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Black-footed Ferret Animal Keeper Internship

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

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's black-footed ferret program is seeking an intern for the 2018 winter/spring session. This internship provides the opportunity for the selectee to gain experience in the zookeeping field by participating in daily animal keeper activities, including animal husbandry, nutrition, enrichment, training and visitor education. This is an unpaid internship opportunity with on-site government housing (dormitory, non-smoking, no pets and additional codes of conduct apply) wherein the intern will support SCBI's Department of Animal Programs at SCBI's campus in Front Royal, Virginia.

Learning Objectives: 

Through this internship, the intern will:

  • Learn basic animal husbandry of black-footed ferrets alongside professional animal care staff, including cleaning enclosures, preparing food and enrichment activities, assisting reproductive sciences and animal health
  • Learn formal and informal interpretive educational programs for guests
  • Help to develop and implement animal enrichment programs
  • Follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations and polices
  • Learn how to perform cytology slides to assess reproductive readiness
  • Study U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines, National Zoological Park directives, procedures and protocols and other related literature
  • Present a short summary to SCBI Department of Animal Programs staff

Intern must be in good physical condition, able to lift and carry a minimum of 50 pounds and willing to work indoors in a quarantine atmosphere (coveralls, surgical mask, nitrile gloves). Intern should have good written and verbal communication skills, have the ability to follow written and verbal instructions and be an effective team member, oftentimes with minimal supervision. Intern must remain calm and think rationally under pressure, have strong attention to detail and be flexible when changes occur. Willingness to work outside of normal business hours, including weekends and holidays, is required.

Preferred experience and qualities:

  • Previous internships within the animal care field
  • Interest in learning about carnivore management with aspirations to advance in the wildlife or zoo field
  • Experience with exotic carnivores or wildlife animal care
  • Experience in a zoo or wildlife conservation like setting
This is an unpaid internship.
Front Royal
Housing is provided.
Parking is available.
Term of appointment: 
March 15, 2018, to Aug. 15, 2018. 40 hours per week.
Application deadline(s): 
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to: https://solaa.si.edu. Select "Don't have an Account? Create An Account." 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.
  • Transcripts from your current and/or previous institutions. Unofficial transcripts are acceptable.
  • 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:

  1. Type of appointment: “Internship”
  2. Unit of interest: “National Zoological Park”
  3. Program: “National Zoological Park Internship Program”
  4. Project: “SCBI - Black-footed Ferret Animal Keeper Internship”

IMPORTANT: Your application is considered complete when you hit “Submit.” Your SOLAA-submitted application with references must be received by the deadlines as noted above.