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Residential / International Volunteers Wanted!


Come live at Three Ring Ranch for 4-12 weeks and learn to be an Animal Keeper. These are residential positions for up to 3 people at a time and include full room and board, shared use of a car, and everything you need to enjoy learning about the sanctuary's residents and the Big Island of Hawaii. You will participate in daily animal care and be part of the all-volunteer team: 7 hours a day maximum, though usually about 6. You will have at least two afternoons and one full day off each week to explore the island and its beaches. You will have the opportunity to snorkel with dolphins, hike a rainforest trail, see the volcano, swim with manta rays, and learn about all the best places to see with our regular 3RR volunteers, who really want to share the island with you.

You can arrange your visit directly with Ann (the Executive Director) by contacting her via email at animals@threeringranch.org

This is a fee program. To cover the costs to the sanctuary, and for you to be helping us to care for the animals, a donation of US$650 per week is required. This fee decreases to US$600 per week for stays of 6 weeks or more. We can accomodate up to 3 volunteers at a time throughout the year, except from Mid-May thru August 1st, when we are running pre-vet and veterinary student programs.

Here are some reviews from International volunteers who have spent time at the ranch.

I couldn't say enough good things about the Three Ring Ranch, and this trip in general, if I tried for the rest of my life. A typical day for me was to start preparing food for the monkeys at 7:00 am, and be out "in the field" by 8. I would slowly make my way around the sanctuary, making sure that the 30 plus residents were all fed. Parrots, monkeys, zebras, flamingos, bison, hawks; there were dozens of different animals to be responsible for, all rescued from appalling conditions. Between the morning and evening feedings, I was free to explore the town of Kona. What this meant on most days was snorkeling in the beautiful Kahalu'u Beach Park, finding the island’s best poke, shave ice, or farmer’s markets. While I was there I was lucky enough to go on a manta snorkel expedition, go scuba diving, and see the sunset atop Mauna Kea. Ann and Norm are two of the most incredible people I have ever met, they are so selflessly invested in the ranch and in the well being of the animals (and people) in their community. By the end of my stay, I truly felt like a part of their family. Working at the Three Ring Ranch was the most influential experience of my life. It's been nearly two years since my stay, and I wake up and think of my time spent at the Ranch every day. I was so moved by the experience I had, that when I got home, I got two of the sanctuary's residents tattooed on myself.

Thank you, Ann, Norm, and the animals for having me, and for teaching me, and thank you, Fronteering, for setting me up with such an incredible opportunity.

Esther from Germany (2015)

6 Wochen auf Hawaii

Meine Erwartungen an das Leben und Arbeiten auf Hawaii haben sich alle erfüllt, beziehungsweise waren noch besser als gedacht! Nach der wirklich langen Reise von Deutschland nach Hawaii hat mich meine Hostfamily vom Flughafen abgeholt. Mein Glück was es das mein zu Hause gleichzeitig auch meine Arbeitsstelle war. Ich hatte mein eigenes kleines Apartment mit Bad, Küche und luxuriösem Ausblick auf das Meer. Die Hostfamily wohnt direkt neben dem Apartment. Das Apartment und das Haus teilen sich eine Terrasse mit eigenem Pool zur Abkühlung, denn kalt ist es dort nie. Mir hat es nie an etwas gefehlt! Meine Hostmum und ich waren wöchentlich einkaufen, sodass ich immer genug Essen/Trinken zum Frühstück und Mittagessen hatte.

Am ersten Arbeitstag wurden mir erstmal alle Tiere auf der Ranch gezeigt und erklärt wie wir sie wann füttern. In den ersten Tagen war es ziemlich schwierig für mich mir zu merken wann ich welche Tiere mit welchem Futter zu füttern habe, aber ich hatte viel Hilfe durch meine Hostfamily und den anderen Volunteers. Nach ein paar Wochen konnte ich sehr gut selbstständig arbeiten. Jeden Tag kamen andere Volunteers die auf Hawaii leben und haben beim Tiere fütter/sauber machen mitgeholfen. So habe ich viele liebe Menschen kennen gelernt! Jeder Mensch und jedes Tier auf der Ranch ist mir sehr ans Herz gewachsen und es hat mir jeden Tag riesigen Spaß gemacht auf der Ranch zu Arbeiten.

Wir haben die Tiere einmal morgens und einmal nachmittags gefüttert. Mittags hatte ich Freizeit. Ich machte Lunch und war in der Zeit am Strand, in der Stadt oder habe einfach auf der Ranch relaxed. Außerdem hatte ich das Glück das die Hostfamily ein eigenes Auto für die Volunteers zur Verfügung haben. So konnte ich fahren wohin ich wollte!

Nach einem ‚normalen’ Futtertag habe ich meistens erstmal geduscht und anschließend meiner Hostmum beim kochen geholfen. In Deutschland hatte ich ein bisschen Angst, dass meine Hostfamily nur typisch amerikanisch kocht, aber das war rein gar nicht der Fall! Wir aßen jeden Abend gesunde und sehr leckere Sachen. An ein paar Abenden waren wir essen oder haben uns was nach Hause bestellt!

Ich bin so froh, dass meine Hostfamily mich so nett aufgenommen hat! Ich fühlte mich wirklich wie ein richtiges Familienmitglied. Sie standen mir mit Rat und Tat immer zur Seite und halfen mir bei Allem - unter Anderem beim Erkunden der Insel Big Island.

