July 8, 2012

Animal Care Internships

Forest Animal Rescue is currently accepting applications for internships at our facility – apply now!

Forest Animal Rescue (FAR) is a world-renowned animal sanctuary that is home to over 100 exotic (and a few domestic) animals. The animals in our care have been rescued from situations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and confiscation. The sanctuary is situated on 80 acres of native land in the Ocala National Forest.  FAR provides a lifetime home for these animals giving them the care they deserve and allowing them to roam in large, natural habitats in a secluded, peaceful sanctuary setting.

We seek individuals who are mature and have the ability to handle physically and emotionally stressful situations, a demanding workload, long hours, and work independently or as a team. Applicants should possess a strong personal work ethic and a high level of integrity. This internship is a wonderful opportunity for those seeking a career in the animal field. It is always stated to interns that how much you gain from this opportunity depends on how much you are willing to put into the experience.  Interns have the ability to learn as much as they want about husbandry, behavior, operant conditioning, and enrichment.

Interns have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on animal care experience, knowledge about a variety of species, and exposure to the operations of a true sanctuary. Interns help in all aspects of husbandry including preparing diets, feeding and medicating animals, cleaning habitats, making and providing enrichment for the animals, and other housekeeping tasks. During the internship, interns will participate in various projects that will expand their knowledge of animal welfare. Interns will also complete a project of their choosing that will help the animals and staff of FAR while leaving a lasting mark at the sanctuary.

The Animal Care Interns help care for a variety of species and will work alongside professional caretakers to learning about the various species.

What to expect:

  • Lodging and basic groceries are provided ($700/month value)
  • Interns also earn a $300 per month stipend
  • There are scholarships available to our interns who qualify– click 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 as well.
  • Internships are for a period of 3 months to one year. Preference is given to applicants with a longer period of availability.
  • Interns usually work full-time Mondays through Saturdays, with light duties on Sundays and half-day on Thursdays, giving interns the afternoons off.
  • Materials, curriculum, and training materials are provided. You will be trained thoroughly before doing any chores on your own. There are 3 training levels in which you must demonstrate your understanding of the cleaning, safety, and protocols before moving onto the next level. Training usually takes 2-4 weeks depending on your abilities.
  • You will always be closely supervised but will gain trust and more independence as you learn.
  • Materials and curriculum will be provided.
  • Non-compliance with the sanctuary rules and procedures will result in immediate termination from the program.

Working with wild animals is a very gratifying and 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  – WE ARE A HANDS OFF SANCTUARY. If a wild animal bites or scratches you, it immediately places the welfare of the animal and the entire sanctuary at risk. We believe in the respect of wild animals and will not endanger our workers or our animals so there is a strict no-touching rule for the wild animals.

If you would like physical hands-on experience, you should try working with domestic species. However, we do have a number of domestic species (tortoises, horses, and domestic cats) that will require hands-on care at the sanctuary.


  • At a minimum, applicants must be in their second year of college in an animal-related science (zoology, conservation, animal behavior, etc)
  • 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 the 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) or a TB vaccine.
  • All participants must be two weeks past their final vaccine against COVID-19 (“fully vaccinated”)
  • In order to participate in activities involving bats, the intern must provide proof of 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.

Internship Accommodations:

Intern House

  • Housing and groceries will be provided for you; you will have to cook and clean for yourself during your stay.
  • Vegetarian or vegan staples are available upon request. Shopping lists must be given at the start of each week. Transportation to the grocery store for the purchase of personal items is occasionally available.
  • No pets allowed
  • Males and female interns stay in separate housing. The houses are basic and furnished. There may be multiple interns at a time which will require sharing rooms and bathrooms. During the off-season, you might have a house to yourself.
  • Interns must entertain themselves and are responsible for their own transportation. Silver Springs has multiple freshwater springs and fun hiking trails. Ocala is not too far away to enjoy a nice restaurant, shopping, or movies. [potentially limited availability due to COVID-19]
  • You will be located in the Ocala National Forest on a soft sand road.
  • 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.
  • A wireless internet connection is available if you bring your own computer. Basic food is provided for meals and laundry facilities are provided.
  • A telephone for domestic calls is provided. International 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.

