Rehabilitation centers are
defined as those facilities which house and treat injured, diseased and
displaced Class II and Class IV wildlife (except wild turkeys) which are
temporarily incapable of surviving in the wild. The objective of the centers
will be to return such wildlife to their natural habitat.
(a) A permit or letter of authorization from
the TWRA is required for rehabilitation centers.
The applicant shall provide the TWRA with
information about the proposed rehabilitation of Class II and Class IV wildlife
(except wild turkey), including:
(e.g. raptors) of wildlife proposed for rehabilitation.
Documentation showing one of the following
qualifications has been met in order to be eligible for a Rehabilitation and/or
Education Exhibit permit:
(i) Two hundred
hours (200) of experience in rehabilitation or handling of the species in which
the person wishes to be permitted; or
(ii) One year of full-time employment as a
Veterinary Technician; or
licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the State of Tennessee:
(iv) Possess a valid permit for
Wildlife Rehabilitation or Education from another state for the species in
which the person wishes to be permitted.
3. At least one reference from a person
knowledgeable in wildlife husbandry regarding qualifications of the
4. Description of the
physical facilities to be used.
Availability of veterinary care for use as needed.
Whether the facility is to be used as a
nonprofit operation and whether it is certified as nonprofit by the U. S.
Internal Revenue Code [26 U.S.C. § 501(c)
7. The extent to which wildlife can be
accepted for rehabilitation.
(c) Prior to issuance of a permit or letter
of authorization to wildlife rehabilitators not charging for their services,
their facilities must be certified as nonprofit on application forms provided
by the TWRA.
(d) Cages and
facilities must be provided of such quality material, and of such strength as
appropriate for the animals involved. Minimum facility guidelines of the
National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (see "Wildlife Rehabilitation
Minimum Standards and Accreditation Program") are acceptable, except as may be
specified by the TWRA.
Temperature shall be regulated by heating or cooling as may be needed, to
protect the animal from extremes and to provide for its health and
(f) If the facilities are
outdoors, the cages should be constructed in a manner to protect the animals
from excessive sunlight and from inclement weather.
(g) Cages and/or enclosures shall be of
sufficient size to give the confined animal(s) ample space for exercise and to
(h) Nails or
other sharp protrusions, which might injure or impair the animal, shall not be
allowed within the cage. Bird cages shall be of a design (e.g. vertical bars or
netting) to minimize fraying of feathers.
(i) Adequate perches shall be provided for
any raptors or other perching birds.
(j) Provisions shall be made for prompt
removal and disposal of animal and food wastes.
(k) A suitable method shall be provided to
rapidly eliminate excess water from housing facilities.
(l) Food and water receptacles shall be of
sufficient number and size as appropriate for the animals being served. Such
receptacles shall be kept clean and sanitary at all times. If self-feeders are
used adequate measures should be taken to prevent the contamination or
deterioration of food.
(m) A safe
and effective program for the control of insects, ectoparasites, and other
pests shall be established and maintained.
(n) Rehabilitation techniques shall be in
accordance with standards generally accepted by veterinarians, the TWRA, and/or
other persons recognized as having expertise with care of the affected
(o) Minimum human contact
shall be provided with releasable wildlife in order to avoid imprinting on
After a ninety (90) day
rehabilitation period, all Class II wildlife must be released, except:
1. Permission may be sought for extension of
possession for rare species listed as Endangered, Threatened, or "In Need of
Management", for wildlife indicating likelihood of recovery and release with
the foreseeable future, or for use for educational purposes.
2. Animals authorized by the Executive
Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for use under the authority
of a valid Educational Exhibit Permit issued by the Tennessee Wildlife
Permits are effective from July 1 through June 30 of each year.
By January 31 of each year, the permittee
shall submit an annual report of the prior calendar year's activities
concerning the number and status of all Class II wildlife.
Records of wildlife rehabilitated must be maintained
reflecting source of animals, date obtained, and date and method of
White-tailed deer and black bears may be rehabilitated under the following
special provisions in addition to the above requirements:
1. Prior to receiving a permit, the applicant
must submit a plan for care and rehabilitation which precludes or minimizes
human contact and provides for conditioning and habitat acclimation prior to
release. Final approval of a permit to rehabilitate white-tailed deer and/or
black bears shall be at the discretion of the Executive Director of the
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
2. Each animal accepted for rehabilitation
shall be marked with an indelible mark so that future identification may be
3. Deer and/or bears
housed in rehabilitation facilities shall not be exhibited or come into public
contact under any circumstances.
The regional lieutenant shall be notified within forty-eight (48) hours of the
receipt of each white-tailed deer accepted for rehabilitation.
5. Rehabilitated white-tailed deer shall be
released only at an approved site(s) as determined by the TWRA.
6. A TWRA officer or wildlife biologist shall
determine if a black bear is eligible for rehabilitation and release.
7. Transportation of any black bear must be
performed in accordance with the mobile facility requirements in T.C.A. §
8. Injured white-tailed
deer and/or black bears determined to be non-releasable shall be immediately
9. Rehabilitators are
not employees or agents of the State of Tennessee for any purpose, including a
determination of liability. Therefore, rehabilitators assume all liability for
personal injury and/or property damage caused by white-tailed deer and/or black
bears under the rehabilitator's care and control.
10. Rehabilitators of white-tailed deer
and/or black bears must legally possess a firearm capable of instantly
destroying a deer and/or bear.
All white-tailed deer must be released within a one hundred twenty (120) day
of rehabilitated black bears shall be determined on a case-by-case basis under
the direction of the TWRA, but black bears shall not be held for rehabilitation
for longer than one (1) year.
(t) All wildlife held under the authority of
a Rehabilitation Permit cannot be exhibited or brought in contact with the
public unless authorized by the Executive Director of the Tennessee Wildlife
(u) Failure to
abide by these Rules and any other state and/or federal wildlife regulations
may result in lack of approval, non-renewal, or cancellation of TWRA
authorization, at the discretion of the Executive Director of the
An educational center
shall be defined as a professionally operated facility, with a full time staff,
whose major responsibility is to conduct approved research or to educate and/or
train its clientele in bona fide conservation principles, which include the
protection and enhancement of animal populations through professionally
accepted wildlife management techniques and principles.
1. Class II and other authorized Classes of
wildlife may be utilized at these facilities for educational purposes.
Authorization must be obtained annually from the Executive Director of the TWRA
if animals are maintained.
regulations of paragraph (4) concerning permit, facility, and care at
Rehabilitation Centers apply also for Educational Centers, as applicable. The
TWRA shall provide permit applications indicating such pertinent information
3. Any program using live
wildlife originating from the wild in Tennessee must be done at no charge,
which would include an exchange for goods or services.