Becoming a wildlife rehabilitator involves a commitment to care for injured, ill, and orphaned wild animals with the
goal of releasing them back to their natural habitat. Specializing in turtles adds a bit more to that
commitment because turtle rehabilitators also become rescuers. There are many reasons for this, one being there
are just a few situations when a turtle CAN be released back into the wild.
It cannot be released unless it is from an area it was originally from and not exposed to other turtles
due to the fact that pathogens and parasites can be passed to existing turtle populations
and to the released turtle. Rehabilitated turtles take much longer to heal from some injuries which can prevent
them from being released in a timely manner. Hibernation periods need to be considered. Rehabilitators
also are committed to environmental concerns regarding destruction of wildlife habitats. Some are involved with
special programs such as captive breeding and reintroduction back into the wild. Education is an important part of
rehabilitation. It is imperative that pet owners know how to properly care
for their animals.
Each state has its own requirements for becoming a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. If you are interested in becoming
a licensed rehabilitator, contact your local Department of Natural Resources or your Division of Fish and
Wildlife office. Also, shadowing a rehabilitator or volunteering at a wildlife center is a rewarding experience.
There you will see first hand the 'good days and the bad days'.
On a personal note, for a few years now, I have been debating about renewing my IN DNR wildlife rehabilitator's permit. I love taking care of those special turtles that need help healing. After the recent health scare of my husband, John, the decision was clear and easy to make. I will no longer be licensed to rehabilitate these wonderful animals. Indiana Turtle Care is still a non-profit organization but my focus now will be conservation, especially for our native species. I'm very excited about this change and hope that some of the ideas I have can become useful to protect our native turtles. We will still take in confiscated turtles from the IN DNR as well as pet turtles that need a new home. Unfortunately, we can no longer take in aquatic species. Thank you all for your support and prayers during this time of transition. I welcome any comments or thoughts that you may have.