NEW JERSEY WILDLIFE REHABILITATORS CLASH Reflects National Dissatisfaction with Game Agency Control of the Noble Practice of Wildlife Rehabilitation

Following the publication of our last newsletter, we received an e-mail from the New Jersey Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators (NJAWR) regarding their dissatisfaction over our asking folks to support NJ Senate Bill S2325.

Bill S2325 was brought to our attention by Save Wildlife Rehabilitators who are also from New Jersey.

Save Wildlife Rehabilitators summarized it this way:

· “The Associated Humane Society of NJ has initiated this Bill along with Sen. Ellen Karcher. Please show your support by writing letters of support to Sen. Ellen Karcher, 400 West Main St. 3rd Floor, Freehold, NJ 07728

S 2325 establishes a New Jersey Wildlife Rehabilitation Licensing Study Commission, to study, evaluate and develop recommendations for implementing the most effective means to increase and maintain the number of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in a manner that will provide responsible wildlife services to all areas of the State.

Wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers who care for orphaned and injured wildlife until they can be released back to nature. While licensed by State of NJ, they receive no payment/fees for their services, and absorb the costs of transportation, caging, specialized diets and veterinary care out of their personal finances, with occasional donations and grants.

Currently, there are not enough wildlife rehabilitators to serve the needs of NJ’s Wildlife and/or to provide humane alternatives for residents that are dealing with disabled and injured animals.
· In 2002, there were 94 rehabbers, handling over 18,300 animals and 46,000 phone calls.

· In 2004, there were 52 rehab licenses issued, yet the numbers of calls for help with Wildlife have increased.

· Increasing the number of responsible rehabilitators means no more cost to taxpayers and it provides more care for the injured and/or disabled wild animals that are found by the public. Thank you for your support.

For more information contact: Save Wildlife Rehabilitators, 71 Lincoln Avenue, Neptune City, NJ 07753

For those who would like to see the Assembly text of this Bill (the Senate link refers to the Assembly Bill), the link is below.

The letter to us from NJAWR, which we noted had been cc’d to the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, said that we should ask legislators to not support the bill. Their reason was that it’s important to raise standards among rehabilitators and that the lower number of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in the state simply reflected a national trend due to lack of finances.

We are reprinting excerpts from a letter- to-the-editor of the Atlantic Highland Herald in support of Bill S2325 with the author’s permission. The emphasis is ours.

· The rehabilitator’s public plea for support of legislation that promotes consistency and expediency for wildlife rehabilitators to perform their free to taxpayer service was born out of necessity…there is only one rehabber left who is geographically accessible [to the many callers]. This is the same rehabber that the President of NJAWR chose to malign in his letter to your paper. Another rehabilitator who served at no cost to local veterinarians and residents in my area, and to whom I turned to for over 20 years, did not have her license renewed due to the new bureaucratic rules that have yet, to the best of my knowledge, to be published for public comment in the NJ Register.

· The President of NJWAR admits his organization is joined at the hip with the State Division of Fish and Wildlife. Therefore, he cannot be objective. Fish and Wildlife (F&W) historically benefits from revenues collected for hunting licenses and fishing permits. In this specific situation, a government agency that has vested financial interests has a conflict of interest when administering rules. The issuing of Wildlife Rehabilitation Permits is contrary to the F&W fundamental mandates for controlling wildlife populations and facilitating the recreational pursuits of sportsmen.

· If there were 92 permitted rehabilitators, as the writer claims in the year 2000 and there are now only 52 as the writer alleges, apparently there is something wrong with the process/ system if only a little more than half are active in 2005.

· Wildlife rescue, treatment, care and release should be designated to an agency that is concerned with the public’s health, welfare and well-being. State elected and appointed officials should reassign these responsibilities to another authority to best represent the public that seeks a humane alternative for dealing with injured and/or disabled wildlife.

· The President of NJAWR should reconsider his thinking. To better serve the purpose of wildlife care and for wildlife rehabilitators, positive action must be taken to retain rehabbers who have served wildlife and the public for years, and are able to share their hands-on experience, knowledge and skills with those who follow. …To undermine a free to NJ taxpayers service with divisive accusations does not serve the taxpayers’ or the state wildlife’s best interest.

Please dismiss the NJAWR President’s directive to oppose legislation that helps wildlife rehabilitators. In this highly contested election year, it is imperative for the voter to contact elected officials and hopeful candidates to tell them to support the pending bills/legislation that would facilitate and not hinder those aspiring to be wildlife rehabilitators.

Please visit  to learn more about wildlife rehabilitators.

Carole Balmer

Former Deputy Mayor and Committeewoman Holmdel Township, Planning Board Member, Environmental Commission Chair current Zoning Board Vice-Chair and Bayshore Regional Sewage Authority Commissioner.


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