Injured or orphaned wildlife? Contact a wildlife rehabilitator near you (PDF).
Wildlife rehabilitator's are licensed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to accept wild animals for rehabilitation purposes. Find a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.
Interested in becoming a wildlife rehabilitator?
To rehabilitate wildlife, you must hold a valid State of Maine Wildlife Rehabilitator's Permit. To obtain this permit, you must complete an application, demonstrate a minimum level of competency by earning >80% on an exam, and meet several requirements as explained in materials contained in the following links. A [federal rehabilitator's permit](FederalRehabilitationPermit.docx) is required if you wish to rehabilitate species governed by federal regulations, such as migratory birds and threatened or endangered species.
First: Please review the reading entitled Wildlife Rehabilitation, Is It For You? (PDF) This was developed by the Wildlife Rehabilitator Recruiting Project and does a great job explaining the rigors involved in rehabilitating wildlife. It also points out some significant issues for you to consider prior to becoming a rehabilitator. Please consider this material carefully so that you can effectively evaluate your level of interest in obtaining a wildlife rehabilitation permit.
Second: If after reviewing the reading you decide to apply for a permit, please read the Application Process detailed below
Wildlife Rehabilitation Application Process
To begin the application process, you will need to complete the standard application form (PDF) and submit it to: The Wildlife Division, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street, 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333, Phone: (207) 287-5252, FAX: (207) 287-6395.
Upon receipt of your completed application, you are eligible to take the exam and submit the required materials. Please review the process as outlined below and call or email James Connolly, Wildlife Division Director, (207-287-5259, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
Outline of the application process
- Learn and understand the materials presented in the Study Guide (PDF) to ensure that your knowledge of wildlife biology and ecology, and wildlife rehabilitation practice, policy and procedures is sufficient for obtaining a permit.
- Use the Exam Booklet (PDF) to familiarize yourself with the questions that will be asked on the written exam and to gauge whether you are prepared to achieve the minimum passing score of 80%. It is a good idea to understand correct responses to all of the questions in this booklet prior to taking the exam, as the 100 questions on your exam will be drawn from this test bank.
- Understand and be willing to abide by the State Regulations (Word) concerning wildlife rehabilitation, and the Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation (PDF), which presents the minimum housing guidelines for animals in your care as a rehabilitator. Understanding the entire publication is required, as adherence to these standards is required by the State of Maine for ALL rehabilitation activities.
- Gather supporting materials/documentation requested on the Requirements Checklist (Word), Veterinary support form (Word), Facilities Information Sheet (PDF).
- When you feel adequately prepared and the requirements presented on the checklist have been met, schedule an appointment to take the exam with the clerical staff, Warden, or Regional Biologist at the MDIFW office in your area. If you have difficulty arranging this, please contact me. Please submit your supporting materials at the time of your exam. A permit will not be issued until these have been received and reviewed.
- Your exam and supporting materials will be sent to Augusta and graded/reviewed by the Wildlife Division Director.
- Successful completion of the written exam (score >80%) and adequate supporting materials will result in issuance of a State of Maine Wildlife Rehabilitators Permit. The permit is valid for two years and will be automatically renewed if you abide by the regulations governing the permit and submit an annual report by January 31 of each year.
- A phone conversation will accompany the issuance of all rehabilitation permits to discuss issues that are relevant to each individual applicant, with the intent of providing you resources and filling knowledge or informational gaps.
- With your permit, you will receive a list of all rehabilitators in your area. We encourage you to communicate regularly with them and rely on them for guidance.
Thank you for your willingness to follow this procedure. It has been designed with input from wildlife rehabilitators in Maine to ensure ethical and professional treatment of wildlife and to ensure the effectiveness of Maine's wildlife rehabilitation program. If you need special consideration or assistance in order to accomplish this process, please contact James Connolly, Wildlife Division Director, (207-287-5259, so we can discuss a strategy for your success.
Some of the files above are in Adobe Acrobat Reader and Microsoft Word. Adobe Reader files require the free Adobe Reader software. Microsoft Word files require either Microsoft Word or the free Word Viewer software.