What we do NOT provide:

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

PLEASE NOTE: 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.

This is an experience you will never forget, so apply now! Applications are accepted year-round.

Click here to download the Internship Application

email the completed application and attachments to us, or you may 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 30-45 days before your desired start date.

147 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.

  • If we are to apply and would like to send in our application via email, who would we send it to?

  • You an mail it to the Intern Department at the sanctuary – 640 NE 170th Ct., Silver Springs, FL 34488

  • If we are flying in from out of state is there an easy way for us to get to and from the airport? Also if we are applying for an extended period that includes the holidays would we be able to have time to leave for Christmas?

  • hi! I was wondering if an international student (non-US citizen) with work authorization, such as OPT is able to apply for this internship?

  • There is no public transportation in our area, but you can hire a shuttle for about $200 (or take shuttle to the Greyhound bus station in Ocala and then a bus to the airport)

  • I’m not familiar with the OPT work authorization, but if an animal husbandry position would allow you to accept a ‘paid’ position in the U.S. then it will qualify. However, we have tried other forms of work permits and since this is not a highly technical/skilled field that cannot be filled by a US citizen, they were declined. You would need to research that before you could qualify.

  • Hello! I apply for the internship like 3 weeks ago. I want to know when the applicants will receive a response? Thank you

  • 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. On average, you will hear from us 30-60 days before the position is scheduled to start.

  • I was wondering if I would be considered if I am not currently in school?
    I am almost complete with an associates, just in general studies. However, I just wanted to see if I would be able to get into the field before completing a degree, to double check it is something that I would be interested in pursuing as a career.

  • You must have completed at least one year of biology or an animal related study. The goal is to have interns with some education in place on the basics so we aren’t starting from 101

  • Do our letters of reference get sent to the same email as our applications are sent to?

  • Regarding the reference requirements:
    Do the two letters of reference from previous employers or supervisors need to be from an animal care related work position?
    Do the two references of staff members at our school need to come with letters of reference as well?

  • The reference letters should be from a place of employment if at all possible. It is not required that the employment be animal related. The school references are just contact information so that we can check the reference.

  • Hi there!

    This internship seems like an amazing opportunity to get some real hands-on experience! Quick question: is housing available in the summer, or is it strictly provided to interns working in the fall, winter and spring?

  • I am a senior majoring in psychology (BS) planning on going into wildlife rehabilitation. I have years of experience with domestic animals and have taken the few animal courses that were available to me, including animal industries (agriculture-related) and equine science. Am I qualified to apply?

  • Housing and groceries for meals are benefits for all of our interns, regardless of the time of year.

  • Yes there are. We are reviewing them this week, so if you get your application in quickly you can make into this cycle.

  • When will the summer applications close? Also, for the winter application would I be able to stay for a month and work with the animals?

  • We have filled our summer positions through the beginning of August. A month is our minimum time to be qualified to apply, however, we prefer to select applicants that will be with for as long as possible.

  • When does your Fall positions start? Also, I am a recent college graduate with a major in Cognitive Neuroscience, which basically is a double major in Biology and Psychology. I am hoping to get experience working with wildlife and eventually become a zoologist. Would I be qualified to apply for this internship?

  • Hi, I have a couple questions: 1) I was wondering if any fall positions were still open? 2) do you believe there to be room in an interns schedule to have a part-time job while being committed to the hours needed for the internship? and 3) if an intern is 100% committed to possibly doing a year long internship with you, do you allow for possible “holiday” breaks for those who come from out of state?

  • 1) Yes, we still have fall positions open. 2) It is extremely doubtful that there is time for a part-time job during the internship because there is work to do 7 days a week and the average workweek is at least 40 hours. 3) If someone commits to a year-long internship we will allow scheduling of breaks to see family, etc.

  • We observe and medicate animals daily as needed. A veterinarian does procedures as needed (new arrivals, illness/injury), and the animals receive annual checkups.

