Wildlife Welfare and Rehabilitation

In California, wildlife rehabilitation means "any activity undertaken to restore to a condition of good health, for the purpose of release to the wild, animals occurring naturally and not normally domesticated in this State."

We work with agency partners, and permitted facilities, and nonprofit organizations to ensure high quality practices in the rehabilitation of sick, injured, orphaned, or displaced native wildlife. At times, we provide care and medical stabilization to wild animals on a temporary basis. We are NOT a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

The rehabilitation of wildlife and care of non-releasable animals are only allowed pursuant Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR), relevant state and federal laws.

Native wild animals and restricted species may be confiscated due to illegal possession or animal welfare issues. Staff work tirelessly to find permanent placement for animals that cannot be returned to the wild at qualified permitted restricted species facilities, such as zoos. 

Native Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund Grant Program

The Department has established a competitive grant program, pursuant Fish and Game Code Section 1773, to support and advance the recovery and rehabilitation of injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife, and conservation education.

Funds may be used to support activities, such as:

  • operations and ongoing facility needs
  • innovation in animal care (e.g. wildlife rehabilitation techniques, enclosure designs, diet, behavioral enrichment)
  • post-release monitoring, surveillance, data analysis
  • conservation education for the public, stakeholders, and local communities


  • Provide proof you are a nonprofit organization that operates a permitted wildlife rehabilitation facility permitted; or as an authorized satellite facility (sub-permittee).
  • Be in compliance with all conditions of its Wildlife Rehabilitation Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Maintain active participation in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database.


  • Submission: Applications must be submitted electronically with cover letter and records verifying eligibility criteria (ATTN: Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator)
  • Open Date: August 1, 2020
  • Close Date: September 1, 2020  by 5:00 p.m. (PDT)
  • link opens in new windowGrants Guidelines (PDF) - Learn more!

Wildlife Rehabilitation at Work

Black bear cub during exam by CDFW staff Staff applying ointment to black bear cub Staff examining black bear cub's teeth Black bear cub awake after exam by staff