Marine Mammal Rescue Centre Volunteer Program

Volunteers are the cornerstone of VAMMR, playing a critical role in the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, educating the public, and so much more. Each year more than 200 dedicated volunteers contribute more than 13,000 hours to help make second chances possible for our patients.

Volunteer Washing Animal Volunteer Washing Animal

Rescue Centre Volunteers

Volunteers play an essential role in the successful rehabilitation of marine mammals at the Rescue Centre – our offsite-quarantine facility in Vancouver, B.C. 

Under the direct supervision of staff, volunteers prepare formula, thaw, and sort fish, clean and disinfect food prep areas, clean animal enclosures and pools and assist with the general maintenance around the site. New volunteers will not handle or touch animals and must follow strict safety and quarantine protocols.

Rescue Centre, volunteer shifts are 7-11:45am, 12:15-4:45pm and 5:15-10pm seven days a week during peak season July and August.

Volunteer Requirements:

  • Volunteers must also be able to lift a minimum of 12kg, stand for extended periods of time and work outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Volunteers need to make a minimum five-hour shift per week commitment from July to early September.
  • Be a minimum of 18 years old in the calendar year applying.

Rescue Centre Volunteer Sign Up

Rescue Centre Volunteer recruitment occurs once annually in the spring. Recruitment for summer 2024 is now closed. Please sign up to be notified for next year's recruitment!

Marine Mammal Rescue Practicums

Marine Mammal Rescue practicums are for students required by their post-secondary curriculum to gain practical experience in the field of animal husbandry or wildlife rehabilitation. The students will work alongside the veterinary staff and volunteer teams to aid in the rehabilitation of marine mammals admitted to the centre. Key duties include general husbandry, meal preparation, gavage feeding, helping admit animals, administering subcutaneous fluids, wound management, prepping medications, and potential to assist with rescues and releases. Placement options are ONLY offered from June to October.

Practicum placements are unpaid, short-term placements undertaken as part of post-secondary studies through an accredited University or College. Students must be registered in a course that requires placement in animal husbandry or wildlife rehabilitation (APBI496at UBC for example) or a Veterinary Technology Program.

Volunteers Volunteers

Practicum Requirements:

  • Students must be in good academic standing.
  • Be a minimum of 18 years old in year applying
  • Familiar with animal handling and be able to work as a member of a team with minimal supervision.
  • Additionally, practicum students must meet the physical aspects of the position including lifting and carrying 12 kg safely on their own and be comfortable working outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Priority will be given to Canadian applicants.

Applications for summer 2024 are now closed.

Please see the FAQ section below if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions: Practicums

A practicum is part of a formal education process for students enrolled in a post-secondary institution that involves the supervised practical application of previously taught theory related to course study.  A practicum is unpaid hands-on training that is required by the curriculum of the program for credit towards graduating

Two practicums are currently offered through the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre (MMR). The animal husbandry practicum and the veterinary technologist practicum. Both are only available June to October.  The duration of both practicums will differ depending on the course requirements.

The course/program must specify hands on training to receive credit and/or to graduate.  The practicum is NOT a placement for graduated students or anyone looking for experience in animal husbandry or wildlife rehabilitation that is not connected to a specific course or program.

Unfortunately, not.  The rescue centre is predominately busy from June -October due to the harbour seal pupping season.  Although the rescue centre is open year-round, there are not enough patients on site to offer the diversity of training opportunities for students.

The expectation is that the practicum students will prioritize their placement at MMR for the duration of their placement.  There is some flexibility with weekly scheduling however the required hours stipulated in your practicum course/program will still need to be met.

A practicum role is only for students currently enrolled in an eligible course/program. However, the rescue centre does offer a small number of specialized visiting volunteer positions for students in veterinary medicine, veterinary technology, marine biology, or other similar fields, and visiting rescue or animal care professionals. If you think you are eligible for this role, please email

Yes, if your program/course meets the eligibility and your dates align with June-October. You will be responsible for organizing your own travel, accommodation in Vancouver and entry requirements.

Volunteer Helping Guests Volunteer Helping Guests

Partnership With The Vancouver Aquarium

We are proud to be working in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium and all VAMMR volunteers are still part of the award-winning Vancouver Aquarium Volunteer program.

Learn More


Please email us if you have any question about volunteering with VAMMR.