July 8, 2012

Animal Care Internships

Intern feeding tiger

NOTICE: We have one position currently open to start immediately – apply right away!

Are you a student enrolled in an animal related college curriculum and would like to gain experience in captive wild animal care?

Forest Animal Rescue is currently accepting applicants for internships at our facility. Candidates must be enrolled in a college curriculum or have completed at least 2 years of of college in degree program or have graduated with a degree in Biology, Animal Psychology, Zoology or other animal related studies.

Working with wild animals is a very gratifying an unique experience, please read the following before applying.

The safety of the animals and the humans that care for them comes first at our facility. If an wild animal bites or scratches you, it immediately places the welfare of the animal and the entire sanctuary at risk.

Our program focuses on the importance of professional management of captive wild animals and does not promote private ownership of wild animals. This program does not include physical contact with potentially dangerous animals residing at our facility through the wire or in any other way These animals are not pets. If you are looking for an internship that offers direct contact with animals you should consider  working with domestic animals. Due to insurance reasons and the welfare of the animals there are no exceptions to this policy.

Internship Objectives:Food prep

  • Gain professional hands-on animal care experience at a wild animal sanctuary and educational facility.
  • Provide support to full-time sanctuary staff.
  • Enhance productivity and efficiency of animal husbandry at the sanctuary, assisting in maintaining high standards of care.
  • Work with others in a team environment and assist in training new volunteers


  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or have a work permit in the U.S.
  • Minimum age is 18.
  • Dates are flexible and positions are filled as needed year-round.
  • Internships are non-salaried but can possibly include a stipend. Lodging and meals are provided. Often the openings in Fall, Winter or Spring will include up to a $300 per month stipend.
  • There are scholarships available to our interns who qualifyclick here to learn more
  • Summer positions are highly competitive so for a higher chance of selection, try to apply for other times of the year too.
  • Internships are for a period of 4 weeks to one year and require a minimum of 40 hours per week. Preference is given to applicants with a longer period of availability.
  • Candidates must be enrolled in a college curriculum and have completed at least two years of college in a degree program or have graduated with a degree in Biology, Animal Psychology, Zoology, or other related field.
  • Two school references (school contacts/phone numbers), NOTE: references must be submitted with the application.
  • Two letters of reference including addresses and contact numbers from two individuals not related to you who have known you for over a year submitted at time of application, preferably from volunteer work or employment.
  • Must be able to provide proof of a current negative TB test (within the past 12 months).
  • In order to participate in activities involving bats, the intern must provide proof of a rabies vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B and tetanus vaccinations are strongly recommended.
  • Must be reasonably physically fit, able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds and able to work outdoors in the Florida climate.
  • No pets allowed

Job Description:Volunteer food prep

Interns usually work full-time Mondays through Saturdays, with light duties on Sundays and half-day on Thursdays.

All interns will undergo training on safety procedures, crisis management, and the rules of the road involving the care of potentially dangerous animals.

You will be exposed to significant levels of heat and humidity. Initially, the intern will be supervised closely by a senior staff member.

This supervision may relax as confidence and experience with the routine are gained.

Interns work under direct supervision of the sanctuary staff. After orientation, students will be required to abide by and follow all rules and procedures set out by management.

Non-compliance with the sanctuary rules and procedures will result in immediate program termination. Students will learn all activities involved with the proper care and management of wild animals in captivity.

Duties include but are not limited to:Volunteers cleaning

  • Prepare primate and bat food, this includes sorting, cleaning and cutting fruits and vegetables according to strict dietary requirements.
  • Distribute food to the animals.
  • Assist in preparing omnivore and carnivore diets and food distribution.
  • Clean animal habitats and pools as instructed.
  • General cleaning and organizing activities involved with feeding and general care for the animals.
  • Students will assist with habitat construction and maintenance, learning about captive wildlife safety and caging requirements.
  • Assist in general grounds maintenance and repairs Assist in general animal enrichment activities thereby learning how to ensure a better quality of life for all animals residing at the sanctuary.
  • Veterinary students may be asked to assist in administering medications and animal transport if applicable. Assist in general administrative duties related to animal care and sanctuary procedures and other activities as appropriate.
  • Once fully trained, interns are responsible for training and supervision of volunteers with the assistance of management as needed.

Internship Accommodations:

Intern House

Intern lodging will be provided on site or nearby, in fully furnished shared living quarters which are basic but comfortable.

