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FAQ on Volunteering at a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
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Q:  How can I get involved with my local wildlife rehabilitation organization or individual rehabilitator? 

A:  The first step is to learn about your local wildlife organization or licensed rehabilitator. Many organizations have websites that provide information on how to volunteer. Often there is an application process, orientation, and training component. A phone call to the organization or individually licensed rehabilitator is also a good way to find out the first step to take in becoming a local volunteer and what kind of help is needed in your area. To find a wildlife organization/rehabilitator near you, click here.

Q:  What are the requirements for being a volunteer?

A: Most wildlife rehabilitation organizations have tailored volunteer requirements specific to their organization, but below are general requirements and recommendations:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be current on your tetanus vaccination (not required for non-animal handling volunteer positions)
  • Be able to work a shift on a regular routine basis
  • Be willing to transport/pick-up injured animals
  • Participate in annual trainings
  • Fill out a volunteer application and contract

Q:  What kind of work will I be doing?

A:  There are many different volunteer positions available that range from caring for the wildlife patients to fundraising to helping with administration work. Below is a general list of different volunteer positions and duties. Individuals and organizations may have additional positions available or may have duties listed below further divided into smaller tasks.

Animal Care Volunteer

  • Laundry
  • Cleaning cages and enclosures
  • Feeding
  • Enrichment
  • Animal transport
  • Answering animal related phone calls
  • Assisting with medical treatment and examinations
  • Animal rescue
  • Release

Administration Volunteer

  • Data entry
  • Filing
  • Mailings
  • Grant writing
  • Staff,  volunteer, and educational program scheduling
  • Fundraising

Maintenance and Construction Volunteer

  • Enclosure (caging) construction and mending
  • Facility upkeep including basic carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work
  • Facility grounds maintenance such as mowing grass, trimming plantings, and similar work

Outreach and Education Volunteer

  • Provide public education through presentations and informational booths at local events
  • Presentations to schools, seniors, and other community groups

Q:  What happens to wildlife that has injuries preventing them from being released?

A: Euthanasia is a necessary component of wildlife rehabilitation and as a volunteer you may be exposed to the process. If you are going to be an animal care volunteer, understanding and accepting the role euthanasia plays in wildlife rehabilitation is needed.

Some animals received for care are injured too severely to be repaired. Some animals are able to recover, but recover with permanent disabilities that make it impossible for them to survive if released back into the wild. Non‑releasable animals that are inappropriate for educational programs, foster‑parenting in a facility, or as a participant in a captive breeding program have a right to euthanasia (Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation, 4th edition, 2012, E. A. Miller, editor). While sometimes difficult to accept, euthanasia ends needless suffering of the animal patient.