  • We have internship positions open as soon as immediately and on a rolling basis throughout the year. Although we do not pay stipends to our new interns during the summer, anyone qualified to receive a stipend (minimum of 4 weeks of training under their belt) may begin receiving the $300 monthly stipend on the first weekly pay date in September.

  • Hi, I’m looking for a full-time paid keeper position. I’ve interned at a few sanctuaries, so I do have experience working with big cats. Is that case-by-case requiring that someone do an internship first, or do you post job openings when you’re hiring?

  • Thank you for your inquiry. We only hire from within our pool of successful interns. You are welcome to apply for an internship.

  • Hello, I was just curious if we have to pay anything to have the chance to intern there and live in the housing provided.

  • The housing and meals are provided as a benefit to our interns. However, if you apply for a non-competitive residential volunteer position to work alongside the interns, there is a charge. You can learn more about al of our programs here on our website under the “join us” link.

  • I am currently Studying Zoology in Queens Univeristy in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I was wondering you expected international applications?
    Many Thanks
    Zoe Hanna

  • We can’t hire international interns, but we do have a residential volunteer program that you may be interested in. Just visit our website and click on the “Join Us” link for more information and an application with pricing on the Residential Volunteer program.

  • Hello, I am wondering how far in advance of my intended start date as an intern should I submit my application?

  • We select interns on an ongoing basis. I would suggest that you apply a few months before the dates that you are available so that there is sufficient time to be considered.

  • I was wondering if a non college student (a graduated High Schooler) can apply to this? I don’t have any plans on going to college but I want to find a year long program to help and learn more about animals and animal care before fully investing time and money into college. I’d also like to ask is how much is the overall cost in this? Do we pay for the plane fee to get to your sanctuary? Anything else we have to pay for other than what you’ve stated?

  • YOu are not required to stay in our intern lodging, but it is a free benefit for you if you choose. However, it is not technically ‘on property’ – it is very near the sanctuary.

  • Hello, I am an international student that recently graduated from Lafayette College, PA. Is it possible for me to apply for an internship?

    Thank you.


  • Unfortunately, if you are not legally allowed to work in the US, you cannot be an intern. However, you are welcome to apply for our ‘Full-time residential volunteer’ program, where you pay in advance for your lodging and meals and work alongside the interns.

  • We accept internship applications on a rolling basis, year-round. There are no specific dates set. On the application, just give us the dates you are available and we will consider you for opening(s) during that timeframe. Decisions are made 30-45 days before the start date.

  • I am a graduate this year from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and from Egypt, can I apply for internship?
    When can I apply for 2021?

  • In order to be an intern with us, you must legally be allowed to work in the United States. However, if you do not meet that requirement, we would love to have you apply to be a full-time residential volunteer. For that program, you pay in advance for your lodging and meals, so you are not being ‘paid’ by us and can stay on a tourist visa.

  • Hello! I have a letter of reference from a professor at my college. Can he be used as one of the letters of reference and one of the references from a staff member from my school??

  • Hello, I’m a recent graduate looking at internships and jobs. Your program caught my attention. Does the time spent as an intern determine the likelihood of getting a job? For example, a person working as an intern for 3 months versus one who works for a year? Also, is there space for personal vehicles on the property?

  • The length of an internship is not cast in stone to determine eligibility for employment, but a longer internship will increase your chances. The longer you are able to stay as an intern, the more you have the ability to be fully trained and demonstrate your capabilities. The more capable you are, the higher your chances of a permanent job. We are actively looking to hire a successful intern to a permanent position, and we will select that person based on their capabilities.

    We encourage people to bring their own vehicle since there is no pubic transportation in our area.

  • Hello! Do you want the references emailed directly from the references themselves, or, can they be sent to us to submit everything at once with the application?

  • Hello! I am a seasonal National Park Service employee looking to increase my knowledge on husbandry, enrichment and animal behavior. I noticed on the internship application the request for two school references. I graduated a few years back. Would you still prefer this information or would another other sort of reference be an acceptable replacement? Thanks for your time!

