wildlife affected by wildfire, consider reaching out to a wildlife rehabilitator near you to see how you can help. These rehabilitators have been taking in burned and impacted wildlife, and most of their efforts run off the contributions of volunteers and supporters.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

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