Please always call us at (608) 287-3235 or (608) 838-0413 ext. 151 before coming in so we can set up an appointment for you so we are sure to have staff or volunteers available to help you and the animal when you arrive.
We would also like to consult with you ahead of time to be sure the animal truly needs to come into rehabilitation and that it is a species that we are licensed and able to help at our facility.
It is always best to take the animal to the closest wildlife reahabilitator that is licensed for that species.
Is there a fee for me to bring an animal into the wildlife center?
No, we do not charge any fee for you to bring an animal in for rehabilitation. While there is no fee, we do appreciate donations to help us provide the care for the animal you brought in. On average, it costs us $100 per animal admitted and we rely on the support of wildlife-loving community members to fund our operations.
We do not receive any financial support from the Wisconsin DNR, US Fish and Wildlife or any other governmental agency.
Can I keep and care for the animal I found?
We understand that wildlife babies are very cute, but it is in the best interest of the animal to be brought to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Wild animals do not make good pets, and if not cared for properly from the start, they may never be able to be released in the future. Caring for wild animals with the intent to release them requires specialized care that a professional licensed wildlife rehabilitator can provide.
In addition, wild animals are protected by state and federal law, and it is illegal to keep most wild animals longer than 24 hours. The law allows a member of the public 24 hours to transport the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, but the sooner they can get into professional care, the higher their chances of survival.
Can I come tour the Wildlife Center?
For the welfare of our patients and due to restrictions on our licensing, the Wildlife Center is not open to the public for tours. The domestic side of Dane County Humane Society does offer tours and educational programs. Please contact our Humane Educator at (608) 838-0413 ext. 115 for more information on these options.
Does DCHS’s Wildlife Center provide educational presentations with live animals?
DCHS’s Wildlife Center does not have live educational animal ambassadors, but DCHS’s Humane Educator has a variety of animal presentations for your school, business or organization, including wildlife topics. Learn more
How do I follow up on an animal I brought to the Wildlife Center?
Please contact us for an update. Be sure to include your patient's admission number which should have been given to you when you arrived with the animal. If you do not have the admission number, include your first and last name, the species of the animal you brought in, and the date the animal arrived at the Wildlife Center. We aim to reply to all of our e-mails within 5 business days, but ask for your patience as our first priority is making sure the wild patients are receiving the care they need.
Can I come visit the animal I brought to the Wildlife Center?
We really appreciate your care and concern for the animal, however, we are unable to allow visitors for patients. Being in captivity during rehabilitation is already very stressful, so we aim to keep human interaction limited to only what is needed to provide their care.
Can you come pick up an animal that I found?
We have a very small staff and are reliant on volunteer help for much of our daily work. We do not have the resources to routinely go out to pick animals up and rely on you to help transport animals to the Wildlife Center. We are happy to provide you with information to safely contain the animal in question. Learn more
There is a wild animal living in my yard/house that doesn't belong there. What should I do?
As humans and wild animals increasingly live side by side in our urban environments, we have seen wild patient numbers increase as well as strategies to make peace with nuisance wildlife. It is common for many kinds of wild animals, especially raccoons, woodchucks and squirrels to try to make their home in or under a man-made structure. Please do not live trap to catch and relocate a nuisance animal.
There are many wildlife exclusion businesses available online. We recommend looking for a company that uses humane exclusion without relocation. One local company offering those services is Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control.
I've touched the baby animal. Won't the mother reject or abandon it now?
No, wild mothers will not abandon her babies because you touched them. While it is advisable to handle wild animals as little as possible and to wear gloves while doing so, you can rest assured that mom will return to care for her little ones if she is able.
I'm worried about outdoor cats hurting the babies. Can you take the babies?
It is true, outdoor cats, whether owned or feral, are a big problem for wildlife which is why we advocate for keeping cats inside, or containing them when outdoors in a porch, catio or keeping them on a leash. This is safer for cats and wildlife! Even with the potential threat of free-roaming cats, it is important to let the mothers have the chance to raise their young. We are unable to take in healthy wild animals simply due to the potential threat of cats, or any other predator. Learn more
How old do I have to be to volunteer with the Wildlife Center?
Volunteers at the Wildlife Center must be 18 years of age. There are other opportunities with the domestic side of Dane County Humane Society for those under 18. Learn more
What is wildlife rehabilitation?
Wildlife rehabilitation the treatment and care of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife with the goal of returning the animal back to their natural habitat.
Why is wildlife rehabilitation important?
Wildlife rehabilitation saves the lives of animals that would not be able to care for themselves.
Wildlife rehabilitation relieves pain and suffering for animals after traumatic injuries or those that are beyond the ability to recover.
Wildlife rehabilitators are at the front lines for identifying environmental indicators for things such as disease transmission, environmental toxicities, effects of habitat destruction, etc.
Wildlife rehabilitation helps to conserve individuals of threatened and endangered species
What is involved with the wildlife rehabilitation process?
Admission & Initial Assessment
Determine if the animal really needs our intervention
If a healthy orphan, try reuniting strategies to return them to their mother
Perform a complete physical exam which can include x-rays, blood work and parasite tests
Consultation with veterinarians, including specialists such as veterinary ophthalmologists, are arranged
Begin rehydration with fluid therapy
Create care plan to address animal's reason for admission
Warmth and feeding of healthy orphans
Splint, bandaging or surgical repair of broken bones
Wound care of soft tissue injuries
Feeding protocols for starving animals
Treatment of toxicities
Conditioning & Acclimation
Move to larger, outdoor caging
Allows for acclimation to current weather conditions
Encourages the animal to exercise to regain the stamina they need for life in the wild
Animals must be able to be completely self-sufficient
Knows how and is able to find food
Interacts normally with members of its own species
How does someone become a wildlife rehabilitator?
A great first step to becoming a wildlife rehabilitator is to volunteer with your local wildlife rehabilitator. This will help you get a good feel of what wildlife rehabilitation is all about. The job comes with lots of challenges, but also a lot of rewards.
Each state has different requirements for becoming a wildlife rehabilitation. In Wisconsin, you will need to apply for a license through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Learn more