How to become a wildlife rehabilitator- NewBalancejobs
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How to become a wildlife rehabilitator

How to become a wildlife rehabilitator has been well-explained in this article with all the academic and life experiences all considered.

If you love animals and wildlife in general, a wildlife rehabilitator position can be rewarding for you. Wildlife rehabilitators must have extensive knowledge of various animals and the care they need to survive in the wild. In this position, you could work for non-profit groups, humane societies, zoos, or even the government. In this article, we explain what a wildlife rehabilitator does, what skills and education are required for this role, and provide you with the steps to take to pursue this career.

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What does a wildlife rehabilitator do?

Wildlife rehabilitators examine and care for various wild animals that are sick, injured, or orphaned in hopes of returning them to the wild. In many cases, they work with veterinarians to ensure that these animals can survive in their natural habitat. Wildlife rehabilitators can spend time caring for a wide variety of animals, such as mammals, birds, and reptiles. Additional duties include:

  • Evaluation of animals and identification of injuries.
  • Work with veterinarians to determine a treatment plan
  • Administer medications and monitor progress.
  • Slowly reintroduce animals to their habitats
  • Placing animals that cannot return to the wild in educational facilities or shelters.
  • Monitoring animals once released

Education required for wildlife rehabilitators

Along with extensive knowledge of various animals, wildlife rehabilitators will need the proper state and federal licenses and permits to care for these animals and release them back into the wild. Although a degree is not required for wildlife rehabilitators, a bachelor’s degree in animal biology or science would be beneficial. This is because the course work for these degrees helps play a role as a wildlife rehabilitator and general animal care. You might also consider taking relevant online classes for this field.

Wildlife rehabilitators will also need proper certification. The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council offers the Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator certification. To obtain this certification, applicants must pass an exam and renew their credentials every two years. Many rehabilitators also choose to specialize in a specific type of animal, such as mammals or reptiles. In these cases, it is important to acquire knowledge and experience regarding the specialty of your choice.

Completing an internship could also help you gain knowledge and experience that you can use on the job. Similarly, volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation facility or for a veterinarian, for example, is a great way to gain hands-on experience. Becoming a member of a related association is another thing to consider. Ultimately, make sure you receive the proper certification, licenses, and permits as appropriate for the state in which you plan to work.

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How to become a wildlife rehabilitator

There are no set requirements to become a wildlife rehabilitator, but you can consider the following steps to develop your career in this industry:

1. Get the right vaccines

Working in a rehab center will require you to get vaccinated. This is due to the wide variety of animals that you will come into contact with daily. It is best to ensure that you are safe from any illnesses these animals may have. One of the vaccines you should receive is the rabies vaccine.

2. Get informed

Whether you decide to pursue a higher education degree or not, volunteering or taking an internship could be beneficial in ensuring that you provide quality care to the variety of wild animals you meet throughout your career. You might also consider interning for a vet or a wildlife rehab center. If you choose to pursue a degree, make sure it is in a related field, such as biology, zoology, or animal science. The more experienced and knowledge you gain, the better wildlife rehabilitator you will be.

3. Consider where you want to work

Wildlife rehabilitators may work in a wildlife rehabilitation center or a large facility or institution such as a zoo, aquarium, or museum. Decide where you think your skills would be best to use and find work in those locations. If you interned at a rehabilitation center or zoo, you might consider looking for a permanent job there.

4. Apply for a job

Once you have determined the type of facility you would like to work for, begin your job search. It’s important to consider not only your location but also the specific education or skill requirements of the employer. Make sure you have all the necessary skills to get the job done. It is also important to consider the city and state in which you would like to work. Keep in mind that wildlife rehabilitator roles are more common in more populated areas.

Wildlife rehabilitator skills

Wildlife rehabilitators must have a wide variety of hard and soft skills to perform their job with the greatest success. Here are some skills you might consider acquiring for this position:

Wound management:

Because many wildlife is in danger, you must have experience in wound management. Diagnosing any injury is critical to your role as a wildlife rehabilitator.

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Food and nutritional needs:

Some animals you come across may be undernourished. You must know what the species normally eats, as well as how to feed it properly.

Animal and Cage Cleaning: 

To properly care for sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, you need to be able to provide the animals with a clean living space and clean them as needed. This can be important for animals rescued from oil spills or landslides.

Supervision and Teaching:

If you are in an administrative role, you may be tasked with supervising and teaching your fellow trainees the tricks of the trade. You may be tasked with providing audiences of all ages with an educational demonstration. Being an effective teacher is a great skill in this role.

Attention to Detail:

As a wildlife rehabilitator, you must complete your tasks thoroughly and carefully. It is also important to consider the safety of the animal.

High-Stress Tolerance:

Because you could be subjected to high-pressure situations with endangered animals, having a high-stress tolerance is vital in this role.

Are there risks involved in being a wildlife rehabilitator?

Although you may be injured when working with multiple species, wearing safety equipment and having the required vaccinations will prevent serious complications. Be sure to wear gloves and be aware of an animal’s movements to avoid further biting and scratching. In general, being a wildlife rehabilitator is a relatively safe profession.