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Ungulate Animal Keeper Internship

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

The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's ungulate team is seeking applications for one intern position for a six-month session. 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.

This is a non-paid internship opportunity wherein the intern will support SCBI's Department of Animal Programs at the Front Royal, Virginia, campus. No housing is provided.

Learning Objectives: 

Through this internship, the intern will:

  • Learn alongside professional animal care staff about basic animal husbandry of ungulates, including basic herd management, cleaning enclosures, preparing food and enrichment activities, yard/pasture maintenance and research projects
  • 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/SCBI directives, procedures, and protocols; and other related literature
  • Have the opportunity to develop an independent training, enrichment, or research project with guidance of ungulate team staff
  • Present a short summary to SCBI Department of Animal Programs staff at the end of the posting
  • Must be able to find their own housing for the intern position term
  • Must provide their own transportation to and from the SCBI campus as there is no mass transit in Front Royal, Virginia, and SCBI is located off the highway, so biking/hiking is not feasible
  • 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, often times 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 the weather conditions: rain, snow, wind, hail, etc.
  • Intern must submit negative tuberculosis (TB) test

Experience and qualities preferred:

  • Previous internships within the animal care field
  • Interest in learning about ungulate management with aspirations to advance in the wildlife or zoo field
  • Experience with exotic ungulates or wildlife animal care
  • Experience in a zoo, wildlife conservation, or similar setting

Safety Plan:

  • Intern must wear appropriate face coverings, as outlined by the SI/SCBI policy, at all times
  • Intern will participate in social distancing of 6 feet among staff whenever possible
  • Intern will not conduct activities over the lunch break and will be provided a place to eat lunch socially-distanced from other staff members. 
  • Intern will have access to a dedicated computer and radio while performing animal care duties.
  • Prior to conducting animal care activities, intern will complete all required safety training modules
  • Intern will not report to the SCBI 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 SCBI for the first time
This is an unpaid internship.
Front Royal
The intern will make his or her own housing arrangements in the Washington, D.C., area.
Parking is available.
Term of appointment: 

Nov. 1, 2021 - April 30, 2022; up to 40 hours per week.

Application deadline(s): 
Monday, October 18, 2021
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.
  • Two names of references
  • 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: “SCBI - Ungulate"

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.