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Wildlife Volunteer Work ‐ Experience for Future Wildlife Work

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If you love working with animals, and you are interested in a wildlife career, wildlife volunteer work can help you to gain crucial experience and skills associated with wildlife care, rehabilitation and release. Most wildlife volunteer positions are unpaid, but the experience you gain through volunteer positions can eventually help you to land a job working with wildlife.

Types of Wildlife Volunteer Work

Wildlife volunteer work ranges from entry level positions for beginners to advanced positions for those with wildlife education and experience. Common types of wildlife volunteer positions include:

  • Wildlife transport: Safely picking up injured wildlife and transporting injured animals to the wildlife facility.
  • Wildlife Care: Duties include preparing diets and meals, cleaning cages, washing laundry and assisting with restraint or feedings.
  • Wildlife Treatment and Rehabilitation: Duties may include assisting veterinarians with treatments for injured wildlife, helping to prepare wildlife for rehabilitation and eventually releasing wildlife.
  • Wildlife Watcher: Duties include watching areas for specific types of wildlife, counting wildlife that is present, and obtaining wildlife scat in the area for analysis or dietary studies.
  • Wildlife Keeper: Supervising wildlife care and caring for short term wildlife patients and permanent patients which cannot be released back into the wild.

Wildlife Volunteer Work and Future Employment

Wildlife volunteer work can put you on the path to future employment with wildlife, but you will usually need to add additional education to your resume for a paid wildlife position. However, a few wildlife rehabilitation or care facilities offer on the job training for future paid positions at their facility which may include Keepers or Care Givers, and for these jobs you may not need additional education.

Additional education which may combine well with your volunteer experience to help you begin a career working with wildlife include: an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology, or completion of a Veterinarian Technician program.

How to Find Wildlife Volunteer Work

Most facilities which care for wildlife have open positions for wildlife volunteer work, but you may need to take the time to find a facility which will offer you the type of experience you wish, on the job training or which specializes in specific types of wildlife that you want to work with in the future. If you would like to volunteer for a wildlife facility while you are studying for a paid position, career counseling services may offer volunteer recommendations and helpful advice to keep your studies on track.

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