Information About Possession of Wildlife and Wildlife Rehabilitation

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) appreciates the many public and private animal control departments, veterinarians, shelters, rescue organizations and volunteers that provide humane care for wild animals. These organizations provide an important service and are often called upon to be “first responders” for wildlife emergencies and to find legal placement for the care of wild birds and animals.

What should I do if I find, or a client brings me, an injured or orphaned wild animal?

The California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 679, states that the public has 48 hours to contact the Department of Fish and Game or a licensed rehabilitator to place an injured or orphaned wild animal. Veterinarians must also comply with this regulation if they are not a permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility, or working directly with a licensed rehabilitator. The Department recognizes that there are times when a wild animal may need intensive care for more that 48 hours. In these cases it is reasonable to keep the wild animal, but this needs to be coordinated with CDFG and/or a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. Additionally, as soon as the animal is stable, it shall be turned over to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility.

Wildlife rehabilitation permits are issued to facilities that provide minimum standard caging and must keep the housed wildlife isolated from people and domestic animals. These facilities must also demonstrate that they have the proper training and experience in wildlife rehabilitation.

How can I become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator?

If a veterinarian is interested on obtaining a wildlife rehabilitation permit, please contact the CDFG’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Program Coordinator, Ms. Nicole Carion, at 530-357-3986 or

How can I find a wildlife rehabilitation facility?

Wildlife Rehabilitation regulations (CCR, Title 14, Section 679) and a current list of Wildlife Rehabilitators statewide can be found on the Department’s website at On this web site, click on “Game Management” and then “Wildlife Rehabilitation”. The wildlife rehabilitation roster can be found at the bottom of the page.

How can I find out which animals are illegal to own in California?

CDFG also has a list of restricted animals, by species, which are not normally domesticated in California. These animals are on the list either to prevent the depletion of wild populations and to provide for animal welfare, or because they pose a threat to native wildlife, the agriculture interests of the state or to public health or safety. The list can be accessed through a link at the CVMA’s web site Home Page or at the CDFG’s web site,, by going to “Regulations” on the left side of the home page (under “Services”) and then searching for the regulation section number 671 under the California Code of Regulations.

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