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When a Wild Animal is in Distress, Rehabilitators Come to the Rescue

Wildlife Rehab

Even if you’re not an avid outdoor explorer, at some point you have probably encountered a wild animal that is sick, injured or orphaned. While it’s tempting to take these creatures under your own wing and nurse them back to health, they will usually need a trained wildlife rehabilitator to get back on the right track. Their goal is to help animals become strong and healthy enough to return to their natural habitats.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) is the lead conservation agency in the Commonwealth, and is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife and recreational boating. When dealing with animals in distress, the VDGIF often works with rehabilitation hospitals like the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

But there are so many animals in need, across the Commonwealth, that these organizations simply can’t handle them all. That’s where hundreds of trained rehabilitation volunteers come in, working from their own homes and garages to help guide these animals back to health and strength.

Rehabilitation work isn’t for everyone, and it can be overwhelming. It’s not just holding animals and soothing them back to health—it often involves ‘round-the-clock feeding and wound care. And it can be emotionally exhausting, since these stories don’t always end happily.

But as you can imagine, seeing an animal become healthy and strong is quite a reward. Wildlife rehabilitators provide an invaluable service to their communities, helping half a million wild animals in the United States each year.

What You Can Do