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Carnivores of North America and Africa Animal Keeper Internship

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

This internship will provide the opportunity for the selectee to gain experience in the field of animal care and conservation biology by participating in daily animal keeper activities, including animal husbandry, nutrition, enrichment and training, and visitor education.

The carnivores of North America and Africa animal care team is seeking applications for one intern position for a six-month session. This is a non-paid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support the department of animal programs at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute's Front Royal, Virginia, campus. No housing is provided.

Learning Objectives: 

Through this position, the intern will:

  • Alongside professional animal care staff, learn basic animal husbandry of carnivores, including cleaning enclosures, preparing food and enrichment activities, assisting with environmental enhancements, yard maintenance, and possibly assisting with animal transfers
  • Learn formal and informal interpretive educational programs for guests
  • Learn how to develop and implement animal enrichment programs
  • Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations and polices
  • Learn USDA and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) guidelines, Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute directives, procedures and protocols, and other related literature
  • Have the opportunity to develop an independent training, enrichment, or research project with guidance of carnivore team staff
  • Present a short summary to department of animal programs staff at the end of the 
  • Good physical condition, able to lift and carry a minimum of 50 pounds
  • Willingness to be available outside normal business hours, including weekends and holidays
  • Capable of participating outdoors in all weather conditions
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to be an effective team member, oftentimes with minimal supervision
  • Ability to follow written and verbal instructions
  • Ability to remain calm and think rationally under pressure
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Ability to be flexible when changes occur
  • Must have appropriate footwear. Appropriate outerwear is required for all the weather conditions: rain, snow, wind, hail, etc.

Experience and Qualities Preferred:

  • 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, wildlife conservation or similar setting

Safety Plan

  • Intern must wear appropriate face coverings, as outlined by NZCBI policy, around all susceptible species
  • Intern will have access to a computer and radio while performing animal care duties
  • Prior to conducting animal care activities, the intern will complete all required safety training modules
  • Intern will not report to the NZCBI campus if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness that have been associated with COVID
  • Intern will take COVID-related safety training online, ahead of reporting to NZCBI for the first time
This is an unpaid internship.
Front Royal
No housing is provided.
Parking is provided at the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The intern must provide their own transportation to and from the campus, as there is no mass transit in Front Royal. The campus is located off a highway, so biking/hiking is not feasible.
Term of appointment: 

This is a six-month internship from Sept. 15, 2022 - March 15, 2023.

Application deadline(s): 
Thursday, June 30, 2022
Internship Category: 
Animal Programs
How to Apply: 

To apply, go to 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
  • Degrees held or expected
  • Two names and contact information for professional references (including email and phone number; one must be from a current or a former supervisor). If applications are not complete, including references provided with the online application, they will not be considered.

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: “SCBI - Carnivores of North America and Africa Animal Keeper Internships

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.