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Asia Trail Enrichment Internship

This internship has closed. To see open and upcoming opportunities, visit the internships page.

The Smithsonian's National Zoo provides the opportunity for interns to gain experience in enrichment and other husbandry-related tasks on Asia Trail. The Intern must target species-specific behaviors for multiple species of carnivores. Interns will assist staff in developing new enrichment items and protocols, evaluating and modifying enrichment, and shadowing daily keeper duties.

Learning Objectives: 

This is an unpaid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support the Department of Animal Programs - Asia Trail. Through this internship, interns will

  • Learn AZA processes of design, construction, implementation and evaluation for environmental enrichment
  • Learn to research, create, and get approval for new enrichment for the animals on Asia Trail. All enrichment must fall within established safety guidelines for each species. Behavioral observations will be essential in order to evaluate the success of all enrichment and to modify enrichment if necessary.
  • Learn basic animal husbandry, including cleaning exhibits and preparing food alongside animal care staff.
  • Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations and polices.
  • Support will be given to any intern who wishes to pursue publications of their project results at the end of their internship.

Intern must be at least a junior in college and currently pursuing or have a Bachelor’s degree in a related field. Intern must have experience working around animals in a zoo or similar setting. Strong communication skills and the ability to engage within a team environment with staff, other interns and volunteers are required. Intern should enjoy working outdoors in all weather conditions and must be in good physical condition – able to stand for long periods of time, stoop, climb and lift at least 50 pounds. Intern will be subject to fingerprinting and must pass a background check. Intern must also have a current negative TB test.

This is an unpaid internship. College credit is offered if desired; intern is responsible for obtaining necessary approvals from their university. Intern will be responsible for all transportation costs and personal health insurance.
Washington DC
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo and the Smithsonian Institution do not provide free parking to interns.
Term of appointment: 

A three-and-a-half month internship is available for the fall from September to December (exact start and end dates are flexible). The internship is three days a week. Interns must be able to work 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Application deadline(s): 
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply go to: https://solaa.si.edu/solaa/SOLAAHome.html

Select "New to SOLAA? Create Account Here" complete the information to create an account.

Information that will be requested (in SOLAA) includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • Professional resume or CV
  • A one-page statement of your interest in pursuing this position. The statement should mention relevant experience, career goals, your reasons for wanting this internship and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your statement is very important during application evaluations.
  • College or university and current academic status
  • Degrees held or expected
  • Two letters of reference (One must be from a current or a former supervisor)
  • Schedule of availability

Once you create your account and provide the information above, you will see a screen where you select the type of appointment you are interested in. You will select:

  • Type of appointment: “Internship”
  • Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  • Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  • Project: “Rock Creek – Asia Trail."

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Please be sure all required documents, including references, are included before you submit your application. Only complete applications will be considered.