The Conservators Center is committed to providing education about the species in our care. Our internship offers a unique, hands-on, real-world learning experience in exotic animal husbandry. This competitive program attracts applicants from all over the world looking to gain experience in exotic animal husbandry. International applicants are welcome.

You are also welcome to apply if you simply want the experience of working with our animal keepers and an interesting addition to your resume.

While our interns are valued and appreciated members of our community, they are unpaid, instead gaining valuable experience in exotic animal husbandry.   While we do not have staff positions available often, we strongly consider former and current interns who have impressed us with their work and dedication to the well-being of our residents.

What You’ll Learn as a Conservators Center Intern

Our interns are completely immersed in the daily routines of our Animal Husbandry staff and are exposed to most aspects of the Center’s daily operations. Although the focus will be on primarily animal husbandry duties, you will also have opportunities to participate in other areas of the organization, such as Education and Guest Relations.

Full-time summer interns will also have the opportunity
to learn about:

  • animal socialization and handling
  • operant conditioning
  • the zoological industry

On a typical work day, you will assist with:

  • preparing diets
  • feeding
  • cleaning and maintaining food preparation areas
  • cleaning and maintaining animal enclosures
  • creating and implementing enrichment
  • construction


Develop The Skills To Start Your Career


At the beginning of your internship you will shadow an animal keeper throughout the day until you have learned specific skills you may perform independently. Due to the nature of our animal collection, you will gain experience in very specific animal husbandry of large carnivore species; small, obscure carnivore species; and the special needs of geriatric animals. To ensure your safety, there are aspects of the keeper’s daily tasks that you may closely observe but will not perform.

After successfully completing the program you will be prepared for advanced study or to apply for paid positions at similar facilities with a comparable animal collection. Some of our interns with interests beyond exotic animal husbandry return as advanced interns at the Center in husbandry, or another area such as education.

Internship Sessions

240 hours over 6 weeks

The Center offers four of these sessions over the course of the summer.* Summer interns take weekly classes related to husbandry, wildlife education, and non-profit management, as well as a behind-the-scenes visit to another wildlife facility in North Carolina.
320 hours over 8 weeks

These sessions are offered throughout the fall, winter, and spring.
Note: 8-week interns will not be exposed to as much additional content as the summer interns; however they often get more one-on-one time with our Husbandry staff.
320 hours over 20 weeks

This option is available throughout the fall, winter, and spring,** and it is ideal for local applicants who would like to intern while attending classes or working part-time. Part-time interns must commit to at least 16 hours/week, with a minimum shift length of 4 hours, and at least one full work day (8am-4:30pm) each week. The additional classes and content in the General and Summer Full-time Sessions are not available to part-time interns.
120 hours over 3 weeks

These sessions are available throughout the fall, winter, and spring.** They are specifically designed for breaks in school and holiday schedules, and they are the newest offering in the Conservators Center internship program! Because of the shortened time frame, Mini Session participants will be asked to concentrate on a particular group of species. Currently, interns participating in the Mini Sessions can choose between focusing on the husbandry of the Center’s large cats (leopards, lions, and tigers) and focusing on the husbandry of the Center’s small carnivores (binturongs, servals, Geoffroy’s cats, etc) and ring-tailed lemurs.


Due to the nature of the required work, which includes a lot of physical labor and some driving, you must be able to lift 50 pounds, work in all types of weather, and you must have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

Being an Animal care intern also entails that you will be handling deceased whole prey, raw meat, strong odors, and intense labor in different weather conditions. As an intern, you will be expected to complete such tasks.

Internship Application