The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) offer a Wildlife Rehabilitators Registry to assist the public with injured or orphaned wildlife.
These rehabilitators and organizations are not federally or state funded. They volunteer their time and efforts to wildlife rehabilitation.
The care and treatment of injured or orphaned wildlife is specialized and should be left to those who are professionally trained to deal with their husbandry and special dietary needs. In most cases you should not attempt to feed or treat these animals, but rather get them to a rehabilitator as quickly as possible. With the exception of English sparrows, Eurasian collared doves, pigeons, and starlings, all birds are protected by federal law and require a federal permit to rehabilitate. You cannot legally possess them without this federal permit. However, transporting injured or orphaned birds to a permitted rehabilitator is allowed.
There is a risk of transmitting disease or parasites from wildlife to humans or pets.
The SCDNR recommends public not to attempt to rehabilitate wildlife by themselves. In addition, the treatment or rehabilitation of rabies vector species such as bats, bobcats, foxes coyotes, raccoons, or skunks can potentially pose the life-threatening risk of rabies exposure. These species can serve as wild reservoirs of the rabies virus for which there is no approved vaccine similar to the ones for dogs or cats. Any wild animal given any version of the dog or cat rabies vaccine is still considered unvaccinated by SCDHEC because no such vaccine is approved for use on wildlife.
Anyone bitten or scratched by a rabies vector species should seek immediate medical treatment. Further, it is unlawful to possess a live coyote or fox unless the person is a licensed trapper during the season, or holds a permit for a fox and coyote hunting enclosure. It is unlawful for a wildlife rehabilitator to possess foxes without a separate permit from the department.
Guidelines can be found on many of the rehabilitation websites listed on this registry to determine whether or not a young animal is in need of rescue.
Most young animals are being watched by the adults, but the adults are being very secretive so as not to draw attention to their young. Care should be given to make sure an animal is truly orphaned or injured before removing it.
Most rehabilitators do not provide services to pick up wildlife. The SCDNR does not pick up or transport injured or orphaned wildlife. They rely on you to get these animals to them. Most work out of their homes and are not on call 24 hours a day. Be courteous and mindful of this when you are calling for their assistance. Never drop off animals at a wildlife rehab location, unless told to do so. Please respect their capabilities, as rehabilitators often specialize in certain species of wildlife and establish limits on the number of animals they can accept.
In Beaufort County, the following individuals offer their services assist the community with wildlife issues:
- Avian Conservation Center/Center for Birds of Prey Birds of Prey
- 843-971-7474, Ext. 1
- Assists with transport to Center Injured bird dispatch line monitored from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 7 days a week
- Brandi Lowe
- 20 Ole Bent Oak Rd., Okatie
- 843-290-2666 Fawns only, available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Hilton Head: Tiffany VanBlaricum – raccoons, opossums, and other small mammals. 843-422-2654. Can pick up in the Hilton Head area. On call 24/7
- Bluffton: Susan Lamberger – Flying squirrels, squirrels, opossums and raccoons .843-422-7508. Will pick up within 30 miles of Beaufort and Jasper Counties. On call 24/7
- Bluffton: Emily Norberg – Squirrels, opossums and raccoons. 843-505-6733 .Will pick up within 30 miles of Beaufort and Jasper Counties. On call 24/7