The Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary rehabilitates more than 1,200 orphaned and injured wild mammals and reptiles every year. Volunteer rehabilitation interns play an integral role in helping to care for these animals and release them back to the wild. The Sanctuary is located between North Gower and Kemptville in a rural environment, about 45 minutes south of Ottawa, Ontario.
Wildlife rehabilitation is a rewarding experience, with the majority of an intern’s time spent on direct animal care. Interns also learn about many aspects of wildlife rehabilitation, such as wildlife identification, natural history and behaviour, animal handling, animal health and nutrition, diagnostic procedures, fluid therapy, medicine administration, hygiene and quarantine protocols, environmental enrichment, release criteria and human/wildlife conflict resolution. Interns also gain valuable work skills, such as working as part of a team with staff and volunteers, dealing with the public and setting priorities.
Job duties include, but are not limited to:
- answering phones
- admitting and examining new patients
- preparing formula and food
- formula-feeding animals and providing fresh water and solid foods
- cleaning cages and facilities
- calculating and administering medications (under supervision)
- performing diagnostic procedures (under supervision)
- performing fluid therapy and wound management (under supervision)
- monitoring animal health
- maintaining records
- releasing animals
- other related duties
Internships are full-time volunteer positions. Terms are a minimum of three months and maximum of eight months between March 1 and October 31. Interns work an average of 40-50 hours per week on a rotating schedule, which includes days, evenings, weekends and holidays. On working days, interns may be required to take baby animals home for overnight feedings. Overtime is often required.
Interns receive an honorarium of $150 per week to help cover incidental expenses. Interns who complete their full term with above-average job performance will receive a written reference. Interns are responsible for their own housing (we can assist with finding local accommodation) and transportation (there is no public transportation to the sanctuary).
Ideal interns are mature, hardworking, reliable and conscientious individuals who will commit to their full term and work long hours. Work is often fast-paced, repetitive and requires working outdoors in all kinds of weather. Interns should be able to perform physically demanding tasks, such as heavy lifting. Most applicants are involved in biology, wildlife, environmental or veterinary-related studies, but we will consider all applicants who demonstrate an enthusiastic, hardworking attitude and who will become an integral member of our rehabilitation team.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. Previous rehabilitation experience is an asset but not required. All interns must provide proof of vaccination for tetanus and rabies*. Non-Canadian applicants require proof of a valid work visa.
To apply, please provide a covering letter (including your availability and preferred terms, vaccination status, what you hope to gain from an internship and how you will contribute to our team), resume and two written references by email. Please apply early as applications are reviewed as they are received, and no later than February 28. Preference will be given to applicants who apply for internships greater than three months.
* Rabies Vaccine Information
The rabies pre-exposure vaccine is a series of three injections given in your arm over the course of one month. You can obtain a prescription and get your injections from your family doctor, and order the vaccine from any pharmacy. Most health plans cover such vaccinations. If not, the cost is about $700. To check if your health plan covers the vaccine, you will need the following Drug Identification Numbers: RabAvert – DIN 02267667; Imovax – DIN 01908286. If you have had the rabies vaccine in the past, you need to provide proof of protective titre levels (blood test for levels of antibodies) every two years, which you can obtain from your family doctor.