The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council has worked since 1972 to support wildlife and provide resources for wildlife rehabilitators. Today, IWRC is comprised of veterinarians, rehabilitators, conservationists, and other professionals from around the world, all committed to restoring the health, ensuring the welfare, and safeguarding the future of
In 1972, a consortium of rehabilitation organizations in Californiaís Bay area came together to share experiences and
IWRC Mission, Goals and Bylaws There are many ways to "preserve and protect wildlife and habitat;" the founders of IWRC chose to preserve and protect through the support of wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitation provides unique insights into issues affecting wildlife populations, species and habitats, and contributes to wildlife conservations and protection
IWRC Mission Statement
"preserving and protecting wildlife and habitat through wildlife rehabilitation."
IWRC Core Beliefs
IWRC believes that:
- Wildlife rehabilitation can provide unique insight on issues affecting wildlife populations, species, and habitats.
- Wildlife rehabilitation can contribute to wildlife conservation and protection worldwide.
- Wildlife conservation should be based on sound science.
- Wildlife conservation should be undertaken within the framework of the recognized code of ethics.
- Wildlife conservation is best serverd through an inter-disciplinary approach.
- Public education is a key component on wildlife conservation.
IWRC will educate its members, colleagues, and the public on matters related to wildlife care and conservation.
- Develop and maintain a variety of information resources to advance the educational goals of
- Develop the organization's capacity to offer consulting and advisory services on educational topics and techniques.
- Monitor and participate in legislative, regulatory, and policy processes on educational topics related to wildlife rehabilitation.
- Educate members and public about effective ways to coexist with wildlife, prevent potential conflicts, and appreciate the role of wildlife in our changing environment.
- Develop and maintain an educational presence internationally by developing cooperation and pursuing alliances within the international wildlife education community and regulatory agencies, and by extending our education and training programs to as many countries and in as many languages as possible.
IWRC will disseminate and promote to its members and others, recognized ethical, scientific, and professional standards for animal care, animal care facilities, professional conduct and demeanor, public education, and conservation action.
- Redefine wildlife rehabilitation to include new standards of professionalism in the care of wild animals and their habitats, and to portray wildlife rehabilitation as integral to wildlife conservation.
- Create and promote networks inside and outside the organization to share information and resources regarding established and recognized standards and ethics.
- Develop and maintain a variety of information resources regarding appropriate standards within the field.
- Develop the organization's capacity to offer consulting services regarding recognized standards within the field of wildlife rehabilitation.
- Monitor and participate in legislative, regulatory, and policy processes on topics related to standards for wildlife rehabilitation.
- Work with international wildlife interests to determine regional cultural, ethical and professional standards which may impact wildlife and wildlife care, and develop, maintain and disseminate information resources promoting these standards.
- Recruit and retain members worldwide by emphasizing high standards of professionalism.
- Enhance the role of wildlife rehabilitators as conservation partners.
IWRC will monitor legislative, regulatory, and public policy processes related to wildlife, wildlife habitat, and wildlife rehabilitation. Participate, as appropriate, in the support of positions and policies that advance the conservation and protection of wildlife and habitat.
- Create and promote channels, inside and outside the organization, through which to share information and resources related to public policy issues and facilitate concerted action.
- Develop, maintain and promote a variety of information resources to enhance the effectiveness of advocacy efforts.
- Develop the organization's capacity to offer consulting services on policy topics and advocacy techniques, and to enhance the role of wildlife rehabilitators and rehabilitation in public policy processes.
IWRC will create and maintain an effective and efficient organizational structure with which to pursue its mission and serve wildlife, habitat, its members, and the public.
- Create networks to assist IWRC in its operations and administration.
- Develop and maintain complete and accurate information related to IWRC's operations, management policies and procedures, membership, and finances for internal and external use.
- Develop a program to recruit and retain a broad international base of diverse members.
IWRC will serve its members and colleagues by creating and supporting professional networks, conducting skills training, facilitating the exchange of information and resources, and providing diverse opportunities for personal and professional growth.
