Edited by Rob Potter
ALBANY January 7, 2003 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty recently announced that a written examination for residents seeking to become licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitators will be given at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 4.
The two-hour exam, which is offered just once a year, will be held at designated locations across New York State. There is no fee for the exam or license, but individuals must pre-register by Friday, March 14.
Wildlife rehabilitators perform essential services by caring for injured, sick or orphaned animals and helping these animals return to their natural homes in the wild, Crotty explained. This exam is offered for people with the time, resources and strong commitment to developing the necessary skills to provide expert care to help distressed wildlife.
Wildlife rehabilitators must be willing to invest significant time, money and effort in handling, housing and providing necessary care to animals. The DEC encourages anyone interested in being a rehabilitator to obtain experience as an assistant to a licensed rehabilitator prior to taking the exam.
Applicants must be at least 16- years-old and will need to submit two character references. In addition, a DEC regional wildlife staff member will interview prospective applicants. Individuals who have been convicted of violating the State Environmental Conservation Law are not eligible to take the exam.
DEC offers a study guide and an examination manual to teach applicants about the practice of wildlife rehabilitation, including technical requirements for licensed volunteers. These study materials were developed by wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, and biologists as an aide to exam preparation and are available to applicants for $15 a set.
For additional information, call DEC at (518) 402-8985 or write: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752.