  • Would you like us to have the reference letter address someone specific or have it be “Forest Animal Rescue Intern Department” as stated on the mailing address?

  • We do telephone interviews for the final round of selections and a transcript will help your application.

  • Hello, I am planning on submiting my application soon and just have a couple questions. Are there still openings for the spring? How long does the application process typically take, more specifically, when will acceptance decisions be made? Lastly, one of my references is curious to which address they should provide, is home address or office address preferred?

  • 1) Yes, we still have openings. 2) We fill positions on an ongoing basis. Typically decisions are made 1-2 months before y our first date of availability. However, if we still have an opening the time frame can be shorter. 3) References should use the address that best represents how you know them.

  • I have sent in my application form,
    I really hope you can consider international applicants.
    Due to my international background I have not included reference letters, but can easily obtain some for you upon request. I would just rather (if its ok) to ask my old employers for them only if I am already considered for the position 😀

  • You must be a US citizen or allowed to work in the USA to be an intern with us. You may be interested in our full-time residential volunteer program, where you pay in advance for your lodging and meals and then you work and learn alongside our interns.

  • You must be a US citizen or allowed to work in the USA to be an intern with us. You may be interested in our full-time residential volunteer program, where you pay in advance for your lodging and meals and then you work and learn alongside our interns.

  • If housing is not needed by an employee, can the $700 food/housing value be compensated in another way?

  • Unfortunately no – those are expenses that we mostly incur whether or not you use them. There is no additional budget for other intern compensation.

  • Do you typically send an email in reply to let the applicant know you received the application? Sent in a few weeks ago and I’m worried it may not have arrived in your inbox at all, but I don’t want to send it again unless I know for sure.

  • We don’t automatically reply to every applicant when the applications come in, since that is pretty much nonstop. However, when we are reviewing the applications to fill a position, we take time to email anyone who is missing information and reconfirm availability and details with the applications with complete files.

  • Hello!

    I am in my second year as a biology major and I am interested in applying for your internship program. I was looking over the requirements and I believe I could fulfill them all except for the lifting of 50 pounds as I am small and petite. Could this quite easily result in me not being accepted to the program?

    I thank you for your time.

  • If you are otherwise healthy, being small and petite wouldn’t normally stop you from lifting a 50lb feed bag. However, if you are unable to do this, you will not be able to perform the job description. It is part of the daily duties to be able to lift and move feed bags, among other lifting and carrying duties while caring for the animals

  • I am from pakistan and just completed my bachelors in zoology and have experience lf field work and wildlife. I can lift weight and always seek gor adventures and learning just asking if u can provide me sponsorship letter or something its okay i can travel on my own expense but i need your letter of invitation to apply for visa is that possible so only than i will apply thanks ill be waiting for your kind response

  • Hi! If I’m going into my second year of college after the summer in which I would hope to intern, am I eligible to apply? Or is it only for people who have completed their second year?

  • I’m interested in applying, one of my go to references is from my internship this previous summer so they have not know me for over a year yet. Could I include them as a 3rd reference in addition to the 2 that have known me for over a year?

  • For internships what are the hours/schedule usually like? ex: do we work 9 AM to 5 PM Monday- Friday? or do they very?

  • Hello my name is Brittany Peek and I am currently in my last semester of my Veterinary Technician program, I was wondering if this internship includes medical care and treatment? Please let me know any information available, thank you.

  • Hello, are you accepting applications for 2021? What time frame in the year do interns usually work? I am hoping to intern during the summer or fall. Is it too early to submit an application to be considered for that time frame? How long after I submit an application will I know if I am accepted or not. Thank you so much for your time and for answering all my questions, I truly appreciate it.

  • We accept applications year-round on a rolling basis. There are no set start and end dates, we fill positions as they become available. Typically we make decisions a month or so before the scheduled start date unless we have more notice to work with on an opening. Summer is the most competitive time to apply, that is when the bulk of our applicants submit their materials. For a higher chance of selection, shoot for a start date other than the beginning of summer.

