Committee OKs Probst bill for wildlife rehab center grants

HARRISBURG, Oct. 3 – The state House Game and Fisheries Committee reported out a bill Monday sponsored by Rep. Tarah Probst that would allow the state to help fund wildlife rehabilitation centers.

“Pennsylvania is home to a wide variety of wildlife, and unlike their domesticated counterparts, wild animals do not have access to traditional veterinary care. Wildlife rehabilitators are essential in treating and temporarily caring for injured, diseased, and displaced wildlife. These individuals also provide essential education in order to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts and promote stewardship of wildlife,” said Probst, D-Monroe/Pike.

“Most wildlife rehabilitators operate from independent home-based facilities. As such, they do not receive state or federal funding and primarily rely on donations from individuals or other entities to fund rehabilitation efforts.

“To provide support for these essential facilities, my legislation would establish the Wildlife Rehabilitation Grant Program to provide wildlife rehabilitators with the opportunity to apply for a grant based on the number of wild animals under their care. Under this program, wildlife rehabilitators could use grant funding to cover the costs associated with the recovery and rehabilitation of injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife, and the improvement of rehabilitation facilities,” she said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission would determine the amount of each grant based on the number of wildlife the rehabilitator takes in from the previous fiscal year. Grant amounts would be between $2,500 and $75,000.

The program would be funded by an appropriation in the annual state budget.

The legislation (H.B. 1522) heads to the full House of Representatives for consideration.