A Wildlife Rehabilitator is someone who rescues and temporarily cares for sick, injured or orphaned wild animals until they are well enough and old enough to be released back into the wild.
In day to day work you may; pick up or rescue animals in need, take information of animals being brought to the facility, restrain and examine injured animals, provide critical care, consult with vets and assist with providing medical care, prepare suitable feed for each animal, clean enclosures, release animals that are ready to be released, maintain records, supervise volunteers, public speaking e.g. presentations or educational talks.
Key Skills Required:
- Experience in animal handling
- Knowledge of animal first aid
- Administration and IT skills
- Excellent Communication
- Effective team work skills
- Attention to detail
- Physical fitness
- Ability to stay confident, calm and composed under pressure
Key Points to Know:
- This role requires long and unsociable hours including evenings and weekends
- You will work with a wide variety of native wildlife so knowledge of local species is very useful
- Work can be high stress and intense at times
- Educating the public is a large part of being a wildlife rehabilitator, answering questions, explaining what to do if they think a wild animal is need etc. will be a frequent part of your work
To be a Wildlife Rehabilitator you will need to:
Have experience working with animals This is the number one requirement for wildlife rehabilitators. Experience can be gained through volunteering or interning at a wildlife rehabilitation centre.
An animal care or animal management diploma course is beneficial, there are also wildlife rehabilitation and first aid courses available online that will help you to further your knowledge and understanding of wildlife rehabilitation.
Although not essential, a degree in animal science (or related subject) may help you to stand out among competition. Some wildlife rehabilitators choose to qualify as vet nurses first and then go into wildlife rehabilitation.
Estimated average salary: £18,000 – £25,000 annually.
As a Wildlife Rehabilitator, you can anticipate employment in a variety of roles including:
- Wildlife rehabilitation centre
- Non-profit organisation
Being a Wildlife Rehabilitator is a demanding but rewarding job, many rehabilitators are volunteers, however paid positions are offered at larger facilities. Job openings are usually few and far between. Generally, the best way into this line of work is to volunteer at your local centre. While volunteering, you will gain the knowledge and experience required for a paid position. When you have extensive knowledge, you may decide to open your own wildlife rehabilitation centre.