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Tropical Wildlife Husbandry & Rehabilitation | Heredia, Costa Rica

More photos from this internship can be found here.

There are two internship tracks at this site in Costa Rica: Short-term (10-12 weeks) and long-term (6-12 months).

Short-Term (10 – 12 week) Interns will work with staff to complete the daily feeding, cleaning and care of the 150+ animals living at the site. This wildlife includes sloths, toucans, macaws, owls, monkeys, and various other local creatures.  Short-term interns will practice and learn the following skills:

  • Working as part of a team to complete complex daily feedings
  • Observation of animals and identification of abnormal behavior
  • Understanding of what is involved in caring for wildlife

Long-Term (6 – 12 month) Wildlife Care Interns will support more complex and specialized daily care and rehabilitation activities at the site, with a focus on animals in the clinic and orphans. Interns will have an opportunity to feed (including diet monitoring/improvement), clean and medicate clinic animals as well as assisting in weekly rounds with the organization’s veterinarian.  In addition to the skills listed under short-term internships, Wildlife Care Interns will also practice and learn the following:

  • Dietary research
  • Identification of species and illnesses

Internship Start Dates:

  • Flexible start dates at the beginning of each academic term.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10 weeks-12 weeks, minimum

This organization focuses on the care, rehabilitation and study of Costa Rican toucans and other wildlife, receiving and caring for confiscated, sick and injured wildlife from government agencies. The site gives them a loving home with the goal of providing appropriate medical treatment, rehabilitation and then – when possible – returning them to their natural environments. This site is a licensed Costa Rican wildlife rescue facility and a 501(c)3 charitable organization in the United States.

The organization was established in the early 2000s as a rescue center for toucans and other birds, and quickly expanded to include owls and other wildlife. A few years later, a baby sloth arrived and was under the sole care of the organization’s founders. This baby sloth is initially what transformed the focus of this site into a wildlife rescue.

Today, the founders work as a team alongside a small staff, caring for resident rescues and new arrivals, as well as continually seeking out opportunities for expansion and betterment. They are eager to continue to grow as a rescue center to save more wildlife, and implement breeding programs for endangered birds native to Costa Rica’s rainforests.

10-12 week commitments

This organization seeks short-term interns to work with staff to complete the daily feeding, cleaning and care of the over 150 animals living at the site.

Interns start the day assisting with the morning feeding, which includes chopping fruit and vegetables, feeding the adult sloths, and accompanying a staff member to feed and provide fresh water for the animals – which can take up to a few hours. When the morning feeding is completed, the food for the rest of the day is prepped and then the intern moves on to other activities.  These activities will vary depending on the current needs of the site, and may include (but are not limited to):

  • Cleaning animal carriers
  • Cleaning the clinic
  • Working with the on-site biologist on enclosure enhancements
  • Helping with general maintenance and yard work
  • Computer work, such as entering contact information from signup sheets

Depending on the intern’s background and skills, once the on-site staff has had a chance to observe how an intern handles themselves around the animals, they may propose that the intern help with other activities, such as:

  • Cleaning bird and sloth enclosures: This requires entering the enclosures with the animals themselves
  • Helping with the care of the animals in the clinic
  • Cleaning Emma the Otter’s enclosure. She is the most playful animal on site!

6-month to 1-year commitments

This site also seeks longer-term Wildlife Care Interns to support more complex and specialized daily care and rehabilitation activities at the Ranch, with a focus on animals in the clinic and orphans. The ideal intern is an active, passionate individual who can help the organization elevate its wild animal rehabilitation program. Babies and animals in the clinic often need feeding or treatments every few hours. This person must be extremely dedicated to animal conservation and willing to put the animals they’re helping first for the duration of their stay.

Reporting to and in partnership with on-site staff, Wildlife Care Interns will have an opportunity to participate in the following activities:

  • Animal husbandry
    • Prepare diets
    • Feed and clean clinic animals
    • Medicate clinic animals
    • Feed orphans
    • Keep rehab cages clean and safe
    • Assist in exams, treatments, surgeries when needed
    • Manage clinic animal enrichment
    • Conduct weekly rounds with the veterinarian
  • Administrative clinic work
    • Open and close the clinic daily
    • Manage cleanliness and order both inside and outside of clinic
    • Evaluate and perfect the quality of rehab animals’ diets
    • Maintain thorough record keeping, and detailed observations as needed

Academic Background:

  • For 10-12 week interns, any education related to animal care is an asset.
  • For 6 month – 1 year interns, the following academic backgrounds are preferred:
    • Veterinary studies
    • Wildlife Science
    • Animal Science
    • Zoology

Skills / Experience:

  • For 10-12 week interns, any experience working around animals is an asset.
  • For 6 month – 1 year interns, students with experience in wildlife care or management are preferred.

Language Requirements:

  • English required
  • Spanish an asset

Other Requirements:

  • Interns must have the ability to work long days and at various hours.
  • Long-term interns must be extremely dedicated to animal conservation and willing to put the animals they’re helping first for the duration of their stay, as babies and animals in the clinic often need feeding or treatments every few hours.

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fee: $910 (for 70 days in Intern House)*
  • International Travel & Exit Tax: $800-950
  • Recommended Immunizations: $400**

*Reflects a $500 discount exclusive to IE3 Global interns

** Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: Housing in intern house included in Host Site Fee, above
  • Food: Meals included in Host Site Fee, above
  • Local Transportation: $45 ($11.25/wk)
  • Recreation: $75 ($18.75/wk)
  • Personal Expenses: $45 ($11.25/wk)

Budgeting Note:   Estimated costs are based on typical internship-related costs and a modest standard of living.  Each intern’s costs will vary based on lifestyle choices (eating out vs. cooking or eating provided meals, taking taxis vs. walking or taking the bus) and recreational spending (travelling on days off, expensive hobbies, etc.).

Additional Expense Information

  • The Host Site Fee includes:
  • Housing in intern house
  • Three meals per day
  • On-site orientation
  • Work-related travel, if applicable
  • On-site support
  • One volunteer t-shirt

Depending on availability, interns will stay in the intern house.  This is a basic, co-ed living arrangement with several other interns in shared rooms.  The intern house includes three meals per day, though interns should be aware that they may need to prepare the meals themselves.  The intern house is located less than ten minutes’ walk from the work site.

Final Reports:

  • Read Kaitlyn's Final Report here.
  • Read Anna's Final Report here.

Check out pictures from this internship.

Terms

Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

-See Qualifications and Requirements section