21 February

Step One: Becoming A Wildlife Rehabilitator

by Jon Katz

Maria and I have taken our first step towards becoming Wildlife Rehabilitators. Step one is applying to be a Wildlife Transporter, which we will do tomorrow.

We each sign a form outlining the procedures for transporting injured animals to places of safety – our farm or the Rehabilitators or the Wildlife Hospitals in the area.

We can do this almost immediately.

When we are brought or find a wounded animal, we call a Rehabilitation Supervisor to get instructions about where the animal should go. We are not permitted to treat any wild animal.

That is the next step. We will study for a Spring test by the New York State Department of Environment Conservation (DEC). We have some work to do before taking the test.

If we pass the test, we can be certified as Wildlife Rehabilitators. In the country where we live, injured wildlife is common. People treat the animals themselves (it’s not legal) or ignore them as a part of life.

It is strange for many country people to drive an owl or bird miles to another town or city. A lot of farmers have been helping wounded animals for years.

As transporters, we can learn how to handle these animals and be given special boxes and other equipment to stabilize and transport them. This will offer us a good learning opportunity.

We were inspired to become Rehabilitators after our encounter last week with an Eastern Screech Owl who appeared outside of Maria’s studio. He died as we tried to transport him to a Rehabilitator.

We love animals and love the idea of working to help them.  We are eager to learn how to do this properly.

We hope to be accredited Rehabilitators by late Spring, depending on how Covid affects the testing. We are both happy to be doing this together.

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