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Joe Manchin III, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director


News Release : February 8, 2008

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381

Lt. Colonel Jerry Jenkins, (304) 558-2784

Leave Wildlife Rehabilitation to the Experts

The Division of Natural Resources is aware of recent questions regarding the ability of private citizens to provide rehabilitative care to injured or needy wildlife. The public needs to be aware that these activities involve substantial health and safety risks to the people of the state of West Virginia as well as the animals and are therefore unlawful.

There is currently no authority in the West Virginia Code for a private citizen to provide rehabilitative care to wildlife. While in the short term, this care may appear to aid an animal in immediate survival, there are long-term adverse effects to the animal that cannot always be accurately predicted by laypersons. The DNR employs a number of highly skilled and qualified wildlife biologists and other key personnel in its Wildlife Resources Section trained to assess the needs of all West Virginia wildlife and the health issues involved in their care. It is for this reason that the responsibility for all care and rehabilitation of West Virginia wildlife is vested with the DNR.

“Some people believe that after a while a wild animal becomes tame,” said DNR Director Frank Jezioro. “The fact is the animal is always wild. An animal may lose its fear of humans, but at any moment it can revert back to its wild instincts and injure any person close at hand.”

The DNR is required by the West Virginia Code to prevent the public from engaging in any activity that is injurious to the well-being of native wildlife and which creates a public health risk. If any member of the public has concerns about the risks to themselves or their children and families due to any unlawful activities involving native wildlife, the DNR encourages the reporting of the same so that it may be resolved according to law.

To report unlawful activities involving native wildlife, call (304) 558-2784. For more information about the DNR, visit the Web site


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