Exotic Animal Care Internship Program

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This (unpaid) exotic animal care internship program offers an intensively immersive opportunity to learn about, and provide daily care to over 45 species of non-domestic animals including primates, reptiles, large and small carnivores, large mammals, birds, and more. Training will begin one-on-one with experienced animal caregivers and will progress at a pace that is suitable for each individual in the program.

Participants will work first with parrots, grazing animals, and small reptiles. Progression to the care of small primates and small carnivores, and ultimately assisting with the care of tigers, leopards, black bears, and other large mammals will be entirely dependent on work performance and the ability to adhere to established routines, safety protocols, and time management. Assessments will be made daily, even hourly, to help facilitate swift movement through the training process.

This program will provide extensive opportunities to observe animal behaviors, to use a variety of operant training methods, and to learn the value of problem-solving on a daily basis. Extreme emphasis will be placed on safety at all times, as well as learning and understanding well-established, and highly effective, daily husbandry routines. This program will not provide or allow free contact with potentially dangerous animals.

A furnished apartment may be available at little or not cost based on 'greatest need' applicant(s). Additional opportunities for local short-term rentals available.


Assignments will routinely include diet preparation, cleaning, animal enrichment, occasional delivery of medications, general housekeeping and record-keeping. Participants will be challenged to advance to the highest level of responsibility – a goal that is attainable if performance at each stage of training is exceptional! Those who perform at the “top” will enjoy the added opportunity to participate in animal rescue operations, animal transports, veterinary procedures, and more.

Black Pine’s daily routines begin at 8:00 a.m. daily and most work days are eight to 10 hours long. Assignments may include general husbandry, behavioral observation, enrichment, or special projects. All ‘invasive’ veterinary procedures, and those required by law, will be supervised by a licensed veterinarian and will most likely occur on site. Some transports off site may be necessary, but are unpredictable.

As the weeks progress, interns will also participate in the process of training others, which may include volunteers, other student interns, high school student job shadows, and others. Opportunities to educate the public will also be available.


• At least 18 years old with valid driver’s license and reliable transportation
• Must be enrolled in, or have completed a minimum of one year of college-level studies
• Minimum commitment of 400 total hours of service, preferably full-time (10 weeks or more)
• Available to work weekdays and willing to work some weekends and holidays
• Able and willing to read and follow verbal and written work instructions and work independently
• Proof of negative tuberculosis (TB) skin test result within the past 10 months; proof of tetanus shot; free of other communicable diseases or illnesses
• Adherence to all facility policies and given instructions
• Have some previous primary caregiver experience for one or more captive species
• Physically fit; able to lift up to 30 pounds, stand/walk for extended periods of time
• Able and willing to assist with administrative, customer relations, and other non-husbandry tasks
• Excellent work ethic; able to work well independently or as part of a team
• Good verbal communication skills
• Good organizational and problem-solving skills

How To Apply

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