Wildlife Legislations in Europe


In order to rehabilitate wildlife, a “certificat de capacité” permit is required for the person responsible for the rehabilitation process. An “autorisation d’ouverture” permit is also required for all facilities to prove that the wildlife in care are kept in good conditions and provided with appropriate care. For more information, visit the French association of wildlife rehabilitation centers (in French) and the Network of Wildlife Care Centers in France (in French).


Anyone is permitted to temporarily care for wild animals and everyone is bound by law to help animals in distress, but more specific legislation for this has not been implemented. A permit is required for zoo keeping and “permanent animal display”, and can be applied for by the Regional State Administrative Agencies. The current animal welfare Act and Decree can be found here (in English).


A dispensation is required from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to capture, euthanize, provide rehabilitation and transport all protected species. In order to get this dispensation, wildlife rehabilitators are required to comply to specific rules and regulations as stipulated by the law, concerning housing, knowledge of employees, and care methods.


Wildlife rehabilitation is illegal, but there is currently work underway to try and change this.


It is illegal in Ireland to possess wildlife for any reason without a license. Applications for licenses to rehabilitate wildlife must be made to the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Further information can be found here.


Most wildlife have some form of protection under the animal welfare law (Tierschutzgesetz). Anyone is allowed to help a wild animal in need but it must be brought to a competent person who has permission e.g. hunters, animal shelter, veterinarians or animal rescue groups.

The hunting law gives hunters the exclusive right to decide if a wild animal listed as “huntable” requires help or not. This also depends on which federal state you are in.Veterinarians are not allowed to make these decisions.


There are no licenses required to rehabilitate wildlife. However, any wild animal that is brought into care becomes a protected animal under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The RSPCA produced a booklet outlining the rehabilitators’ responsibilities under this act.

For further information we would suggest you contact the British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (BWRC) for more information pertaining to licensing.


A permit issued by the Nature and Forest Agency is required which includes all wildlife, except marine mammals.