Registered Charity No. 1157841

British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council

Capture, Handling and Transportation


Legal Aspects


1. Current U.K. legislation relating to protected wildlife allows sick, injured and orphaned individuals to be taken into captivity either for

treatment and release when fit or to be humanely destroyed.


Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)

Protection of Badgers Act (1992)

Deer Act (1991)

Conservation of Seals Act 1970

Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010


2. Certain species can only be kept and/or released under licence. However, they can be freed in situ if the circumstances are suitable.

A grey squirrel, for example, can be freed and immediately released if it has inadvertently got itself caught in a bird feeder, providing this will

not compromise the animal's welfare.


Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)

Destructive Imported Animals Act 1932 (and subsequent orders)


3. Any bird of prey listed on schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) which requires rehabilitation can be kept (in England)         under the terms of General Licence WML GL07 or WML GL08. It can be held in a suitably equipped unit by an authorised person for up to            15 days or six weeks if under the care of a vet. In both instances the keeper must inform the Animal Health division of Defra within 4 days of taking the bird into their possession. More information is available at:


Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)

Schedule 14 and Schedule 9


4. The handling and husbandry methods employed while the casualty is in captivity must not cause unnecessary suffering.


Animal Welfare Act 2006

Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)


5. Transportation of a casualty should not cause additional injury or unnecessary suffering.


Animal Health Act (1981) - Transit of Animal Orders 1973, 1975 and 1988 and Welfare of Animals During Transport Order 2006.


Capture, Handling and Transportation


1. Techniques and equipment used for the capture and transportation of wildlife casualties will depend on the circumstances prevailing and the species involved. However, at all times care must be taken to ensure that any additional stress to which the casualty is exposed is minimised, that no further injury is sustained and that the animal is secure from escape. At the same time precautions must also be taken to ensure that

both handlers and the general public are protected from any potential injury.


2. Rehabilitation units should ensure that, if they are prepared to attend wildlife casualties in the field, they have suitable, well maintained

    equipment for the capture, restraint, first-aid and transportation of the species likely to be encountered and that all personnel are

trained in the techniques involved.


(A suggested list of equipment is included at Appendix III.)


3. Containers employed for transportation to a rehabilitation unit or veterinary practice must be secure, preferably darkened, adequately

    ventilated and designed to ensure that the casualty cannot exacerbate existing injuries nor sustain further damage.


4. All equipment used should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected or destroyed after use.

If cardboard pet carriers are used, these should be incinerated.