Gold Country Wildlife Rescue is a non-profit, volunteer organization, dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of injured and orphaned wildlife. We are permitted through the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. We have been serving the local community since 1991, and do so at no charge.
Each year our trained volunteers help thousands of injured birds and mammals return to the wild.
We receive no public funding for our work, and offer our service for free. We depend on donations, grants and fundraisers to continue our important work.
A wildlife rehabilitator is a unique individual that contributes his or her time and money in an effort to help injured or orphaned wild animals return to the wild, healthy and free.
Wildlife rehabilitators wear many hats. During the course of a single day wildlife rehabilitators function as:
Animal caretakers: Wildlife rehabilitators care for wild animals indigenous to the region in which they live. They are specially trained individuals who provide immediate and long-term-care to sick injured or orphaned wildlife.
Nutritionists & Behaviorists: Many of the young animals/birds that come in for rehabilitation are orphans. Without parents to teach them, the youngsters must rely on a combination of the rehabilitator and natural instinct to fill in the blanks of life for them. Wild ones have to know what they are, and how to survive when they are released to the wild.
Emergency Medical Technicians: Wildlife rehabilitators are not all veterinarians. It is also true that most veterinarians, unless they are wildlife veterinarians, are not wildlife rehabilitators nor are they equipped to handle wild species. Wild animals have very different needs than domestic animals. The focus on caring for wild species is to keep them wild so they will return to the wild.
Naturalists: Wildlife rehabilitators have to know and understand many habitats for release considerations of the animals they rehabilitate.
Natural historians: The knowledge of the natural history of the wild patient cannot be underestimated. If there is one “most important”, part of working with wildlife it is a deep understanding of the animal, its habitat and requirements to survive successfully in the wild environment.
Animal Housing Specialists: Each creature has specialized needs that are not always apparent to the casual observer. Raptors, for instance, have very sensitive feet. Their specialized needs for footing and perches cannot be overlooked.
Capture and Transport Specialists for injured wildlife.
Educators: Some wildlife rehabilitators are involved in public education, exposing both children and adults to biological facts, ecological concepts, and a responsible attitude toward all living things.
Information and Expertise Providers to assist the public with wildlife issues: A wildlife rehabilitator gives advice from how to discourage the pounding woodpecker on your shingle roof, to how to replace a tiny dove fallen from a nest. They explain that raccoons and opossums do, indeed, live in suburban areas, and that the scurrying in the chimney might be swifts. They talk about compassion and understanding and acceptance, and, as a last resort, about laws protecting wildlife.
We do not get financial assistance from state or federal agencies. In fact, most wildlife centers are self supported or supported by donations only. Considerations for wildlife species are complicated and incorporate many professions. It is impossible for one person to be everything to each animal species. Networking among wildlife professionals is often the key to successful releases.
Being a good wildlife rehabilitator requires more than loving animals. A compassion for wildlife is understood, but it is just the beginning in caring for wildlife. In the final assessment, many aspects play a role in caring for and releasing strong healthy and well-adjusted wild animals.
GCWR is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization; Tax ID# 68-0259665