Before you get too excited about volunteering at a wildlife park, you should realise that unless you have appropriate qualifications it is highly unlikely that you will be able to work with the animals.
However, there may be other ways to help out. I’ve recently volunteered at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent, which works in conjunction with the Aspinall Foundation. They do some fantastic work with both breeding programmes and release of wildlife back to their natural environment. You can find out more about them here .
Please note that the opinions expressed here are mine and not those of the company or its employees.
What to Expect as a Volunteer
Howletts Wild Animal Park welcomes volunteers to help with gardening tasks. You’ll be working alongside their full-time gardeners, who will guide you. It’s a brilliant way to make a valuable contribution to work in the wildlife park, as your efforts help to keep their running costs down. Of course, that leaves more money for animal care. You work in a team, and get some insight into how the wildlife park operates, in a way that you simply wouldn’t as a visitor.
Tasks vary according to what is needed and the time of year. For instance, when I volunteered in October 2020, one group was harvesting fruit from trees in the wildlife park. Our team worked in the area behind some of the Western Lowland Gorilla enclosures. We removed the summer flower bedding plants, and set aside pruned geraniums for next year. Then we prepared the flower beds before planting a new display of winter pansies.
There are also extensive vegetable plots in view of some of the gorilla enclosures. I harvested a crate of celery which was later fed to the gorillas!
If the gorillas were watching me, I hope they approved!
If you’re interested in volunteering at a wildlife park, why not contact them to see how you can help. For volunteering opportunities with the gardeners at Howletts Wild Animal Park, check their website for details of current projects.