  • This internship includes all of the veterinary treatment we perform as needed. However, there is much more involved in complete husbandry of animals that are living their lives with us and this position trains in all aspects of that husbandry.

  • The workweek is 40+ hours a week. A normal schedule provides for 1/2 day off during the week and limited responsibilities on Sundays.

  • Yes, you can provide as many references as you like. We are especially interested in your past internships or work experience.

  • If you are enrolled for your second year you are welcome to apply – although your application may not be as strong as if you had more college behind you. Other work or volunteer experience could make up for it.

  • Is there any options for housing for spouses? If we decided to provide our own housing could we be credited an amount to help pay for that? We are not Florida residents.

  • Can I submit more than one time frame for one application? For example, summer and fall start dates.

  • Yes, just outline the time)s) you are available on your application and we will use that in considering it.

  • We’re sorry, but only interns and paying “residential volunteers” can stay in our housing. We have one house for men and another for women.

  • Hi! I was curious if it would be okay to have my school staff member references also be my letters of recommendation? Also, are applications for this summer still being considered?

  • We request different sources of references intentionally. They should be separate. We are always accepting applications, and our summer positions have not all been filled yet.

  • Hello! I have a few questions.

    1. Does a vocational college count?

    2. Do interns need to stay in the provided housing, or can we just commute if we live close enough? I’m about 13 minutes away from the facility.

    3. If we do have to stay in the housing, are trained ESAs allowed?

  • Thank you for your inquiry.
    1) Vocational college can count.
    2) Our lodging is not a requirement, just an added benefit.
    3) Sorry, no emotional support animals are allowed in the lodging for a variety of reasons – they are not considered service animals.

  • Hi! I have a question about one your requirements. It says you must be in your second year of college. Does this mean I can apply for an internship for the summer between freshman and sophomore years or do I have to wait until after sophomore year?
    Thank you

  • You must be enrolled in your second year. We basically need to see a commitment that you are planning to continue your education on that path. I hope this helps.

  • Good afternoon! I sent in an application to you guys a few weeks ago and I have not heard anything back. Are you all still accepting applications?

  • Yes we are still accepting applications. We are currently filling two immediate openings. If you applied for a later date, you may not hear anything until we are reviewing applications for the period of time you are seeking. Typically we make out selections a month or two before the planned start date.

  • If I submit an application now to do an internship later in the year (say, September 2022-April 2023), would there be any possibility of me hearing back from you guys by the end of March potentially? Thanks a ton.

  • We typically make our intern selections 2 months before the projected start date. We wouldn’t have enough other applicants on file to make a decision that early.

  • Good Afternoon, is this internship open to international students? I am currently in my second year studying Animal Science BSc (Hons) at The University of Nottingham, UK and am planning on doing year in industry for my next academic year.
    Thank you for your help

  • We do not require our interns to utilize our lodging. However, there is no additional
    cash compensation if you choose to pass on that benefit.

  • This internship is only available to individuals who are already allowed to legally work in the USA. If you are not in that category, you may want to consider our residential volunteer program. Since you pay for your own lodging and meals, you can come and stay with us on a tourist visa. The educational facet of the program can be identical if you are motivated to learn everything you can.

  • Hi there, I am very interested in this program, but I am married and have pets. What is the closest area to find housing other housing accommodations, since the provided housing will not work?

  • Thank you for your inquiry – We are located in a very rural area, but there may be private rental properties available if you search various listings online. We really don’t have a place to recommend.

  • Hi! I am a senior (physically strong)and want to work with releasable/ non-releasable wildlife. It seems that all internships are for young people. Why is that? We have no other obligations, but to the animals. I live in FL and see what is happening to our wildlife due to so much building. I want to do my part to make their lives better. Am I too old?

  • There is absolutely no age limit for our internships as long as you are physically capable of doing the work and meet the educational requirements, you are welcome to apply. If you are not looking for a full-time position and you are local, you can also apply to be a part-time local volunteer. That is not competitive and there are no prerequisites. We hope to start scheduling volunteer shifts again in the near future (COVID permitting)

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