After recently accepting their 800th intake of the year, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is seeking full-time animal care volunteers to help them rehabilitate everything “from mice to moose” as they care for a record number of animals.
The sanctuary took in 934 animals last year, which was a record high for Aspen Valley, said Executive Director Linda Glimps. This year, they’re quickly approaching that number as they continue to work through the busy summer months caring for beavers, skunks, coyote pups, moose calves and more. Aspen Valley typically hosts as many as 16 animal care volunteers during the summer, and they rely on international volunteers to fill nearly half of their full-time positions. Due to COVID restrictions, the sanctuary has had to work without help from international sources since the beginning of 2020.
“In the months of July, August and September, that’s typically when we see most of the international volunteers,” Glimps said. “Because they’re not able to come and we have another record intake of injured and orphaned wildlife this year, that’s why we put out a message to see if there’s anybody that could come and help.”
The sanctuary currently has 14 full-time volunteers, but many of them have been volunteering since May and are finishing up their stay at Aspen Valley. As they start to leave, the sanctuary is struggling to replace them. Though their busiest time of year is during the spring and early summer, there’s still a great deal of work to do to get the animals ready for release.
“The animals are now at a point where they’re leaving the nursery, and they’re starting to go outside to their pre-release enclosures,” Glimps said. “The workload is a little bit lighter than it has been, but we still have so many animals that just need so much specialized care before they can be released back to the wild.”
Due to the specialized nature of caring for wildlife, Aspen Valley has their full-time volunteers live on the property and they ask for a commitment of four consecutive weeks of volunteer service. Animal care volunteers must also be at least 18 years old and need to be vaccinated against rabies, but Glimps said they encourage anyone interested to complete an application even if they haven’t received their rabies vaccination yet.
The sanctuary doesn’t receive government funding, so it relies on donor funding as well as volunteer service. The number of injured and orphaned animals increases every year, Glimps said, so volunteering in their animal care program is a great way to support local wildlife while also getting the chance of a lifetime to learn about animals through firsthand experience.
“Our full-time volunteers are typically younger people and so they’re really understanding the impact of human interference on wildlife,” Glimps said. “They themselves become really strong advocates for protecting wildlife and cohabitating, so I think it’s a really good chance for them to not just learn about animal care but also learn in the bigger picture how important wildlife is to our environment.”
Those interested can visit Aspen Valley’s website to complete an application to be a full-time animal care volunteer. Be sure to visit their Facebook page for regular updates on their intakes and residents, or click here to learn more about their mission.