Internship in exotic animal care and management

Internships

The Conservators Center is committed to providing education about the species in our care. Our competitive internship program offers a unique, hands-on, real-world learning experience in exotic animal husbandry and has attracted applicants from all over the world. We also welcome applications from those who simply want the experience of working with our animal husbandry department and/or looking for an interesting addition to your resume.

While our interns are valued and appreciated members of our community, the program positions are unpaid.  Instead, selected candidates gain valuable experience in exotic animal husbandry.  Our organization does not have paid-staff positions available often, however, we search our files of current (and previous) interns who have impressed us with their work ethic 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 department and are exposed to a vast number of aspects of the Center’s daily operations.  Although the focus of this program is primarily animal husbandry duties, selected candidates will also participate in other areas of the organization, such as our education and guest relations departments.

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 keepers' 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.

Summer Full-time Intensive Session

480 hours over 12 weeks

Interns will work 40 hour weeks, with 2 days off during the week.

The Center offers TWO of these sessions over the course of the summer.* Summer interns take 4 classes (subject to change) that will cover : the animal industry; training and socialization; enrichment for the animals; and a field trip to another wildlife facility in North Carolina.

Deadline for application: January 31, 2019.

Summer Session: May 14, 2019 - August 27, 2019

Applications will be reviewed in January and February, and phone interviews will be conducted.

Four applicants will be chosen for each session, and 8 alternates will be kept in reserve.

There is a $50 Intern Placement fee (refundable after completion of the internship.)

If local housing is needed, there is a $150 deposit and $75 weekly rent. It must be requested through the application and space is limited.

General Full-time Session

320 hours over 8 weeks

Interns will work 40 hour weeks, with 2 days off during the week.

These sessions are offered throughout the fall, winter, and spring. The start and end dates are flexible, but must be approved by intern program management

Interns will not have formal classes, but will be exposed to seasonal preparations of the park and husbandry practices, as well as more one-on-one time with the Keepers. There is also an Enrichment workshop during the session.

Applications will be reviewed shortly after receiving, then a phone interview will be conducted.

Fall Session:
  • Sept 1, 2018 - Dec 15, 2018
  • Application deadline: July 31, 2018

    Winter Session:
  • Dec. 20, 2018 - Feb 15, 2019
  • Application deadline: Sept 30, 2018

    Spring Session:
  • Feb 20, 2019 - May 1, 2019
  • Application Deadline: Oct 31, 2018

    Four applicants will be chosen, and 4 alternates will be kept in reserve.

    There is a $50 Intern Placement fee (refundable after completion of the internship.)

    If local housing is needed, there is a $150 deposit and $75 weekly rent. It must be requested through the application and space is limited.
  • Requirements


    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.

    * Individual exceptions may be made, so please contact us with questions.
     

    Internship Application