- Create and support networks inside and outside the organization to share information and resources related to professional enrichment.
- Develop, maintain and support a variety of information resources to advance the membership and professional service goals of
- Develop the organization's capacity to offer consulting services on training topics and techniques.
Monitor and participate in legislative, regulatory, and policy processes, as appropriate, on topics related to training and professional activities.
- Develop and maintain diverse professional services with which to attract and retain members.
- Redefine wildlife rehabilitation to include new standards of professionalism in the care of wild animals and their habitats, thereby expanding the opportunities for networks and cooperation with other professionals.
- Provide training on the prevention and resolution of human-animal conflicts where they might arise.
- Support research on the care and protection of wildlife and their habitats, and the impact of wildlife rehabilitation in resource conservation.
- Work alone and with others to advance and support international efforts in wildlife rehabilitation and habitat preservation.
IWRC will create a diverse and sustainable funding base with which to pursue its mission.
- Create networks inside and outside the organization to share information and resources to enhance fundraising.
- Develop and maintain a variety of information resources regarding fundraising history, sources, and
- Develop the organization's capacity to offer consulting on fundraising topics and techniques.
- Monitor and participate in legislative, regulatory, and policy processes related to fundraising.
- Expand and retain a broad and diverse membership.
- Use the expanded definition of wildlife rehabilitation to create new opportunities for funding.
- Develop and maintain accurate, complete, and efficient financial planning and reporting policies and procedures to enhance fundraising.
- Devise specific programs for individual, foundation, and corporate funding proposals.
IWRC will enhance the credibility and influence of wildlife rehabilitation by creating and advancing a positive, professional image of wildlife rehabilitation, and establishing cooperative relationships and communication with other professional communities.
Create and maintain an Advisory Board consisting of professionals in the rehabilitation, academic and government sectors.
Produce an annual compilation, focussed on progressive work in the rehabilitation community as well as serious rehabilitation issues, for distribution to the rehabilitation and academic communities, permitting agencies and libraries.
Develop training/information seminars for government enforcement and legislative personnel.
Incorporate multi-disciplinary plenary sessions, including the scientific, academic and government communities,for the IWRC Annual Conferences.
IWRC/NWRA Code of Ethics
Although Wildlife Rehabilitation is not a profession 'bound' by a code of ethics, a code was developed jointly by NWRA and IWRC some years back as part of their national standards program. The original is in the Standards Booklet, and is available from either IWRC or NWRA.
Code of Ethics
- A wildlife rehabilitator should strive to achieve high standards of animal care through
knowledge and an understanding of the field. Continuing efforts must be made to keep
informed of current rehabilitation information, methods, and regulations.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should be responsible, conscientious, and dedicated, and should
continuously work toward improving the quality of care given to wild animals undergoing
- A wildlife rehabilitator must abide by local, state, provincial and federal laws concerning
wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation, and associated activities.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should establish safe work habits and conditions, abiding by current
health and safety practices at all times.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should acknowledge limitations and enlist the assistance of a
veterinarian or other trained professional when appropriate.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should respect other rehabilitators and persons in related fields,
sharing skills and knowledge in the spirit of cooperation for the welfare of the animals.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should place optimum animal care above personal gain.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should strive to provide professional and humane care in all phases
of wildlife rehabilitation, respecting the wildness and maintaining the dignity of each
animal in life and in death. Releasable animals should be maintained in a wild condition
and released as soon as appropriate. Non-releasable animals which are inappropriate for
education, foster-parenting, or captive breeding have a right to euthanasia.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should encourage community support and involvement through
volunteer training and public education. The common goal should be to promote a responsible
concern for living beings and the welfare of the environment.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should work on the basis of sound ecological principles, incorporating
appropriate conservation ethics and an attitude of stewardship.
- A wildlife rehabilitator should conduct all business and activities in a professional manner,
with honesty, integrity, compassion, and commitment, realizing that an individualís conduct
reflects on the entire field of wildlife rehabilitation.