North America

Sanctuaries and volunteering opportunities in North America

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United States of America

  • Forest Animal Rescue by Peace River Refuge & RanchThe Forest Animal Rescue by Peace River Refuge & Ranch is a sanctuary for wild animals that can’t be reintroduced into their natural habitat. Among its residents are big cats, bears, wolves and primates. All the animals there have been confiscated by the authorities or rescued from abusive situations where they were kept as pets. This being a sanctuary the animals are cared for, but they are not sold and do not perform unnatural activities.
  • The Oasis SanctuaryThe Oasis Sanctuary, located in Arizona, is a rescue facility for exotic birds, especially for parrots, cockatoos and macaws.
    The sanctuary is not a zoo, and doesn’t have regular visiting hours for the public; therefore, if you want to visit it is necessary to call in advance. Likewise, the centre offers volunteer opportunities (with no charge) which are available on its website.
  • OPR Coastal Primate SanctuaryOPR Coastal Primate Sanctuary is a sanctuary that provides care and good living conditions for primates orphaned, abandoned or rescued from vivisection. OPR also educates the public about the serious consequences of keeping these animals in captivity or as pets, as well as the importance of preserving their natural habitat.From April to September the centre offers guided tours.
  • Animal ArkAnimal Ark is anon-profitorganisation based inNevada that since 1986 has welcomedinjuredand abandoned animalsto its sanctuarythat can’t bereintroducedin the wild.Their teams ofteachers and biologistsconduct educationalprograms in schools andofferspersonalized toursfor peoplewho want to knowand learn more aboutthese animals.
  • In-Sync ExoticsIn-Sync Exotics was officially established in 2000 as a non-profit organisation dedicated to the rescue of big cats, who were victims of abuse, neglect or mistreatment. The hope is that one day the centre can disappear for lack of need to care for these animals, but meanwhile In- Sync Exotics will continue to offer a unique home for its residents. They will also continue educating the public about the serious problems associated with keeping these animals as pets or captive breeding. The public can visit the centre at certain times.
  • Lions, Tigers & BearsLions, Tigers & Bears (oh my!) is a non-profit rescue centre that houses and provides a good life for exotic animals who were abused or previously kept as pets. The centre is one of twelve large feline sanctuary throughout the US and being a true sanctuary Lions Tigers & Bears don’t sacrifice animals or breed for captivity.
  • Longhopes Donkey ShelterThe Longhopes Donkey Shelter is dedicated to the rescue, shelter, rehabilitation, protection and adoption of donkeys and mules providing a home for these animal victims who were abused and neglected. When the donkeys that arrive at the shelter have recovered and are in good condition, the shelter looks for a home where they can enjoy a happy life; and if this is not possible they continue caring for them indefinitely.
  • Best Friends Animal SocietyThe Best Friends Animal Society is an American animal protection organisation working to end the killing of dogs and cats in the shelters of the United States. It has the largest animal sanctuary in the country. Since its founding in 1984, the Best Friends Animal Society has helped to reduce the number of animals killed in shelters from 17 to 4 million. They offer several volunteer opportunities.
  • The Vince Shute Wildlife SanctuaryNestled in the woods of northern Minnesota, the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary covers about 360 acres and consists of a combination of habitats such as forests, wetlands, open meadows and marshes. In addition to providing shelter to more than 50 bears, the sanctuary is also home to a wealth of other wildlife, such as eagles, beavers, mink, squirrels, bobcats, owls, ducks and crows. The sanctuary holds several scientific and educational programs and offers the opportunity to observe these magnificent animals in a natural environment.
  • Poplar Spring Animal SanctuaryPoplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is a haven for farm animals located in Poolesville, Maryland. Among its main objectives is to provide attention, care and rehabilitation for abused and injured animals; protecting wildlife habitat; educating and creating awareness for the need to respect animals. The centre accepts volunteers and has other opportunities.
  • The Marine Mammal CentreThe mission of The Marine Mammal Centre is to create awareness and to educate about marine mammals -their health and the marine environment- and to promote their conservation worldwide. Their main work is the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured animals; and all this work is only possible thanks to the help of volunteers.
  • Garuda AviaryGaruda Aviary is a sanctuary for macaws, parrots and parakeets that have been abused and neglected. In addition to providing care and good facilities for more than 50 of these animals, many of whom have flown for the first time whilst here, the centre aims to educate society about the impossibility of keeping these birds as pets.
  • Farm SanctuaryWould you like to help cows, pigs, sheep and other farm animals? Contact the Farm Sanctuary. They rescue, protect and care for them in sanctuaries located in New York and California.
  • Volunteering chimpanzee sanctuariesHave you considered volunteering at a sanctuary for chimpanzees who’ve spent their lives in laboratories, as pets or in the entertainment industry? If you would like to help a sanctuary in the US for a month or more, here’s a list from The Humane Society of the United States that lists those that accept volunteers.
  • There are many sanctuaries in the USA which are part of the GFAS Accreditation Scheme. You can see a full list here.