How to Become A Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in Kentucky

How to Become A Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in Kentucky

By Ame Vanorio © 2018


Are you interested in becoming a Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator?  Are you passionate about saving wildlife and helping them to gain the skills necessary to survive in the wild?

Along with compassion, a good rehabber has a working knowledge of first aid and triage. Wildlife Rehabbers work with a veterinarian to establish good medical practices. And most important for their safety and the animal's well-being rehabbers need to have an understanding of zoonoses - animal to people diseases. 


In Kentucky, most rehabbers are volunteers. A few persons may also be wildlife biologists and work for the state parks or the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Many rehabbers have part or full-time jobs to support their passion and/or their families.

Volunteering for a licensed Kentucky wildlife rehabilitator is a good way to find out if you want to become a rehabber. Many wildlife rehabilitators accept volunteers. Finding a mentor is a good idea. Check out the list and contact one near you.

Get Licensed to Become a Kentucky Wildlife Rehabilitator

In Kentucky, all rehabbers must be licensed through the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Each rehabber is required to take the class Basic Class in wildlife rehabilitation from IWRC plus classes for continuing education to become licensed.  

Migratory birds fall under the licensing of the US Dept of Fish and Wildlife and have further requirements. 

Don’t miss the next class just around the corner!

November 2019 in Bowling Green, KY

More information to follow as it becomes available.

Working With Wildlife

Wild animal babies need very specific care. I work closely with our vet to provide proper treatment. And our overall goal is to release our animals back into an appropriate natural habitat. Rehabbers do not play with wildlife. They want them to be ready for freedom from humans :)

Wildlife rehabilitators often deal with the public. A big part of rehabilitation is education. I can not tell you how many calls I get every spring from people who pick up baby fawns. I work to educate the public on what to do if they find a baby animal.

There are orphans and there are kidnap victims – it is important to know the difference and be able to gently articulate that to the public. In addition, some rehabbers such as myself, do education programs in their community.

We desperately need more wildlife rehabilitators in Kentucky! As a rehabber you can take on as few or as many animals as you are able. You do not have to accept any animal you are not comfortable with taking on. Some people specialize in one or two species and some are open to many.

If you have questions leave a comment below. You can check out our Facebook page to learn what is going on in the state.

Ame founded the Kentucky Wildlife Rehabilitation Association in an effort to offer support and communication for Kentucky rehabbers. We hope you will join us. There is no cost to join just a willingness to be involved.

 Ame Vanorio is the director of Fox Run Environmental Education Center and the founder of Kentucky Wildlife Rehabilitation Association. We welcome your comments and questions.