Wildlife volunteer working with a goose at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

A unique volunteer experience

Thanks for your interest in volunteering at Wild Friends! Review the calendar below to find available volunteer shifts. Scheduling your volunteer shifts in advance is highly recommended, and shifts can be scheduled as far as one year in advance. Contact the Sanctuary Volunteer Department at volunteers@bestfriends.org or 435-644-2001, ext. 4119 with any questions. 

Ready to get started? Click the button below to create your volunteer account. If you already have a volunteer account with Best Friends, you can log-in to your account and start scheduling your Sanctuary trip!

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Wild Friends Volunteer Projects

Volunteering in Wild Friends is educational, satisfying, and fun! Both our staff and the animals appreciate your help. Wild Friends is home to roughly 100-150 animals (depending on the season). It encompasses three main areas:

  1. domestic rescue (ducks, geese, pigeons, mink, peafowl and, occasionally, animals like ferrets, turtles, lizards, and sugar gliders)
  2. state- and federally-licensed wildlife education (lifetime care for non-releasable wildlife like hawks, owls, ravens, etc. - volunteers have limited access to this area);
  3. state- and federally-licensed wildlife rehabilitation (caring for injured and orphaned wild birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians and releasing them back into the wild - this area is not open to volunteers).

While volunteering you might be asked to help with any of the following tasks:

  • Delivering food and fresh water to the aviaries
  • Cleaning water bowls, raking the aviaries, and changing straw in the appropriate aviaries
  • Helping staff to clean the ponds
  • Helping staff with special projects like landscaping, painting, and construction during the afternoons
  • Cleaning crates, reptariums, and aviaries

For the person who wants to be around the animals but not necessarily in close contact with them, there are kitchen projects such as laundry, dishes, wiping out cupboards, washing windows, and watering plants.

Wild Friends Safety Guidelines

To keep you and our animal friends safe, here are a few things that you should be aware of before volunteering:

Closed-toe shoes are required for volunteering in all animal areas. Sneakers or hiking shoes are the preferred footwear and shoes must have a heel strap at minimum. Clog type shoes are not permitted as shoes could fall off while working with animals, climbing ladders or performing other volunteer tasks.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age to volunteer at Wild Friends.
  • You will work with a staff person at all times. No self-guided tours are allowed, but a staff person will gladly give you a tour of the areas you volunteered in.
  • Volunteers may work with staff who are caring for the ducks, geese, peacocks, doves, pigeons, and the other non-controlled birds and mammals. Volunteers cannot help directly with the wild birds. (Only license holders and their sub-permittees may work directly with wild animals.)
  • Our minks are super curious and they can bite so do not put your fingers into their habitat.
  • Be extremely careful with the doors. If you're working with a staff person in one of the aviaries or enclosures, hook each airlock door behind you before opening the second airlock door.
  • There are zoonotic diseases that may be transmitted from animals to humans. Before you volunteer, consult your doctor for more information about precautions you can take.
  • As a volunteer, you may come in contact with hay, dust and other allergens.

Due to the nature of the animals in Wild Friends, please be aware that our animals are often fed meals that consist of what they would eat in the wild such as mice, rats, worms etc. If you would like to experience this area but don't want to participate in the feeding, we would recommend the daily Wild Friends tour instead. Please contact the Tour Department at 435-644-2001 ext. 4537 for more information.

Are you interested in volunteering at Wild Friends? Click here to get started. If you already have a volunteer account with Best Friends, log-in here.