Da meine Hostmum beim ‚Roaderyclub’ Mitglied ist, haben wir auch außerhalb der Ranch freiwillige Arbeit geleistet. Zum Beispiel haben wir ein Frauenhaus renoviert! Wir hatten eine Menge Spaß beim Streichen.

Es war eine tolle Zeit mit vielen Erfahrungen die ich gesammelt habe, mit viel Spaß, super netten Leuten und einer besonderen Unterkunft der besten Hostfamily!

Ich kann es nur Jedem weiter empfehlen diese Erfahrung auf Hawaii zu machen. Es war einfach großartig.

Janina from Germany

--------------- Translation using Google Translate:

Six weeks in Hawaii

My expectations of life and work in Hawaii have all met, or were even better than I thought! After the really long journey from Germany to Hawaii my host family I was picked up from the airport. My happiness is what the my home at the same time was also my job.

I had my own little apartment with bathroom, kitchen and luxurious view of the sea. The host family lives right next to the apartment. The apartment and house share a terrace with private pool to cool off, because it's cold there never.

I enjoyed it never lacked anything! My Hostmum and I were weekly shopping, so I always had enough food / drinks for breakfast and lunch.

On the first working me, all animals were first shown at the ranch and explains how we feed when. In the early days it was quite difficult for me to remember me when I have food with which to feed which animals, but I had a lot of help from my host family and the other volunteers. After a few weeks I was able to work well independently. Every day came other volunteers who live in Hawaii and have helped make Fütter / clean the animals. So I have learned many dear people know! Every person and every animal on the ranch is very close to my heart and gave me every day was great fun to work on the ranch.

We have the animals once in the morning and once in the afternoon fed. At noon I had free time. I made lunch and was at the time on the beach, in the city or have just relaxed on the ranch. I was also lucky enough to have Hostfamily a car for the volunteers available. So I could go wherever I wanted!

After a 'normal' Futtertag I usually showered first and then helped my Hostmum during cooking.

In Germany, I was a bit scared that my host family serves typical American, but that was absolutely not the case! We ate every evening healthy and very tasty stuff. On a couple of evenings we were eating or what have ordered us to go home!

I am so glad that my host family took me so cute! I really felt like a real family member. You stood by me with help and advice is always to the side and helped me with everything - among other while exploring the Big Island.

Since my Hostmum is a Rotery Club member, we also did some voluntary work outside the ranch. For example, we have renovated a domestic abuse shelter! We had a lot of fun while painting.

It was a great time with many experiences I have collected a lot of fun, super nice people and a special guest of the best Host Family!

I can only recommend to each to make this experience in Hawaii. It was just great.

Janina from Germany

Dear Ann,

I want to thank you immensely for the internship opportunity you have given me. The amount of information I learned during my time at Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary is going to last me a lifetime. The program allowed me to meet and work with some fascinating people while visiting a marvelous state. Not only did I learn how to better critically think, but to also perform efficiently under pressure. I am excited to take this knowledge into my future to further my career as a veterinarian. Throughout my time at the ranch, I soon realized that one of the most important concepts I grasped was knowing the everyday routine and recognizing what “normal” looked like in each animal. Even though the routine seemed monotonous at times, it was crucial to the job. Learning each animals’ behavior and quirks helped me take care of each individual properly. For example, we noticed that Big Bird started spending most of her time up on the hill in the back of her enclosure, which was unusual. After observing Big Bird, and talking with the other interns, Jaye noticed she had a bad limp and was possibly injured. If we were not attentive to detail, then Big Bird’s injury may have gone unnoticed. One of the most memorable experiences was the feral cat spay and neuter clinic. I was ecstatic to be able to learn how to perform a neuter as a pre-veterinary student. Dr. Lori was such an incredibly patient and knowledgeable teacher to the three of us interns during the clinic. She let us jump right in and do the job without much hesitation; and if we needed help, she would gladly assist.

We also got to spend an afternoon with Dolphin Quest, a tourist attraction at the Kona Hilton resort. We had the amazing opportunity to go behind the scenes and learn about the daily care and maintenance of the dolphins that thrive at the resort. The time spent at Dolphin Quest was valuable because the experience aided in my judgment where to draw the line between animal welfare and animal rights. Learning about the dolphins and their daily training and feeding routine was important because it contributed to the development of my opinion of the ethical of breeding dolphins in captivity. I am still trying to further my knowledge on the subject, but this experience definitely opened my mind. During our afternoon there, we were also able to look at an ultrasound of a very pregnant dolphin!

We learned something every day at the ranch, which included learning how to hand cut grass in Johnny and Mona’s enclosure, learning how to kill mice in a humane and efficient manner, thinking ahead with each chore, and working as a team with the other interns. I am entirely grateful that I was chosen to participate in the program. Thank you again for the incredible opportunity; it will not be forgotten!

Victoria Fliehr (Pre-Vet Student) from Germany

My vacation at the Three Ring Ranch was amazing. I stayed there for six weeks. It was a relaxing time for me after a stressful time at work. Sometimes working with animals was like meditation. But don´t misunderstand! There is a lot of hard work with these animials (flamingos, wetlands, zebras, ostriges, monkeys, and so on). After a hard day I had delicious dinners with the owners of the ranch, Ann and Norm. Those are very loving people and they treated me very well.

Thank you very much. Maybe, I´ll come back some day.

In love,

Franzi from Germany