Sanctuary Animal Care Intern (Volunteer/Work Trade)
We are a farmed animal sanctuary located on a 13 acre property on the beautiful Hamakua coast in Laupahoehoe, Big Island Hawaii. Our purpose is to prevent cruelty to animals by rescuing animals from situations that are abusive, endangering, or neglectful, and to provide sanctuary for rescued animals. Due to the 2018 volcanic eruptions, our little sanctuary grew fast overnight! It is now home to 85 animals and counting including goats, sheep, cows, chickens, pigs, four cats, and two dogs. We have a mix of feral and domestic animals, babies to great big (600 lbs!) pigs. Each and every one loves attention and will be super excited to welcome you to the sanctuary!
We are currently staffing for start dates in April (for a 2 month stay) or August and beyond (for a 3 month stay).
Please note: We cannot accept couples or friends traveling together, and prefer volunteers who are 21+. We require our live-in volunteers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (including boosters if eligible) before arrival at the sanctuary.
We are a nonprofit farm animal sanctuary located in Laupahoehoe on the beautiful east coast of Hawaii's Big Island. Our purpose is to prevent cruelty to animals by rescuing animals from situations that are abusive, dangerous, or neglectful, and to provide sanctuary for rescued animals. Due to the 2018 volcanic eruptions, our little sanctuary grew fast overnight! It is now home over 90 animals, including goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, and cats. We have a mix of feral and domestic animals, babies to great big (600 lbs!) pigs. Each and every one loves attention and will be super excited to welcome you to the sanctuary!
We are completely volunteer-run and are looking for interns with prior animal experience who are committed to the full time animal care position for at least 3 months to ensure you have time to get oriented, get to know and connect with all the animals, and provide continuity on projects. Every one of our animals is a cherished part of our family, and we prepare healthy meals for them 2-3 times per day, clean and maintain their shelters daily, and are always working on projects to expand the sanctuary to best serve the animals here and in the broader community.
Animal care is centered around feeding, cleaning, and enrichment from 7am to 6pm, with long breaks in between shifts. Alternating shifts include babysitting for our special needs animals and new babies who need around the clock care and supervision. Depending on your experience and interests, you will also contribute to special projects such as supporting outreach programs, managing our social media presence and external communications, providing veterinary care, or helping on construction and property maintenance projects. Interns work no more than 30 hours each week, with two full days off.
The help is physically challenging (lots of walking and moderately heavy lifting) but very accessible. You will need to be able to get things done independently, but we all work closely here as it is our home as well as the sanctuary, and we want to be with the animals all day every day too! We also have a fabulous team of local volunteers who manage much of the feeding and cleaning chores on their given shift, and team up with you on special projects. Our animals thrive with love and affection, so animal care shifts are balanced with plenty of time to be close with the animals.
Interns live in a shared yurt, usually five at a time. The yurt is a fully inclusive living space, with solar power, hot water shower, and outdoor kitchen. Interns use the WiFi connection at the main house/office, though cell phone service (including data) works well at the yurt. We do not allow any smoking or excessive drinking, and no animal products onsite out of respect for our rescued dairy cows, pigs, chickens, goats, etc.
Food is not provided with this position, and will be one of your only expenses while staying with us. We do receive frequent food donations to the sanctuary, but we don't always know what or how much, so those will be supplementary to what you buy at the grocery store each week. We do ask that all staff members maintain a vegan diet while on the property, out of respect for our rescued dairy cows, pigs, and other farmed animals. You will have tons of resources and support in this here if needed.
Everyone lives and works together close to the main house (our home), and it is important that we find interns with similar lifestyles to ours to ensure a good fit. We are quiet and respectful, and we enjoy working together during the days and having peaceful time on our own in the evenings once the work day is finished. We love getting to know our volunteers and sharing this beautiful life together, but we are also looking for individuals who can be independent in their off hours. The property (and Big Island in general) is a peaceful place of stunning natural beauty, but very little nightlife or social activities, so volunteers should be okay with a small network of people to connect with and of course quiet time with the animals.
We are in a rural area so interns should be excited for the opportunity to totally immerse with the animals on our beautiful property for the duration of their stay, with the exception of your two days off each week. We think we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, on the Hamakua coast of Hawaii's Big Island. On days off you can explore the lava fields, black and white sand beaches, swim with turtles and manta rays, go on breathtaking hikes with hiking groups in the area, or connect with our wonderful local volunteers to explore with.
Interns must be appropriately licensed to drive a car in the U.S., as we make daily trips to the country store to pick up scraps for the pigs' dinners. We make the sanctuary vehicle available for volunteers to grocery shop and explore the island one day per week (schedule permitting, as sometimes it needs to remain onsite for sanctuary chores or in case of emergency). Interns will be responsible for the fuel costs for personal use of the sanctuary vehicle, and we also ask for a donation of 10 cents/mile driven in order to cover vehicle maintenance costs. Both of these costs are usually split between two interns who are off together.
We are a completely volunteer-run organization and there are no paid positions available. We sincerely appreciate the time our interns generously donate to caring for the animals and supporting our cause, and hope that you feel well compensated by the love they will shower you with every day.
Ability to Commute/Relocate:
- Laupāhoehoe, HI 96764 (Required)
- Farm animal care: 1 year (Preferred)
- English fluently (Required)
- Driver's License (Required)
All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.