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For Release: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DEC Announces Wildlife Rehabilitator and Falconry Exams

Exams Slated for April 20; Applications due April 13

Examinations for New Yorkers wishing to become licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitators and those seeking an apprentice license to practice the sport of falconry, has been scheduled for Friday, April 20, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The deadline for registering to take these exams is April 13.

The exams will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at DEC Regional offices across the state. (The exam will be offered from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Avon Office, Region 8). The list of Regional Offices can be found on DEC's website. There is no charge to take either exam. The wildlife rehabilitator license issued by DEC is free of charge; however, there is a fee of $20 for a two-year falconry license.

Wildlife rehabilitators care for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals with the ultimate goal of wildlife rehabilitation to prepare the animals for their return to the wild. Applicants should understand that a degree of technical skill and a significant commitment in time, money and effort is required to be a wildlife rehabilitator. Prospective applicants are encouraged to gain experience by serving as an assistant to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

A wildlife rehabilitator study guide and examination manual are available to applicants for $15 a set. The study materials also include the application necessary for registration. The materials were developed by wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians and biologists to teach applicants about the practice of wildlife rehabilitation, including technical requirements for licensed volunteers.

Wildlife rehabilitator applicants must be at least 16 years of age, submit two character references along with their application, have no convictions for violations of the State Environmental Conservation Law and be interviewed by a DEC regional wildlife staff person.

To qualify for the DEC Apprentice Falconry license, applicants must be at least 14 years of age, possess a valid New York small-game hunting license and maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing the raptors. Apprentices are limited to possessing one bird, either an American kestrel (a falcon also known as a "sparrow hawk") or a red-tailed hawk.

Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world. In the United States, recognition and acceptance of falconry as a sport is promoted primarily through the efforts of dedicated enthusiasts. In New York state, the tradition is continued by more than 200 licensed falconers. Falconry is a demanding sport which requires a significant commitment in time and effort. The novice must be prepared to accept the responsibility that is part of falconry.

After two years as an Apprentice falconer, a licensee may qualify for a General falconry license. To become a Master falconer, the licensee must have a minimum of five years experience practicing falconry at the General falconry level. At the master falconry level, individuals may possess up to three raptors of a variety of species.

Additional information on these exams and licenses is available by contacting DEC's Special Licenses Unit at (518) 402-8985, or by writing to:

NYS DEC
Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4752

Website: www.dec.ny.gov
Email: fwslu@gw.dec.state.ny.us

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