Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you give public tours of your facility?
A: Sorry, but we do not. Our animals are wild-born and 100% wild, and they will be returning to the wild upon completion of their rehab. We must keep them wild during their rehab and that means minimal exposure to humans. However, we are available at times to visit your school, library, or business to share the work we do here at EWRCC.
Q. Where is Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center located?
A. EWRC is located in Ellicott, Colorado, on the plains east of Colorado Springs. A home-based facility (like most wildlife rehab facilities in our state), our facilities are inspected regularly by the Colorado Division of Wildlife with rules and standards we must follow. EWRC is located in El Paso County and provides information, services, and animal intake across Colorado.
Q. What is wildlife rehabilitation?
A. Wildlife rehabilitation involves rescuing orphaned and injured wild animals, caring for them and then releasing them back into the wild. Occasionally, a bird of prey does not recover well enough to be released and may be kept in captivity as an educational animal. According to Colorado law, mammals cannot be used for educational purposes.
Q. What is a rehabilitator?
A. EWRC rehabbers are volunteers who provide supportive care for wild birds and small mammals after treatment by a veterinarian. We are state licensed for all mammals, and state and federally licensed for birds. This work requires a strong commitment and work ethic, as during peak season there are no days off. This is physically demanding work as well, not to mention stressful at times. And it can be financially draining. Rehabber dropout and burnout is high. But one of the greatest rewards is the successful rehab and release of the animals you’ve spent all that time and energy caring for.
Q. How do I become a wildlife rehabilitator?
A. Wildlife rehabilitators are licensed by the State of Colorado to rehabilitate mammals and birds. A license issued by the Federal government is also required to rehabilitate migratory birds. To obtain these licenses, a licensed rehabilitator must first sponsor you. Please contact us for additional information.
Q. What medical services does EWRC provide?
A. We do not perform surgeries, radiology, chemical, or other such services. Veterinarians perform those services for us. We provide supportive care at our facility after the vets have surgically and medically treated the animals.
Q. What animals does EWRC care for?
A. EWRC is licensed for ALL birds and small mammals, coyote-sized on down (including bats and some skunk species). We are not, however, licensed to take deer. We provide services to wildlife only—no domestic animals such as dogs, cats, chickens, or the like. Please contact local animal rescue agency such as the Pikes Peak Humane Society.
Q. How are animals in rehab housed?
A. Initially, we keep the animals in comfortable indoor quarters, away from the sounds, sights and smells of humans and other animals. When they are physically ready and eating on their own, we move them to spacious outdoor enclosures (predator-proof and escape-proof) so they can exercise, hunt for food, enjoy the sun and the rain (when we’re lucky enough to get rain) and see the stars. This is very important for birds. This is their physical therapy. Once animals are moved to an outdoor enclosure, the only handling is health checks. Minimal handling is key. Cage furnishings are included to aid rehab appropriate to the animals’ age, size, and degree of disability.
Q. Who pays for all this?
A. Oftentimes the rehabbers, who also work regular jobs to be able to afford to do this! We are all unpaid volunteers at EWRC — we have no paid staff. We need and welcome help from organizations and individuals via donations and grants. Please visit our Support/Donate Page for ways to support our work.
Q. Who does all the work?
A. Mostly, rehabbers do the day-to-day cleaning, feeding, phones, paperwork, and such. And volunteers provide a lot of help, too. Visit our Volunteer Page for more information.
Q. What happens to the animals on rehabber days off?
A. There are NO rehabber days off during busy season; this is 24-7. In the winter, if we don’t have too many animals still in rehab, we may be lucky enough to find another rehabber to take over so we can get away for a day or two. Rehabbers devote a large part of their lives to taking care of wildlife.
Q. What happens to animals that can’t be released?
A. Per Colorado and federal law, any mammal that cannot be released must be euthanized. Raptors are sometimes permitted, both state and federally, to be maintained for educational programs. See CDOW and USFWS for details. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW TO HOLD ANY WILD BIRD OR MAMMAL WITHOUT PROPER PERMITS. Penalties can be severe. It is also illegal for people and/or pets to harass, shoot, or poison wildlife. If you see this happening, contact the CDOW immediately.
Q. Where does EWRC release the wild animals?
A. If it’s a good situation for the animal, we nearly always release an animal exactly where they were picked up,. This is one of the reasons we need your contact information. Also, when the animal is ready for release, we invite you to do the release with us.
Q. Can we come to the facility to look at the animals?
A. Sorry, our facility is not open to the public because it is a violation of our permits, and also because wild animals benefit from a low-stress environment and minimal human contact. However, we can visit your school, church, daycare, or other place to discuss wildlife with the help of our wildlife ambassadors, Hootie and Handsome. Programs with live birds can be conducted within a 60-mile radius of Ellicott, out of consideration of the birds’ comfort during traveling. Visit our Education Page for details.
Q. How can I help?
A. You can help by donating materials, money, time or services. Visit our Support/Donate Page for ways to help us. You could become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator (EWRC offers a sponsorship program). You can also help by being a good caretaker of all animals, not just wildlife, and by being a good caretaker of your environment.