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Wolf Sanctuary USA Volunteer Project

Wolves are special animals and if you're one of those people with a passion for wolves - then this really is the project for you. 

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The Experience

This amazing project in America (located in New Mexico) gives you the opportunity to care for wolves and other canines! Live off the grid surrounded by nature and help with the day to day activities involved of running a sanctuary that takes in wolves, Coyotes and wolf-dogs!

You'll be volunteering at a sanctuary for displaced, unwanted, and un-releasable captive-bred wolves, wolf-dogs, and other related species while living off the grid surrounded by amazing scenery! 

The sanctuary rescues displaced, unwanted, and un-releasable captive-bred wolves, wolf-dogs, and other related species, provides a permanent, lifetime safe sanctuary for those that they rescue with the highest level of care, enrichment and habitat.

They also educate the public about wolves, wolf-dogs, and other related species, the eco system and how we all play a part in it, and the excellent, ethical care and treatment of all animals domestic and wild.

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Project Details

  • Arrival Dates; All year round!
  • Volunteer duration; 12+ weeks
  • Average Work hours; Varies, around 45 hours per week and  5 - 6 days per week.
  • Number of Volunteers; 3 - 4
  • Volunteer accommodation; Available
  • Housing Type; Tents on site in camp ground on site, or housing on site 
  • There is a "Volunteer Kitchen" area which is a communal space for volunteers to hang out, cook their meals, watch movies, play games, and use internet and phone. 
  • Internet is very limited due to restrictions on our bandwidth.
  • There is also a communal shower house which is located in the campground.
  • The sanctuary purchases all groceries for volunteers with restrictions on pricey items, snacks, etc. Once a week, the volunteers write a grocery list and staff pick up supplies from town. 
  • There is a trading post, right across the street where volunteers can get sandwiches, pizzas, some fresh veggies and canned goods. There is a beautiful and friendly cafe in the neighboring El Morro area, twenty-minutes away, where volunteers can have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 
  • They sometimes go on team "field trips" into the city to see a movie, play laser tag, etc. and bond as a team.

The Wolf Sanctuary is located in the lovely mountain village of Candy Kitchen, New Mexico. The property is 80 acres, and because it's in the high desert, the summers reach in the mid-90F's, with winter nights going down to 0F to -10F degree range. 

While summers are warm for the wolves and wolf-dogs, the temperature is never unbearable and they are all provided with plenty of natural shade and many enclosures have large water sources for cooling. The animals love the cool weather of winter and are especially active during our frequent winter snow falls. Active animals have large, rocky enclosures to explore, with plenty of room to frolic with their companions.

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Wolf Diet and Care

The owners of the wolf sanctuary have dedicated themselves to researching and developing a diet that is perfect for wolves. Because canines are carnivores, meat is the staple of their diet they feed primarily wild game (such as elk and deer) or poultry, depending on availability. They feed the wolves five days out of the week, which is intended to be consistent with the fasting tendencies of wild wolves. 

Once a week, they treat the animals to our their own, specially designed "Wolf Loaf" which contains a variety of ingredients intended to mimic the stomach contents of the natural prey of wolves. Our Wolf Loaf is made primarily of beef with other needed nutritional ingredients such as: vegetables, grains, amino acids, essential fatty acids, bone meal, and other vitamins and supplements. The animals also receive a weekly multi-purpose vitamin. 

Animals with specific needs, including the "geriatric" residents, enjoy diets created daily especially for them. Some of the animals receive daily or twice daily vitamins and supplements to assist with specific health issues.
Animal meals are made on-site in our large animal food kitchen with walk-in freezer and pantry.

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Protection of the wolves

The safety of the animals is also something taken extremely seriously. All of the enclosures at the Wolf Sanctuary are designed to contain a wild, challenging animal, especially those prone to escape. Each enclosure is made with 9 gauge chain link fence a minimum of eight feet tall, with added fencing at the top that hangs inward to prevent climbing and/or jumping. All posts, top rail, and gates are schedule 40 Steele. They also bury three feet of fencing under the ground along the perimeter of each enclosure to prevent the animals from digging out. Enclosures are equipped with a double gate entry system to prevent gate escapes. They not only keep our animals safe within their enclosures, but it also ensures their added safety by preventing unwanted guests from entering the compound unescorted. There are perimeter gates, locked building, and nightly 'guard duty'.
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Wolf Companionship - Enrichment and Care

When the sanctuary determines how to best care for one of the animals they are always aware that each wolf and wolf-dog is a unique individual with his or her own distinct personality, likes, and dislikes, as well as special needs. 

"Although we fully understand that no life in captivity can ever compare to life in the wild, we make every attempt to ensure that each resident is provided with the most fulfilling life possible while in our care. As wolves are social animals, all of our residents are kept in compatible pairs or family groups. We feel it is vital to offer captive animals regular enrichment. We provide quarterly "treats", including the much-anticipated stuffed pumpkin, as well as a wide range of thoughtful activities throughout the year. Through these programs, we keep our wolves' minds and bodies stimulated, offer relief from boredom, and encourage exploration and curiosity. We even have a few lucky residents who enjoy going for walks. Of course, those animals comfortable with people enjoy daily, one-on-one attention from our staff and volunteers, as well as a chance to say hello to visitors and get a snack during one of our four tours offered to the public."

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Who Are They Looking For?

Volunteers with a love of the outdoors and a passion for wildlife is a priority. You should not be fussy, picky or hypersensitive about cleaning as this is one of the main chores.  The project will not tolerate smoking, alcohol or the use of drugs. Please remember that you are a guest, therefore, respecting the rules is essential. Probably not the best place to volunteer if you are a vegetarian.
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What's Included

  • Placement in the project and co-ordination of arrival and departure flights
  • Airport Pickup on Tuesdays
; We will be waiting for you at the airport and take you to your at the volunteer project.
  • Accommodation; Back to basic tents in onsite camping ground with access to Kitchen and washing facilities
  • Meals: Groceries are provided but you will have to do the cooking with the other volunteers
  • Ongoing service; If there are any problems with your volunteer project we are always there to help you and mediate between yourself and the organisation.
  • Help with organising any other flights or tours you'd like to do in America
  • What's not included: Flights, Insurance

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Duties - what you'll be doing

The tasks usually include watering and feeding the wolves which gets complicated in the winter months because the water and raw meat freezes and has to be defrosted.  The meat needs to be cut up which also takes some extra effort when the meat is frozen.  Poop picking occurs daily. 

Your main tasks will mainly consist out of the following but are not limited to:


  • Food preparation (lot's of meat preparation every day)
  • Animal care (this includes walking some of the more social animals, cleaning enclosures, changing waters, feeding, and socialising with those animals who enjoy human interaction)
  • Cleaning
  • Educating the public
  • Build and maintain animal enclosures, enrichment detail etc

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Requirements, Guidelines & Policies

  • Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age
  • Volunteers must commit for 12 weeks or more
  • There is no alcohol or drug use permitted on the property
  • When inside wolf enclosures you will not be able to wear shorts, earrings or other body piercings, or other jewelry that cannot be tucked in or covered
  • Strong work ethics are required: reliable, responsible, honest, good sense of humour, dependable, physically and mentally fit
  • No animal allergies
  • Must have tetanus vaccination and health insurance (we will recommend a policy which covers you for this particular volunteer project to ensure you're covered)
  • Dedication to the work, purpose, mission, and philosophy of the organisation

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