Wildlife Rehabilitation Resources and Directory
TEMPORARY CHANGES AT WILDLIFE REHABILITATION FACILITIES DUE TO HIGHLY PATHOGENIC AVIAN INFLUENZA
A strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza is causing illness and death in some species of wild birds in North America including raptors (especially bald eagles), shorebirds and waterfowl. There have also been cases in domestic poultry.
To protect the health of wild birds, some licensed wildlife rehabilitators are not accepting birds into care, especially birds exhibiting neurological symptoms, which can be a sign of HPAI infection.
Refer to the directory below to determine whether the licensed wildlife rehabilitator near you is accepting birds. If they are not, you can contact the DNR Wildlife Hotline by emailing DNRWildlifeSwitchboard@wisconsin.gov or leaving a voicemail at 608-267-0866 for a return phone call.
Always Call Ahead
Help reserve space for wild animals truly in need. Always call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator before assuming a wild animal needs help. Many wildlife rehabilitators may temporarily modify how they are able to assist injured, orphaned or sick wildlife to protect their own health and safety.
How To Tell If A Wild Animal Needs Rehabilitation
Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately if you have determined that a wild animal is sick, injured or truly orphaned. Never attempt to rehabilitate wildlife on your own. Wisconsin's licensed wildlife rehabilitators are specially trained to provide temporary care and treatment to wild animals for the purpose of releasing them back into the wild.
Consult the Keep Wildlife Wild page for detailed resources to help determine if a wild animal is truly orphaned and choose an appropriate course of action. We have printable resources for some of the most frequently found animals, including baby birds, fawns and other baby mammals.
Many young wild animal species spend most of their day without their mother, who may be away feeding or keeping distance to protect her young.
If you determine that a wild animal is in need of rehabilitation, place the animal inside a ventilated container in a dark, warm and quiet place away from disturbances, such as children and pets, until transport to a licensed rehabilitator can be arranged. Do not provide food or water; this can do more harm than good. See our Recommendations For Transporting Wildlife [PDF] for more information.
Temporary Changes To Wildlife Rehabilitation Procedures
It remains a concern whether SARS-CoV-2 can become established in wild animal populations. Beyond the potential threat to wildlife, this could pose a threat to human health as well should the virus become established in the wild and become a reservoir.
To protect against the potential introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into wild animal populations in Wisconsin, the DNR has put in place temporary modifications to rehabilitation procedures to protect the health of Wisconsinites and wildlife.
There are increased biosecurity requirements for white-tailed deer rehabilitation this year, and space may be limited for new white-tailed deer patients. This spring be sure to call a licensed rehabilitator before handling a fawn. Fawns spend most of the day on their own and are not abandoned.
Currently, the licensed rehabilitation of big brown bats under increased biosecurity is allowed during summer months only due to their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2. The rehabilitation of all other bat species is temporarily suspended.
Refer to the bat frequently asked questions page for information on how to handle common bat situations.
Currently, felid and mustelid species may not be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator for care or treatment due to their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2, but rehabilitators may still be able to provide advice over the phone or email. You may also contact local Wildlife staff for assistance.
Contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator immediately if you have determined that a wild animal is sick, injured or truly orphaned. Never attempt to rehabilitate wildlife on your own. Wisconsin's licensed wildlife rehabilitators are specially trained to provide temporary care and treatment to wild animals for the purpose of release back into the wild.
Orphaned, sick or injured deer are recovered every year by the public and department staff and placed with licensed deer rehabilitators. The CWD affected counties and the deer rehabilitation policy are in effect to outline the desired procedures for the intake, release and marking of deer to address disease management issues as well as compliance with state and federal laws. Specific geographic guidance will be communicated by the department directly to all licensed rehabilitators in the state annually or more frequently if necessary.
A 2021 study published in the Journal of Virology [EXIT DNR] documents the susceptibility of white-tailed deer to SARS-CoV-2.
- The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) has provided further guidance on the rehabilitation of bats as well as on mustelidae, felidae and canidae species [PDF] during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides more information on reducing the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2 between wildlife and humans [EXIT DNR].
- Guidance on SARS-CoV-2 and free-ranging white-tailed deer
The blue counties on the map represent locations of licensed wildlife rehabilitators. Click the county name in the table below for a list of wildlife rehabilitators and their contact information.
Please note that this map and table list only a portion of Wisconsin's licensed wildlife rehabilitators. If you are a licensed Wisconsin wildlife rehabilitator and would like to be added to our webpage, please contact the Wildlife Rehabilitation Program.