IFAW is on a mission to radically advance and professionalize the field of animal rescue and conservation to save more animals and ensure a world where people and animals thrive together.
The Academy of Rescue and Conservation (ARC) provides training and education in all aspects of animal rescue and conservation. Through providing accessible education, training, and mentoring, our ultimate goal is to ensure that animals and people thrive together.
While many of our courses are available via an online learning website, we acknowledge there is a value and critical need for in-person training opportunities and have created dedicated space for onsite courses. Our educational facility is located at the International Operations Center (IOC) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with dedicated space to conduct meetings, trainings, and workshops, both in-person and virtually. The ARC is also a hub for conferences and collaborative research initiatives to improve the welfare of and outcomes for animals in crisis globally and, ultimately, save more lives.
We started the ARC in response to the dramatic increase in demand for advanced training in animal rescue for people and organizations around the world. IFAW has trained over 1,400 individuals in 35 countries. In recent years, requests for our rescue expertise have tripled in some areas due to climate change, wildlife trade, human population growth, and shifting land use practices. As the demand for IFAW support and training increased, the need for a formalized educational center became apparent.
The ARC is a center of excellence made possible due to a generous contribution by the Suzanne McGraw Foundation. The foundation supports organizations that build educational opportunities which promote curiosity, self-sufficiency, and lifelong learning for all.
The ARC, our flagship training and education initiative, puts into practice IFAW’s goal to create exponential positive impacts for animals and people through advanced learning.
The ARC has an expanding collection of courses crafted by staff, professional peers, and leaders in the animal welfare and conservation space. We work closely with partners who believe strongly in the power of continuing education for wildlife rescue professionals who are ambitious about changing the world for the better.
Our online courses are hosted on TalentLMS, and currently the majority are available by invitation only. The ARC will offer a series of free courses, learning opportunities, and seminars to the public. Please check back periodically.
At present, courses are offered to pre-approved IFAW volunteers and partners. Publicly available courses will be available soon.
Below is a compilation of ARC courses and educational opportunities.
Current courses available:
- Pinniped Identification
- Cetacean Identification
- CICU (Cetacean Intensive Care Unit) General Guidelines
- CICU (Cetacean Intensive Care Unit) Hazard and Injury Mitigation
- CICU (Cetacean Intensive Care Unit) Zoonotic Disease Guidelines
- CARE E-Learning for Agencies
- CARE E-Learning for Front Line and Law Enforcement Officers
- Disaster Response: Assessment
IFAW has launched our first online training courses for individuals who are involved with marine mammal rescue work.
Cetacean Identification course
This course provides important information on correctly identifying the species of the animal so that the response can be tailored to the specific needs of that species.
This course will introduce the different types of cetaceans on Cape Cod and allow the learner to identify the species accurately.
Pinniped Identification course
An important part of pinniped response is to correctly identify the species of seal so that the response can be tailored to the specific needs of that species.
This course will introduce the different types of pinnipeds on Cape Cod and will give the learner the ability to accurately identify the species.
Saving animals since 1969, IFAW is a recognized leader within the animal rescue field. In the last twenty years, IFAW teams have responded to, rescued, and cared for over 655,000 animals worldwide. We have provided more than 125 trainings, reaching over 7,000 individuals in 35 countries.
Our compassionate, collaborative, and professional approach has made IFAW an innovator and leader in animal welfare, rescue, and conservation. As we face many environmental challenges, IFAW is uniquely positioned to bring the best practices of animal rescue to a much wider audience. We are committed to not only saving more animals worldwide and improving standards of welfare, but also contributing to the conservation of threatened and endangered species including elephants, koalas, dolphins, whales, tigers, rhinos, and raptors.
In recent years, climate change, wildlife trade, human population growth, and shifting land use practices increased threats to habitats and animal populations around the world. During that time, our teams received nearly triple the number of requests for wildlife rescue expertise and support. The demand for science-driven, contemporary protocols and standards of care is increasing as catastrophic events such as wildfires, hurricanes and floods, marine mammal mass strandings, and the orphaning of newborn wildlife are increasing, leaving more animals in need of rescue from dire situations.
The ARC is training and empowering global rescue teams to operate safely, effectively, and with the highest standards of care. We are creating a global network of trained experts and mentors and preparing the ground for the launch of rescue/rehab/release centers in key regions that are aligned with best practices and staffed by IFAW-trained rescue leaders.
If you or your organization are interested in partnering with the ARC in content creation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to:
The Suzanne McGraw Foundation
The Academy of Rescue and Conservation is possible thanks to a generous contribution from the Suzanne McGraw Foundation.
The Foundation supports organizations that enhance educational opportunities, foster self-sufficiency, and promote health and wellness in order to maximize the quality of life for those needing assistance.
Can I volunteer for IFAW?
Yes, we do accept volunteers who live full-time on or close to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and would like to assist our incredible team in rescuing stranded marine mammals. Please visit the application page for additional information.
For IFAW’s wildlife rescue and disaster response work, we deploy experienced, trained responders who are adept at handling and working with animals in stressful circumstances. Due to the risk and nature of these events, IFAW does not deploy or use volunteers for these areas of work at this time.
Are all courses free?
We are working to make a number of courses available for free and will update our "What’s new" and "Educational offerings" pages when the opportunities are available.
What languages are the courses in?
Currently, all courses are offered in English. Our team is in the process of translating courses into several languages including French and Spanish. We will translate courses into additional languages and update this webpage when multilingual options are available.
Do I have to have a college degree to take courses at the ARC?
A college degree is not a prerequisite for most of our courses. Some courses and trainings are designed for professionals working in specific fields and require prior experience or education.
Online courses and trainings that are available to the public are listed on our TalentLMS website. Prospective learners will need to have a valid email address and will create a username and password on TalentLMS.
Are these courses official certifications?
Once you have successfully finished a course, you will receive a certificate of completion. However, the courses available at this time are not official certifications.
Our team is working towards offering certifications in the future and is actively pursuing credentialling and accreditation for individual courses.