I started volunteering at Southwest Wildlife last Thursday. It’s been a lot of fun so far. Today I helped to take x-rays of a dog, and transported bobcat cubs and a kit fox! I wrote about wanting to volunteer there in a previous post but didn’t really elaborate on it. They’re “the largest sanctuary for animals native to the southwest in the United States” and “the only sanctuary in Arizona capable of caring for large mammals.”
Here’s the introduction from their Facebook page:
Southwest Wildlife rescues and rehabilitates injured, displaced, and orphaned wildlife. Most are returend to the wild. Wildlife education includes advice on living with wildlife and the importance of native wildlife to healthy ecosystems. Sanctuary is provided to animals that cannot be released back to the wild.
To achieve this mission, Southwest Wildlife provides an on-site medical care center, wild animal rehabilitation, full-time wildlife consultation and education services, an accredited sanctuary for those animals that cannot be released, and volunteer dispatch teams that immediately respond to wildlife emergencies. We also serve as a holding facility for the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program.
The sanctuary seems to have mostly coyotes, bobcats and wolves, but they also have raccoons, coatis, kit foxes, mountain lions, and other cuteness. They even have three black bears and a leopard! Since I don’t have my vaccinations yet, I can’t be in direct contact with the animals. My job is to just help wherever I’m needed. I stand outside the cages and help the person inside the cage. I get and hand them the equipment they need, I handle the hoses, I keep an eye on the animals so that they don’t surprise the person in the cage. I clean, I help around the clinic, prepare food for some animals… basically I do everything I can!
It takes me about an hour to drive there, but I really don’t mind it. It’s mostly freeway and the view is amazing – the sanctuary is located near the McDowell mountains. It’s so far out in the sticks I can’t even get a signal on my phone. The place is beautiful, the animals are amazing, the people are really nice.. I love it! The people who get paid to work in places like that are so lucky. Volunteering there has made me realize I’m definitely studying the right field. This is what I want to do for a living.
I’m not allowed to post pictures from inside the sanctuary, but I took a few on the way there: