Registered Charity No. 1157841
British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
BWRC Guidelines for Wildlife Rehabilitation Units
1. The main objectives of the BWRC are to promote the welfare of wildlife casualties both whilst in captivity and after release to the wild and
to ensure that casualties are handled within the framework and spirit of the law. These guidelines have been designed to help achieve
these objectives by outlining in general terms the basic facilities that a rehabilitation unit might provide and the ethical and legal
considerations within which it might work.
2. It is appreciated that there is a wide diversity of opinion on moral, humane and ecological grounds regarding the degree of interference
to which a wildlife casualty might be subjected.However, at all stages in the process of handling a casualty, the welfare of the individual
animal must be the main concern. At the same time consideration should be given to ensuring an animal is fit and able to return to the
wild and the consequences of attempting to return such an animal and the effect this might have on the stability of the ecosystem to
which it is returned.
3. As a general principle any casualty retained for treatment at a unit should have a reasonable expectation of successful release
and long term survival in the wild. If not, euthanasia should be recommended.
4. The facilities of a unit and the expertise of the personnel should dictate the species, the ages, the total numbers and the
types of casualties that can be handled.
5. In these guidelines:
• a rehabilitation unit is defined as any premises, regardless of size, that is prepared to accept wildlife casualties;
• a wildlife casualty is defined as any sick, injured or orphaned wild animal that is unable to survive in the wild without human intervention.
Casualties can be broadly classified by the length of time they need to be retained in captivity, whether the outcome is euthanasia
or release to the wild:
Short term - requiring first aid only
Medium term - requiring simple treatment but no special release procedures
Long term - requiring prolonged treatment and preparation for release
Although, to the best of our knowledge, the details of legislation contained within this guidelines are accurate at the time
of publication, we strongly recommend that expert advice is sought whenever a legal opinion is required.
I. Relevant Legislation
II. Basic Skills
III. Basic Equipment
IV. Statement of Facilities