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South Sound Critter Care
28727 216th Avenue S.E.
DescriptionThis is an opportunity to learn how to rear birds and mammals successfully from hatch or birth to release. For someone with an interest in wild animals this internship will show you a window into wildlife that even the best biology internships can’t touch. It is hard to actually raise tiny wildlife. We receive a range of birds and mammals from the public every year. Last year we had hundreds of cottontails and squirrels with a smattering of fawns, raccoons, weasels, minks and river otters. Additionally, we received just over 100 species of birds and a smattering of reptiles. Every year is different. This is the kind of hands-on learning for which there is not classroom substitute. However, basic knowledge of ornithology and mammology provides the basis from which this position grows.
We are looking for the people who will matriculate onward to decide public policy or regulate wildlife conservation because we feel it is critical for those people, early in their careers, to have this kind of contact with the animals that for which they will someday regulate, study professionally or preserve.
Responsibilities• Extensive husbandry tasks: receive animals in all age classes, perform intake exams, maintain housing, do bottle or hand feeding and stimulate neonatal mammals for defecation when very young, prepare, offer food items, and give medications as needed for a variety of patients. Interns learn to gavage feed (feed via tube) animals, give medications by various routes, do basic physical therapy, evaluate waterproofing and coat/feather condition.
• Track the progress of the patients by doing daily weights and other physical parameters. Writing records and putting up individual orders for animals are a critical part of this job. Move animals as they grow into adolescence into outside caging and allow them to develop life skills required for life after release.
• Work with the public and public agencies to get animals returned to areas where they were acquired.
• Raising any neonatal animal requires a lot of patience.
• Attention to detail and recording those details is essential in this field, if you don’t have this trait, don’t apply. We are looking for methodical people for a reason. They make us successful and that means more baby animals are released to reproduce and live life in the wild.
• We have a large scale foster mammal program for squirrels. Interns interface with volunteers who bring foster animals in for weights, check-ups and for matriculation into outside caging. Getting along with volunteers, having excellent communication skills are required.
• Wild animals eat all manner of things and we do raise some of them as food or recycle some patients who die in rehabilitation. Interns may care for quail or mice that are euthanized and used as food, or are used as live food (prey). Taking this job requires the ability to work with both predator and prey species.
• Interns work in an intensive, pressure-filled but learning rich environment. Stress is balanced by joy as you learn things about wildlife that no book will teach you.
• We have no animal maid service, interns ensure animals are clean. This takes focus. Cleanliness keeps disease at bay.
• We have volunteers who help the interns care for the animals. Interns make sure the volunteers are adhering to established protocols for care and feeding. So, interns actually provide supervision as they themselves learn this job. Good for the resume.
• Time management is critical if you want to have a full lunch hour and go home for dinner in a timely manner. Guidance is provided. This is a learning opportunity.
• Some very young mammals may need to go home with interns for late night feedings when they are very young. They do grow up and come back into the center when a little older.
RequirementsTerms of Internship:
• A three-month commitment is required.
• Flexible scheduling with other interns at the center allows for days off or illness.
• We make monthly schedules so you become a pillar of our efforts. Interns are not “extra help” in the summer.
• Interns need to be able to provide transportation to get to our site. Carpooling is common among our interns.
• Minimum age is 18 and generally a little older is better.
• Winter shifts tend to run from 9am to 6pm. Summer shifts in the late spring and summer generally start at 7 am last until 9 pm. Interns can be scheduled for either an early shift or for a later shift. We are open seven days a week 365 days a year so you need to be able to work some weekends and holidays. You will be tired but learn so much you will be amazed.
• We speak mainly English so interns have to do that as well. Bilingual skills welcome. We have a growing Spanish and Russian speaking population in WA State.
• There is housing available for up to 4 interns at a time that costs about $400/month.