The legalities of wildlife rehabilitation
NC restrictions on Rabies Vector Species
US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) regulations for migratory birds
The local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services Office must be notified immediately upon receiving a threatened or endangered migratory bird species. Contact information for Ecological Services offices can be located on the Internet at http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
Records must be kept for 5 years for all migratory birds that die while in veterinary care, including those they euthanized. The records must include: the species of bird, the type of injury, the date of acquisition, the date of death, and weather the bird was euthanized.
Patients with certain injuries must be humanely euthanized. Veterinarians play a key role in providing this valuable service to patients. Migratory bird regulation 21.31 states that any bird that is completely blind, cannot feed itself, perch upright, or ambulate without inflicting additional injuries to itself where medical and/or rehabilitative care will not reverse such conditions must be euthanized. Amputation of a leg, a foot, or a wing at the elbow or above (humero-ulnar joint) is not permitted without obtaining special approval from USFWS.
Authorization must be obtained from the Migratory Bird Permit Office before euthanizing endangered and threatened migratory bird species. Approval is also needed before disposing of or transferring any live or dead endangered or threatened migratory bird specimen, parts, or feathers. All dead bald and golden eagles, and their parts and feathers must be sent to: National Eagle Repository, Building 128, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Commerce City, CO 80022.
All dead specimens must be disposed of by means that prevent any exposure of the specimens to animals in the wild in accordance with 21.31(e)(4)(vi); and (3).
Blood may be drawn and other medical samples taken for purposes of the diagnosis and recovery of birds under care, or for transfer to authorized facilities conducting research pertaining to a contagious disease or other public health hazard.
Necropsies can be conducted on dead specimens, except approval must be obtained from the Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office before conducting necropsies on threatened or endangered species.
The rehabilitator is required to notify the local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Office if there is reason to believe a bird has been poisoned, electrocuted, shot, or otherwise subjected to criminal activity.
If the sickness, injury, or death of any bird is due or likely due to avian virus, or other contagious disease or public health hazard, you must notify and comply with the instructions given by the State or local authority that is responsible for tracking the suspected disease or hazard in your location, if that agency is currently collecting such information from the public.
The wildlife Rehabilitation permit does not cover fawns and bear. A special state permit is needed to rehabilitate fawns. The NCWRC maintains a list of people who have a fawn permit on their website at this link: http://www.ncwildlife.org/pg06_CoexistingWildlife/FAWN_REHAB_LIST.pdf
The Wildlife Enforcement Division should be called in the case of orphaned black bear at 1-800-662-7137, or (919) 707-0040 for Wake County.
A state wildlife collection license and a federal salvage permit are needed to keep dead birds and parts of birds (including feathers). A rehabilitator may donate dead birds and parts thereof, except threatened and endangered species, and bald and golden eagles, to persons holding these permits.
A state wildlife captivity license and a federal education permit are needed to possess nonreleasable live birds for use in educational programs. A rehabilitator may place suitable birds with a person holding an education permit with prior approval from the issuing Migratory Bird Permit Office.
List of important phone numbers and websites
Permit information is provided by WRNC as a service to veterinarians in North Carolina. WRNC attempts to keep this information current, but the regulations may have changed since the last update. Each veterinarian is personally responsible for knowing the laws.
Wildlife Rehabilitators of North Carolina