Wildlife rehabilitation permits


How to apply for your permit

Before applying for your own permit, it is strongly recommended that you take introductory wildlife rehabilitation training courses, and get hands-on experience as a volunteer working with practicing rehabilitators. Your wildlife rehabilitation training and hands-on experience with animals will insure the welfare of animals in your care.Raccoon peeking around a tree.

To obtain a DNR wildlife rehabilitation permit you must:

  1. Contact the Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist (links are in the left navigation of this page) in your area for information on how to schedule an exam.
  2. Take and pass the written examination for your class of permit.
  3. Complete a permit application form and forward to your Regional Nongame Wildlife Specialist.
  4. Pass the Facility Inspection.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit Renewal

If you wish to renew your current class permit, submit a permit renewal form along with the following information to Nongame Wildlife Program, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155, prior to your permit's expiration date:

  • A current copy of your records. (This must be on file with the Minnesota DNR.)
  • A brief summary of ongoing rehabilitation activity.
  • Proof of successful completion of continuing education and training.
  • Name of a master class permittee who will serve as your advisor (novice Class only).
  • Name of a veterinary consultant.

A facility inspection is required once during every other permit renewal period, or a change of facility location, or upon application for a higher level permit.

Classes of wildlife rehabilitation permitees

(NOTE: All permitees must comply with all local, state and federal rules and regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation. The following is a brief summary of the wildlife rehabilitation regulations and the levels of qualifications. For the complete laws, consult Minnesota Rules Chapter 6244 and Federal Statutes 50-CRF.)

Novice Class

  • Must have reasonable experience and skills at handling and care of animals.
  • May possess only orphaned birds and orphaned rabbits, hares, squirrels, pocket gophers, rats, mice, voles, lemmings, beaver and porcupine for rehabilitation.
  • May not possess any endangered or threatened birds or mammals, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey, falcons or owls for rehabilitation.

General Class

  • Requires a minimum of two years as a Novice class permit holder.
  • May possess orphaned, sick or injured birds, saw-whet and screech owls, kestrels and mammals for rehabilitation. Deer and bear may be possessed for rehabilitation if specified in the permit.
  • May not possess any endangered or threatened bird or mammals, big game, or hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey, falcons or owls for rehabilitation.

Master Class

  • Requires a minimum of four years as a General class permit holder.
  • May possess orphaned, sick or injured birds and mammals, except endangered, threatened, and big game species, for rehabilitation.
  • Deer, bear, endangered and threatened species may be possessed for rehabilitation if specified in the permit.

Requirements common to all permit classes

  • must be at least 18 years of age
  • must pass a written examination for the particulars permit class
  • must have adequate facilities for care and treatment of animals undergoing rehabilitation
  • must have a licensed veterinary consultant to advise on care and treatment of animals

Mentoring program

Master class permittees helping novices
Novice class permit holders are required to have a master class permittee as a mentor. This is to ensure that novices will have an experienced rehabilitator to whom they can turn to answer questions, teach them various techniques, and provide direction in dealing with problems. A letter of recommendation from the mentor is needed in order for a novice to advance to the general class permit level.

Young squirrels in a rehabilitation center. Veterinary consultant

DNR rules require all wildlife rehabilitation permit holders to have a licensed veterinary consultant. Beyond meeting the regulatory requirement, it is critical for the welfare of animals undergoing rehabilitation that permit holders have a good working relationship with their veterinary consultant. To a large extent, the quality of care you will be able to provide animals will depend on your choice of a veterinary consultant and the working relationship you maintain with that person.

Possession of Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern species

  • Novice, general and master class permittees may possess endangered, threatened and special concern species for transport to another person authorized by permit to possess such animals for rehabilitation, or to a licensed veterinarian for emergency treatment only.
  • Novice, general and master class permittees may possess special concern species for rehabilitation as allowed under the general species provisions of their permits.
  • Only holders of master class rehabilitation permits may possess endangered and threatened species for rehabilitation by special provisions in their permits.

Continuing Education

Persons wishing to renew their permits will be required to first complete a certain amount of continuing education. Also, advancement to a higher class of permit (e.g., novice class to general class) requires completion of continuing education while in the lower class. Such continuing education is to help insure that permit holders keep current on changes and developments in wildlife rehabilitation and animal care in order to insure that they are handling and treating animals in a humane manner based on the most current knowledge in the field.

Record Keeping

All permittees are required to keep complete and up to date records on forms provided by the DNR. A copy of each year's record must be submitted to the department by January 31 of each year.

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