Course:APBI 496: Practicum details for Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

From UBC Wiki

Wildlife Rescue Association of B.C.’s Practicum Programs

Established in 1979, Wildlife Rescue Association of BC is a leader in the rehabilitation of wild animals in the urban environment and is committed to educating the public on how to coexist peacefully with urban wildlife.

We run a Wildlife Hospital and Helpline located on a single site at the edge of Burnaby Lake. We treat over 6,000 wild birds and bats each year and provide public education through 30,000 calls to our Wildlife Helpline. We are western Canada’s busiest wildlife rehabilitation centre, and the second largest in Canada.

Located in Burnaby BC, we are a well-established environmental charity that offers its practicum participants:

  • An innovative and flexible work environment
  • Passionate and committed colleagues
  • Personalized experience, career growth and personal development
  • Hands-on experience
  • Opportunities to develop new skills
  • Deeper/advanced knowledge of wildlife natural history and physiology
  • Credits towards a program or university degree
    • Applied Animal Biology Practicum at UBC

Positions Available

We have four exciting practicum placements available:

  1. Wildlife Rehabilitation Practicum (min 300 hours)
  2. Wildlife Helpline and Rescue Practicum (min 300 hours)
  3. Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Practicum (min 300 hours)
  4. Animal Care Practicum (min 160 hours)


Voluntary (no stipends available)


Minimum hours are required to complete this program. However more hours are recommended to retain the skills and experience needed to work in related fields.

Practicum Eligibility

This practicum is part of a formal education process for students enrolled in a public or private post-secondary institution that is related to or has previously taught theory related to the field of Wildlife Rehabilitation, and that will provide credits for the hours spent in the practicum position (e.g., a Co-op program with a university). The student is required to be enrolled in the institute during their time as a Practicum Student with WRA. The student is required in good faith to be enrolled in the institute with the intention to pursue a degree or certificate awarded by the public or private post-secondary institute.


  • Minimum 19 years of age
  • Have medical insurance
  • Eligible to volunteer in Canada (please check visa)
  • Reliable transport or willing to walk 30 minutes from nearest transit stop in all weather
  • Minimum commitment of 160 hours for Animal Care practicum
  • Minimum commitment of 300 hours for all other practicums
  • Current tetanus vaccination
  • Full Covid-19 vaccination (currently a booster is not required)
  • Willing to undertake a free Criminal Record Check
  • Demonstrated fluency in speaking, reading, and writing English
  • Be in good health
  • Able to perform physically demanding tasks, such as cleaning and lifting (up to 19kg/40lbs), and working outdoors in all weathers
  • Able to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends, and holidays
  • Able to learn quickly and perform varied tasks in a fast-paced work environment
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Willingness to ask questions
  • Have a positive outlook!

Successful Candidates are Expected to

  • Be reliable, attending all shifts except in cases of illness or extenuating circumstances
  • Take initiative
  • Work independently and within a team
  • Ask questions and be motivated to learn
  • Positively contribute to Wildlife Rescue’s mission, vision, and values
  • Have fun!

Suggested Textbook

  • Wildlife Rehabilitation: A Comprehensive Approach
  • Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation
  • Answering the Call of The Wild

*Textbook suggestions dependent on type of practicum. Do not purchase any books until suggested*

Practicum Option Details

Wildlife Rehabilitation Practicum (min 300 hours)

This practicum focuses primarily on the animal care and medical aspects of wildlife rehabilitation. Participants in the program will learn and demonstrate basic animal care, including daily patient checks, basic animal handling and basic lab skills. Depending on the season, the number and variety of patients in care, and the duration of the practicum program, the participants will have the opportunity to directly observe and learn an assortment of the following topics:

  • Basic Physiology
  • Admission Procedures
  • Volunteer Training and Mentorship
  • Teamwork and team building
  • Species Identification and Natural History
  • Restraint and Handling Techniques
  • Wildlife Stress and Shock
  • Zoonoses
  • Physical Exam
  • Fluid Therapy
  • Thermoregulatory Medical Complications
  • Nutrition
  • Starvation and Emaciation
  • Wound Management and Bandaging
  • Head and Spinal Trauma
  • Euthanasia theory and application
  • Release assessment and Criteria
  • Basic Lab Skills
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Interpersonal development and skills
  • Research

Wildlife Helpline and Rescue Practicum (min 300 hours)

Participants work together with the helpline and rescue team to address human wildlife conflicts, wildlife rescues and to educate the public. Participants will develop their skills in bird identification, species-specific behaviors and rescue procedures and protocols. Practicum students will be an integral part of coordinating each step of rehabilitation from an initial call from a distressed member of public, through to rescue personnel dispatch, patient admission and finally coordinating release of healed patients back to the wild. Some of the topics covered may include:

  • Rescues, Transports and Releases
  • Rescue Techniques
  • Coordination of incoming and outgoing animals
  • Natural History and Behavior of Wildlife Animal Welfare
  • First Response for Wildlife in Distress
  • Crisis Line Management training
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution
  • Public Safety and Wildlife Interactions
  • Roles of local wildlife agencies
  • Interpersonal development and skills
  • Zoonotic Diseases
  • Assessing release Sites
  • Public Education
  • Data Entry and Analysis
  • Fundraising and Processing Donations
  • Research

Wildlife Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Practicum (min 300 hours)

The best of both worlds; this practicum offers experience in all aspects of rehabilitation from education to medical treatments, to rescue planning and release! This practicum is an integrated program, bringing together the Wildlife Helpline and Rescue Practicum and Wildlife Rehabilitation Practicum to give an overview of how a Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre operates. This practicum is the best experience to start a career in wildlife rehabilitation. Please see Wildlife Helpline and Rescue Practicum and Wildlife Rehabilitation Practicum for the full list of ‘Overview of Topics’.

Animal Care Practicum (min 160 hours)

Animal Care roles perform essential animal care and maintenance tasks in the Wildlife Hospital including preparing diets for patients, cleaning enclosures, cleaning and maintaining the facility, laundry, dishes, enrichment, and many other essential duties to keep a wildlife rehabilitation hospital functioning. Practicum students work together with staff and volunteers to provide the best medical care and rehabilitation possible, with the goal of releasing animals back into the wild. Some of the topics covered may include:

  • Basic Species Identification and Natural History
  • Volunteer Training and Mentorship
  • Teamwork and team building
  • Feeding wildlife and natural diets
  • Food-safe standards (for wildlife)
  • Basic Restraint and Handling Techniques
  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Facility maintenance
  • Cleaning duties
  • Quality control

Why Should You Apply?

  • You care about wildlife and are concerned about anthropogenic impacts
  • You would like to learn at one of the busiest wildlife rehabilitation centres in Canada
  • You are looking for work experience in animal care or conservation
  • You want to contribute to a culture of respect, social intelligence, and appreciation among staff and volunteers
  • You enjoy a collaborative and philanthropic work environment with highly dedicated and enthusiastic peers/colleagues


We will be reviewing applications on an ongoing basis, so recommend you apply early as some of our programs fill very quickly.

Each practicum program has a limited number of spaces available and specific start dates available.

To apply, complete our application form at this link (note: please submit cover letter and resume as single pdf file). Your cover letter should include:

  • Which practicum you are applying for
  • Your preferred start dates
  • Your available commitment

Wildlife Rescue thanks all applicants in advance for their interest in this role.

Find out more about us here: