Date of this Version
Wildlife rehabilitators frequently interact with the public, but the extent and impact of their activities as public educators had never been well documented in New York State. In 1991 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sponsored a mail survey of all 430 rehabilitators in New York to address this information need. Rehabilitators showed high interest and involvement in public education, and they reached a large audience, suggesting that they may hold potential as contributors to public education concerning wildlife damage control. Realizing that potential offers an incentive for DEC to work more closely with rehabilitators to provide wildlife-related information. However, value orientations of rehabilitators and wildlife managers may differ fundamentally. The value differences implicated here must be further clarified and addressed if DEC is to realize a relationship with rehabilitators that enhances the state's ability to address public demands for damage control information.