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HELP US HELP NJ's WILDLIFE RIGHT NOW! - posted August 3rd, 2012

Fellow Rehabilitators:

We need your assistance with a bill pending in the state legislature in Trenton that would seriously jeopardize the work of rehabilitators in New Jersey. The bill (S-1864) would remove oversight of New Jersey’s orphaned and injured wildlife from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW), and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), to an independent board. We believe oversight of orphaned and injured wildlife should remain with the NJDEP/DFW, as it has the authority to enforce existing regulations and serve the needs of all wildlife rehabilitators, not the select few who are pursuing this bill.

Therefore, we need you to contact your local State Senator with the following message:

As a New Jersey licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your community, I OPPOSE bill S-1864 for the following reasons:

This bill does not best serve NJ’s wildlife: Placing oversight of wildlife with an independent board, comprised in large part of individuals that work with domestic (pet) animals, would undermine current federal and state protections and compromise care for wildlife in rehabilitation.

The legislation puts public safety and health at risk: The board created in this bill does not have the expertise to manage disease in wildlife populations (including West Nile virus and white nose syndrome) or advise rehabilitators on its control. Other than to keep records of rabies vector species, the bill requires no specialized training or protocols for rehabilitators in handling potentially dangerous species, or species that may carry dangerous diseases.

The legislation replicates current regulations and policies: Wildlife rehabilitation is already governed by a robust set of regulations on both the state and federal level. On the state level, NJDEP/DFW has successfully licensed and monitored wildlife rehabilitation for decades. Nearly everything this bill seeks to establish (oversight, licensing, inspections, continuing education guidelines, etc.) already exists under current law.

This bill would harm current wildlife rehabilitators: The regulatory requirements imposed by this bill would jeopardize the work of current licensed rehabilitators, like me, who are primarily non-profit organizations, which provide valuable services in your district. The board created in this legislation removes decisions on oversight of wildlife rehabilitators from an impartial state agency, to a board with little or no experience in wildlife medicine, research and conservation that could arbitrarily deny licensure and harm current wildlife rehabilitators like me.

Many other groups oppose this bill including the NJ Audubon Society, NJ Outdoor Alliance, and Pinelands Preservation Alliance, among others. Therefore, as your constituent, I urge you to oppose this legislation.

To look up your State Senator and their contact information by municipality, you can call 800-792-8630 or click on the link below:

If you would like to read the bill, please click on this link:

Please call, email or write your State Senator today!

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