Central Coast Living: Volunteer with wild animals

Posted at 7:42 AM, Oct 19, 2017

Attention animal lovers: if you’re looking for ways to volunteer with furry, feathered and scaly friends, there’s a perfect place for you in Paso Robles. 

More than 200 rescued, wild animals call Conservation Ambassadors’ Zoo To You facility in Paso Robles home. Many of the creatures were previously owned illegally as pets or suffered injuries that would prevent them from surviving in the wild. 

No matter the species, volunteers like Francis Glasier will tell you, all the animals at the zoo have big personalities. 

"I know what everybody likes to eat out here. I really like to feed them," Glasier said. "When the big bear comes running over to the side of the cage to greet you when you walk in the compound, it’s exciting!"

Glasier does a bit of everything as a volunteer, from feeding to cleaning cages. Over the past two years, she’s watched wild animals warm up to her. 

Being up close and personal with these incredible creatures on a regular basis is an experience Glasier says she never imagined she’d have. Many of her fellow volunteers feel the same way, no matter how long they’ve been doing it. 

Scott Ellis has been donating his time at the zoo for over a decade. 

"It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done," Ellis said. "It’s a lot of fun."

Ellis calls the pro-bono job a lifelong learning opportunity. 

"You’ll never stop learning about these animals," said Ellis. "There’s always something new and periodically we’ll get new animals and all of a sudden you have to become knowledgeable about gila monsters or great horned owls or whatever the case might be." 

Ellis says the zoo is always looking for more volunteers. 

"It’s not just about scooping poop, although we all do that," he said. "We really look forward to getting the types of volunteers with varied skill sets." 

Skills ranging from writing to woodworking to wild animal whispering are all welcome as the zoo works to spread the message of conservation and caring for all the amazing creatures. 

Volunteers are expected to spend 2-4 hours per week working at the zoo. 

Zoo To You will host a volunteer training session Sunday, October 22. 

To sign up, contact volunteer coordinator Kambria McGrath by emailing

They host volunteer trainings on almost every third Sunday of the month. 

You must be 18 or older to volunteer, however kids can volunteer with a parent. 

Click here for more information.