Rehabilitators Don’t Do Wildlife “Removal” or Pest Control

Wildlife rescues aren’t a free pest control service.

A surprising number of calls that wildlife rehabilitators take have nothing to do with wildlife rehabilitation. They come from people who want a healthy, safe, happy animal removed from their property because they simply don’t want it there.

“Removal” of healthy wildlife is the opposite of what rehabbers do. Relocating an animal rarely ends well because the animal is placed in an unfamiliar setting full of competitors, often with too little food, and it may be separated from its mate or babies in that process. In some states, including here in Tennessee, it is actually illegal to relocate some animals because of the spread of diseases, many of which can affect humans and pets.

A wildlife rehabilitator may be able to advise you on how to peacefully coexist with a wild neighbor— ways to humanely repel a family of raccoons or fox-proof a chicken coop, for example. But a rehabilitator is almost always a volunteer who dedicates countless unpaid hours to rescuing animals, not someone who drives around collecting chipmunks and opossums to take from the suburbs to the woods.

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