Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FWC Commissioners Approve Final Rule Revisions for Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits

Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, in the hands of a veterinarian
Raquel Pedrosa/Raquel Pedrosa -
Common Kestrel, Falco tinnunculus, in the hands of a veterinarian

Florida - Thursday February 22, 2024: At their February meeting, Commissioners with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved final changes to rules pertaining to the rehabilitation of native wildlife. The amendments will increase public safety, improve animal welfare, clarify current rule language, increase professionalism and update requirements for wildlife rehabilitation permittees.

At the December 2023 meeting, Commissioners directed staff to continue outreach efforts. Staff held two additional meetings and attended the 2024 Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Association annual conference to solicit additional feedback from stakeholders. The meetings were held in Panama City, Ocala and Kissimmee in January. These meetings, as well as 14 public meetings held in 2022 and 2023, were well attended by wildlife rehabilitation permittees and interested parties. Staff received feedback from stakeholders in person, over the phone and online, and have incorporated many suggestions into the rule changes, including training requirements for specific hard-to-rehab species, continuing education requirements for general wildlife rehabilitators and establishing a maximum distance for off-site volunteers.

The rule changes are wide ranging and include a number of both major and minor amendments to several areas, including permitting, applicant qualifications, wildlife care and education requirements. The revisions will create an apprentice level permit for wildlife rehabilitation, prohibit more than one general rehabilitator from operating at the same location, require continuing education for general wildlife rehabilitators and change requirements for the location and duties of off-site volunteers.

“On behalf of the Commission we would like to thank our partners in wildlife rehabilitation,” said FWC Commission Vice Chairman Steve Hudson. “The Commission and FWC do a lot of things but we can’t do all things. We look to our partners and we thank you for your help throughout this process.”

Permitted wildlife rehabilitators provide support to FWC’s conservation efforts by expertly assisting with sick, injured or orphaned native wildlife in need and preparing them for safe return to the wild. The FWC maintains and publishes a list of permitted wildlife rehabilitators by county to allow the general public to contact the permitted wildlife rehabilitators directly when wildlife in need is found.

Find more information, including a list of FWC-licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your area, by visiting and clicking on “Injured and Orphaned Wildlife.”