Become a Hotline Volunteer

What is the hotline?
The WRL hotline is a voice messaging system that provides some general tips on what to do for the most common wildlife situations. Should a caller want to speak directly to someone at WRL for further advice or is certain the animal needs immediate care; they are instructed to leave a message in one of seven mailboxes. These mailboxes are generally grouped by the type of animal and provide further instructions to the caller on what to do with the animal until a volunteer returns their call.

What do I have to do as a volunteer?
The hotline volunteers work from their own homes and are provided access to the retrieve messages from the hotline. Therefore, your number will not be given to the public. There are a series of scheduled shifts throughout the day in increments of 2.5 - 3 hours. The hotline is open from 9am through 6pm in the late fall/winter, and is extended from 8:30am until 8:30pm during the spring through early fall. You will be able to view the calendar and schedule your desired shifts in advance with our scheduler.
There are typically three types of wildlife situations the volunteers handle:
• The caller needs advice on how to help an animal that doesn’t appear to be injured such as a bird getting caught inside a home
• An animal needs immediate care from a licensed rehabilitator; the volunteer will then provide the caller with a rehabber’s contact information
• Animal agencies and veterinarians need a transporter to pick up an animal from their location and to be taken to a rehabber.

How will I know what to tell the caller?
New volunteers receive one or two training sessions from an experienced volunteer. The trainees are shown how to work the messaging system and will listen to actual calls from the public. Additional learning materials and resources are provided to help trainees understand how to diagnose a wildlife situation and what types of advice to provide to the caller.

How many calls are there?
During the winter months, the call volumes for the day are typically less than 10. However, by the end of March, the volume picks up considerably and can range from 30-50 calls per day until early fall.

Is there a commitment required from me?
Because of the costs of the training materials and time invested by the training volunteers, we ask hotline volunteers to make an effort to work at least four, 2.5 hour shifts each month for at least 6 months. Many of our volunteers have been with the WRL for several years as it is a unique and rewarding opportunity to directly help our wildlife.

Contact WRL for more information at volcoord@wildliferescueleague.org or complete our ONLINE VOLUNTEER FORM.