The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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Carnivores of North America and Africa Animal Keeper Internship

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Carnivores of North America and Africa animal care team is seeking two applicants for consideration to serve as interns for the 2019 winter/spring session. This internship provides the opportunity to gain experience in the zoo-keeping field by participating in daily animal keeper activities, including animal husbandry, nutrition, enrichment and training, and visitor education.

Learning Objectives: 

Interns will 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 — alongside professional animal care staff
  • Formal and informal interpretive educational programs for guests
  • How to develop and implement animal enrichment programs
  • To follow animal and keeper safety guidelines, operations and polices
  • USDA and Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines, National Zoological Park directives, procedures and protocols, and other related literature

Interns will also have the opportunity to develop an independent training, enrichment or research project with guidance from carnivore team staff and present a short summary to SCBI's Department of Animal Programs.

  • 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
  • Intern must have appropriate footwear. Appropriate outerwear is required for all weather conditions: rain, snow, wind, hail, etc.

Preferred experience:

  • 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
These are unpaid internship opportunities with on-site government housing at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia.
Front Royal
On-site government housing at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia, will be provided (dormitory, non-smoking, no pets and additional codes of conduct apply).
Parking is provided at SCBI in Front Royal, Virginia.
Term of appointment: 
This is a six-month internship for the winter/spring session (October to April). One intern will begin the internship as soon as possible. The second intern will begin their internship Oct. 15, 2019. Internships end in April 2020.
Application deadline(s): 
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
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
  • 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 on-line 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: “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.