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Cheetah Team Animal Keeper Internship

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

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's cheetah team is seeking an applicant for consideration to serve as an intern for the 2019 summer/fall session (for six months, June to December). This internship provides the opportunity for the selectee 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.

This is an unpaid internship opportunity with on-site government housing (dormitory, nonsmoking, no pets and additional codes of conduct apply) wherein the intern will support SCBI's Department of Animal Programs at its Front Royal, Virginia, campus.

Learning Objectives: 
  • Learn alongside professional animal care staff basic animal husbandry of carnivores including cleaning enclosures, preparing food and enrichment activities, and assisting with environmental enhancements
  • Learn how to develop and implement animal enrichment programs
  • Learn and follow animal/keeper safety guidelines, operations and polices
  • Learn USDA and AZA guidelines, NZP directives, procedures and protocols and other related literature
  • Have the opportunity to develop an independent training, enrichment or research project with guidance from cheetah team staff
  • Learn formal and informal interpretive educational programs for guests
  • Present a short summary to SCBI Department of Animal Programs staff
  • 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.

Experience and Qualities Preferred:

  • Previous internships or volunteer experience 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
This is an unpaid internship.
Front Royal
Intern will be provided on-site government housing (dormitory, nonsmoking, no pets and additional codes of conduct apply) at the Front Royal, Virginia, campus.
Parking is available to interns at the Front Royal, Virginia, campus.
Term of appointment: 

June 15, 2019, to Dec. 30, 2019

Application deadline(s): 
Friday, May 31, 2019
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
  • Name and contact information for 2 professional references and 1 personal reference  

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 - Cheetah Team 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.