Wildlife Rehabilitator License
How to Become a Wildlife Rehabilitator
Wildlife rehabilitation can be very rewarding, but it requires time, resources and dedication. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer Wildlife Rehabilitator, you must:
- Complete and submit the application form (available below).
- Pass the Wildlife Rehabilitator Exam with a score of 80% or higher.
- Obtain two letters of recommendation.
- Interview with your Regional Wildlife Office.
Exam and License
Wildlife Rehabilitator License examinations are offered in April and August each year at most DEC offices statewide. Exam dates are typically announced on this page prior to the exam.
Exam Study Materials: To obtain the study materials for the exam, send a check or money order for $15 with a note stating your request to the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit (address available below).
Exam and License Application: To sign up for the exam or apply for the license, complete the Wildlife Rehabilitator License Application (PDF) (167 KB) and send it to the following address:
Special Licenses Unit
Albany, NY 12233-4752
License Fee: $0
Current Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators
Renew Your License
Licenses expire annually on December 31. To renew, you must submit the Log and Tally forms below. If you did not rehabilitate any wildlife during the year, a Tally form must still be submitted.
- Wildlife Rehabilitator Log (PDF) (162 KB)
- Wildlife Rehabilitator Log Tally (PDF) (223 KB)
- Wildlife Rehabilitator Log & Tally Instructions (PDF) (96 KB)
Rabies Vector Species (RVS) Forms
You must obtain a License to Collect or Possess to maintain possession of any wildlife that is non-releasable for use in educational programs, or as foster parents. Any non-releasable wildlife kept under a License to Collect or Possess must be certified by your veterinarian as permanently disabled and/or non-releasable. A copy of a letter from your veterinarian stating that the animal is non-releasable must be attached to your License to Collect or Possess application.
Contact the Special Licenses Unit at 518-402-8985 or by e-mail
- New York State Wildlife Rehabilitator Contact List - statewide contact list of rehabilitators with information on the type of wildlife they can care for.
- Care of Young Wildlife - Information on what to do if you come across young wildlife that appear abandoned or orphaned.
The following links leave DEC's website:
- New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council - The Wildlife Rehabilitator License exam is typically held at the NYSWRC conference each fall. To take the exam at this conference, please contact DEC's Special Licenses Unit.
- National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association
Applicable Laws and Regulations
New York Codes Rules and Regulations (6NYCRR)
- Part 175: Special Licenses and Permits - Definitions and Uniform Procedures
- Part 184: Wildlife Rehabilitators
- Part 189: Chronic Wasting Disease
New York Environmental Conservation Law (ECL)
Link leaves DEC website