A wireless internet connection is available if you bring you own computer. Basic food is provided for meals and laundry facilities are provided. A telephone for local calls is provided. Long distance calls require a calling card.

Applicants must be comfortable with spending quiet evenings in their own company depending on how many volunteers and interns are on the premises at one time.

On occasion it is the opposite extreme with the lodging filled to capacity with volunteers and interns and lots of opportunities to socialize.

Meals are home-cooked and most of the cooking and cleanup duties are rotated among participants. Vegetarian or vegan staples are available upon request. Transportation to the grocery store for the purchase of personal items is available as we pick up animal supplies.

Materials, curriculum and training materials are provided.

This is an experience you will never forget!

What we do NOT provide

  • Personal care items
  • A computer
  • Funds for entertainment
  • Transportation for sightseeing

We are very rural – there is no public transportation. If you do not bring your own car, you will need to plan on spending quiet evenings at your lodging unless there is a group outing planned.

Click here to Download Internship Application

email the completed application and attachments to us mail or fax them to:

Forest Animal Rescue
Attn: Intern Department
640 NE 170th Ct.
Silver Springs, FL 34488

Fax: 352-625-7376 Please try to have your completed application and attachments submitted at least 30-45 days before your desired start date.

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39 thoughts on “Animal Care Internships

  • I was wondering if you accepted interns that have graduated from college. Please let me know if I’m eligible. Thank you.

  • Brittany, Yes, we accept applications from interns that have graduated from college. Instead of school references, just include a note that you have already graduated and include references from employers.

  • The internship includes lodging and meals but is unpaid for the first 4 week probationary period. After the probationary period, there is a stipend of $300/month.

  • Will the negative TB test be required to apply for the internship? Or are we able to take it once we know we are hired? Thanks!

  • If you don’t have a current TB test, you can just make a note on your application that it will be provided if you are accepted. You can then send it to us shortly after you are accepted.

  • Do you mind if I include a resume with the application? It details all my relative work experience which I cannot fit on the application

  • Hello! I was just wondering what months the Fall internship entails? Does it run from September to December? Thank you!

  • The internships are ongoing throughout the year and dates are flexible. Extra consideration is given to applicants that can stay longer periods of time, but it is not a requirement.

  • Feel free to include any additional information that provides information in addition to what can fit on the application.

  • Hello, I am filling out the application for internship and asks you to put down employment history, could I skip that if I have already put in the section with experience with wildlife or do I have to do that seperate?

  • Yes, this is a strictly enforced rule. The lodging is shared and there are no outside animals allowed at the sanctuary.

  • I am looking for an internship for early next year. Are any of the internships for anywhere between January and May??

  • We have internships available year-round. Just apply and fill in the date range you are available.

  • I sent in my application and email and via fax over a week ago and haven’t heard back. My name is Whitney Zuercher.

  • It takes time to review applications, we go through all completed applications at one time when we are making our final selections. We have not completed this round of reviews just yet.

  • I am a recent masters degree graduate (biology) and would love to be an intern there. I do have one question on the reference letter policy though. I would like to use some of my professors; as I worked under them, but they do not like to give the students the letters at all. Is it possible for me to apply without the reference letters and for them to send them to you directly?

  • Yes – reference letters can be sent to us directly. That is a common practice. Just know that your application cannot be considered until they are in your file, so you will want to follow us to be sure they have been received.

  • I sent an application in about a week ago I was wondering if there is an estimated time when I should here back?

  • We are currently reviewing applications for our open position. We accept applications year-round and review them based upon various periods of availability of applicants compared to openings we have. It varies widely.

  • What are the application deadlines for each season? Thank you! I’m so glad I found this opportunity!

  • The dates are extremely flexible and we hire interns throughout the year. You should submit is as soon as possible and indicate the longest period you are available. When we have an opening, we review the applications with availability during the time of our opening.

  • Do you receive students from other countries?
    I am from Colombia, and i have to make my internship to graduate from biology.
    I would like to work with you but i dont know if you accept students like me.

  • I was looking into applying for this for the summer semester and was wondering if this would count towards my internships credit that is required to graduate. Also if a A.A.S degree in zoo keeping technology would be sufficient to acquire an internship position.

  • Our internships normally count toward internship credits but you would need to check the specific requirements of your school and send us a copy to verify before we could guarantee anything. Yes, we would be happy to consider your application.

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