Wildlife Rehab Internship - Florida

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Applications are currently being accepted for candidates 18 years or older interested in a rehabilitation internship at a wildlife refuge in the Florida panhandle. The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit organization, which means the internship positions are unpaid. Interns are also required to provide their own housing for the duration of the internship and have a reliable mode of transportation. The internship duration is 5 days (minimum 40 hours) per week for a minimum of 15 weeks (can be longer if desired) and interns will be scheduled to meet the needs of the refuge. The facility is open 7 days a week from 8am-4pm; staff and interns work until all tasks are finished for the day, which can lead to extended hours during busy seasons.

Our internship program is designed to provide rehabilitation training that focuses on native Florida wildlife. With this training, the intern will be able to participate in actual patient care and practice hands-on wildlife rehabilitation skills. Upon successful completion of the internship, the intern will receive a certificate and documentation of the hours of service performed. The experience gained from the immersion into the world of wildlife rehabilitation and animal husbandry is extremely beneficial to those who are contemplating careers in the fields of veterinary medicine, wildlife management, wildlife rehabilitation, biology, or zoology.

Internship Session Dates:
Spring (February to May) – application deadline November 15th
Summer (May to August) – application deadline March 30th
Fall (August to November) – application deadline July 15th
*Individual internship start and end dates can be flexible to accommodate students and their academic calendars.*

Learning opportunities:
Hands-on wildlife experience through proper handling, feeding, and rehabilitation procedures.
Neonatal care with a multitude of avian and mammalian species.
Animal husbandry experience with a variety of wildlife species for permanent residents as well as rehabilitation patients. This includes proper cleaning procedures and understanding the importance of appropriate enrichment for captive animals.
Understanding nutritional requirements for native Florida species based on the time of year (seasonal diets).
Exposure to the operations of a non-profit organization and a wildlife rehabilitation center.
Knowledge of humane coexistence with wildlife, natural animal behaviors, and reuniting babies with parents.
Performing initial exams and assessments of injured native wildlife such as raptors, songbirds, shorebirds, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, opossums, deer, and turtles/tortoises.
Learning to calculate medicine dosages, administer fluids, give injections, bandage techniques, etc.
Observe/assist with marine mammal and sea turtle strandings/necropsies, as needed (not guaranteed).

Intern responsibilities:
Complete daily exhibit/cage cleaning.
Prepare diets, feed animals, and record appetite.
Handle and restrain various wildlife species.
After hours care for avian and mammalian neonates.
Assist in rescuing injured and orphaned wildlife; assist in releasing animals when ready.
Provide enrichment and training sessions to resident animals.
Administer medications and treatments to wildlife patients.
Answer the wildlife hotline for animals in distress and to answer the public’s inquiries.
Monitor animal areas and provide exemplary guest service to visitors.
Convey potential problems to staff members.
Train new volunteers on various animal care tasks.
Assist with general housekeeping and other duties as assigned.

Must be pursuing a relevant degree or have a strong passion to work in this field.
Ability to control the urge to play with/pet the wildlife.
Ability to lift, push, or pull 30 pounds.
Ability to stand, walk, kneel, bend, etc. for extended periods of time.
Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions, especially high heat.
Exposure to mosquitoes and other small insects is likely.
Ability to cope with the preparation of meat-based diets for animals in our care.
Ability to do basic math calculations.
Ability to understand basic medical terminology.
Ability to understand decision-making concerning quality of life issues and euthanasia for animal patients.
Once trained, must be able to work with minimal supervision, yet must recognize limitations in knowledge and abilities and ask for help when needed.
Ability to work independently for long periods of time, as well as work in a professional manner within a team atmosphere with other interns/volunteers/staff.

Please note: ECWR does not provide transportation, housing, or a stipend for the internship. These costs can be significant out-of-pocket expenses, so please give this due consideration before applying.

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to:
Michelle Pettis, Intern Coordinator - michelle@emeraldcoastwildliferefuge.org

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