Animal Husbandry Internship

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Big Cat Rescue is home to more than 100 big cats and is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. During the course of the internship, the intern will gain valuable knowledge and working experience (hands off) with small cats including; Siberian lynx, bobcat, serval, caracal, ocelot, jungle cat, leopard cat, geoffroy cat, hybrids and other small animals. While Big Cat Rescue is home to lions, tigers, leopards, cougars and sand cats, these animals are not cared for by interns, although there are opportunities to observe these cats. (Cougars care opportunities to care for this species are available to Level II Interns, Leopard & Tiger care opportunities are available to Level III Interns). The intern program consists of up to 14 interns.

Animal Husbandry Internships are 12-week terms and are full-time non-paid positions. Interns work a 5-6 day workweek of 50+ hours. Interns are required to work weekends and holidays, as these are the busiest times at the sanctuary. 1-2 days off per week are assigned by the Operations Manager and are based on the needs of the sanctuary.

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There are three levels of internship available within the animal husbandry department. Level I internships are available to a broad range of applicants and designed to provide a base line of learning. This level is introductory and is geared towards individuals with little to no exotic animal experience. All interns begin the program as Level I.

Level I Internship Duties: Responsibilities include, but are not limited to; enclosure cleaning, diet preparation, feeding, enrichment, and operant conditioning for the following species: Siberian and Canada lynx, bobcat, serval, caracal, ocelot, jungle cat, leopard cat, geoffroy cat, hybrids and other small animals. Live prey and domestic cat care. Grounds maintenance including; enclosure renovations, landscaping, general clean up, building and vehicle maintenance. Administrative duties including; assisting with and guiding tours, gift shop tasks, summer camp, and data entry. Training new interns and volunteers.

Accommodations: Big Cat Rescue provides free intern housing for up to 15 interns. All interns have their own private bedrooms, access to local phone lines, Internet service, access to a shared computer and shared kitchen and T.V. areas. Intern housings are smoke, alcohol, and drug free environments. Smoking areas are provided outside of the housings. Staff may reside in Intern Housings. Housings accommodate up to four people. Housings are for staff and interns only; guests are not permitted on the property or within the housings. Some housings may have domestic cats residing inside that are being fostered by the staff or interns for adoption. Interns are permitted to live off-site in their own accommodations at their own expense. All interns are responsible for the cost of their own food, transportation, and log distance phone calls.

No Contact: Big Cat Rescue is a strict no contact facility. While interns work among the cats and other animals at the sanctuary there is no physical contact with any animal at any time.

Vet Care: Our animals are in natural habitats, with limited human contact, thus our routine veterinary care consists of monthly parasite preventatives and vaccinations. Interns that are Certified in Small Cat Feeding may have the opportunity to assist with the preparation of diets containing monthly and quarterly de-wormer. Flea prevention treatments, vaccinations, and all other non-routine veterinary care procedures are performed by the veterinarian and the staff. Opportunities to observe non-routine veterinary procedures are infrequent are not guaranteed. Observation opportunities are decided on a case by case basis and decisions are based on the following criteria; risk and safety of humans and animals, space available at the site of the procedure, intern’s behavior and work ethic, and the personality of the animal. Interns pursuing a career in the veterinary field may receive priority but this is not guaranteed.


Must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Big Cat Rescue is an English speaking facility. Interns must be fluent in the English language with spoken and written comprehension. Must possess vision and hearing at adequate levels. Must give complete disclosure of any prescription drugs and physical limitations. Interns must be able to financially support themselves for the duration of the internship. Interns are responsible for the cost of their own food, transportation, and long distance phone calls. Due to the demands of the internship position, part-time jobs or night classes are not permitted for the duration of the internship. The work is physical and primarily performed outdoors in all types of weather. Good health and endurance are required. Interns must be able to lift and carry 50 pounds and walk or stand for extended periods of time. Interns must obtain a tetanus vaccination, at their own expense, that will be good for the duration of the internship, prior to participating in the internship program and must submit proof of vaccination. A $50 fee is required to be paid upon confirmation of the interview session. This non-refundable fee is for the cost of a criminal background check. A deposit of $150 must be submitted upon acceptance into the program and another deposit of $150 must be submitted on the first day of the internship. These deposits hold the internship slot and insure against failure to complete the internship or damages to the housings. Upon successful completion of the program and inspection of housings the intern will receive both deposits back. Deposits are collected in the form of cred it card number or check.

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