Wildlife Rehabilitation In Ohio

The State of Ohio, Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODW), is responsible for mammals, reptiles and amphibians, non-migratory game birds, and state threatened and endangered wildlife. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) is responsible for migratory birds and federally threatened and endangered wildlife. Both agencies have laws and regulations in place to assure the care given to wild animals in rehabilitation is humane, professional, and biologically sound.

Ohio permits allowing individuals or organizations to rehabilitate wildlife are divided into two categories and one special permission permit. If you work with a licensed rehabilitator or in a licensed facility, you may not need your own permit but you are responsible for making sure your activities are legal.

  • A Category I Permit allows individuals to rehabilitate healthy orphaned non-rabies vector mammals such as squirrels, Eastern Cottontail rabbits, and woodchucks. In order to apply, an individual must meet the requirements set forth in the Ohio Administrative Code and must have completed the Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation Training offered by OWRA (or equivalent).
  • A Category II Permit allows individuals with at least three years of rehabilitation experience to rehabilitate injured and diseased native Ohio wildlife as defined in the permit stipulations. Beginning in 2009, the state began requiring Rabies Vector Species Training in order to rehabilitate species such as raccoons, foxes, and bats.
  • Special Permission Permits must be obtained from the Chief of Ohio Division of Wildlife in order to rehabilitate state endangered animals.

To rehabilitate migratory birds and federally threatened and endangered wildlife, a USF&WS Special Purpose Rehabilitation Permit must be obtained. Individuals rehabilitating migratory birds may be a sub-permittee on the federal license, but also must have a state permit or be a sub-permittee of a licensed organization or individual. Birds not covered by the USF&WS are non-migratory game birds and non-native species such as the House Sparrow, European Startling, and Rock Doves.

For those interested in obtaining a wildlife rehabilitation permit in Ohio, please contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife at wildlife.permits@dnr.state.oh.us.

For information and upcoming training dates for the OWRA Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation Training please contact Kristen Beck. For OWRA Rabies Vector Species Training, please contact Barbara Ray.

© Ohio Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, 1075 Rte 343, Yellow Springs, OH 45387

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