Frequently Asked Questions
+ What is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator?
A licensed wildlife rehabber is an individual licensed by their state to possess injured, orphaned, sick, and otherwise distressed wildlife for the purpose of caring for them and returning them to the wild. Wildlife rehabbers are specially trained to care for these animals, and are required to abide by state and federal laws regarding wildlife possession, care, and release. Remember, it is illegal to possess wildlife if you are not a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
+ How do I become a wildlife rehabilitator?
To apply for a Class I wildlife rehabilitation license contact your State Department of Environmental Conservation for an application and details. For NY residents that info is here.
+ Where can I find a rehabber in my area?
To find a wildlife rehabilitator in New York download the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation rehabber contact list found here. To find a rehabber in other areas contact your State Department of Environmental Conservation, or call the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association at (320) 230-9920.
+ What kinds of animals do you rehab?
We currently rehabilitate small wild mammals and marsupials (ie squirrels, opossums, chipmunks, etc.). Because we do not yet have a dedicated rehabilitation center our capacity is very limited; we are not currently able to accept birds or large mammals, and we are not licensed to accept Rabies Vector Species -bats, raccoons, or skunks.
+ Does UUWR rehabilitate pets?
No, we can only accept wildlife. If you find a sick or injured pet or domestic animal, please contact your local veterinarian or animal shelter.
+ I see a distressed animal - can you come pick it up?
Due to our very limited resources we are currently unable to facilitate pick-ups.
+ How do I humanely evict an animal from my attic/garage/porch/etc.?
For excellent resources on dealing with "problem" wildlife, please visit our friends' at the Toronto Wildlife Center. For a list of rehabilitator-run pest control companies visit Humane Wildlife Control.
+ Why do you care for squirrels and other pests?
We do not consider squirrels, opossums, and other wildlife pests, but rather important members of our ecosystem.
+ Where is Urban Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitation located?
UUWR does not have its own facility yet. Right now the animals we rehabilitate are cared for in the private NYC spaces of licensed rehabilitators, which is why our current capacity is very small. We hope to one day open a fully operational rehabilitation center.
+ Are you an animal shelter or sanctuary?
We are neither. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to release animals back into the wild. Keeping wild animals in captivity is illegal except in rare cases where special licenses are granted.
+ Are you a no-kill facility?
Our goal is always to rehabilitate and release wild animals back into the wild where they belong. Animals who are not releasable are euthanized. Our euthanasia policy, developed by experienced rehabilitators in concert with a cooperating veterinarian, also requires us to euthanize when we believe it is in the best interest of the animal, such as cases of extreme suffering and/or a poor chance of survival. We love animals and don't like to see them euthanized, but it is our responsibility as wildlife rehabilitators to do what is best for the animals.
+ What is an RVS or Rabies Vector Species animal?
Bats, raccoons, and skunks are classified as Rabies Vector Species in NY, and wildlife rehabilitators need a Rabies Vector Species License to possess and rehabilitate them. Even though RVS have higher rates of rabies than other animals, any mammal can have rabies. If you have come in contact with a rabies vector species contact your doctor immediately.
+ Someone I know is keeping wildlife in captivity illegally--what should I do?
If you see or know of wildlife being held illegally, report it to your local Department of Environmental Conservation immediately. If you see animal cruelty contact your local police department. NYC residents can also call 311.
+ What education opportunities does UUWR offer?
UUWR is happy to send a representative to speak to your class, group, or at your event. We have presented wildlife programs for kindergarteners, girl scouts, and the Brooklyn Historical Society in the past, to name a few. Please contact us for any wildlife ambassador needs!
+ How do I volunteer or support UUWR?
For information on helping UUWR visit our Get Involved page.
+ Are you a tax-exempt non-profit organization?
Urban Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitation (UUWR) Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent eligible by law.