The Whatcom Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is offering Wildlife Care Internship positions between April 1st and October 31st of each year. These are unpaid internships, although housing may be provided. The start dates of each position are staggered so that full coverage is provided for wildlife care during our busiest time of the year. There will be some overlap between each position. Students may earn college credit through the completion of an internship.
Interns will be involved in all aspects of wildlife rehabilitation from admission to release. This includes: basic rehabilitation skills, cage cleaning, food preparation, animal handling, and daily cleaning and sanitation of the center. Candidates will earn valuable hands-on experience in working with wildlife. Ideal candidates will be mature, honest, enthusiastic to learn, have a good work ethic and a strong desire to work with animals and people. They must be at least 18 years old. Interns could be college students, graduates, veterinary assistants, vet technicians, or someone else who really wants to learn about wildlife care. No experience is required, but candidates should be able to lift at least 35 pounds.
All internships, as mentioned above, will occur from April 1 to October 31. This is our very busy ‘Baby Season.’ During this time we receive an increased number of young orphaned wild animals in addition to our usual number of injured animals. One of the primary jobs of our interns will be the feeding of baby mammals and birds.
The orphans we receive include raccoons, striped skunks, squirrels, a variety of birds, and opossums–just to name a few.
The primary responsibilities of the interns will be: food preparation and feeding, performing intake exams on wildlife, cage cleaning and sanitation, laundry, facility cleaning and sanitation, and administration of medications (under staff supervision).
Length of Internship
Internships will last for 8 to 12 weeks. The start date of each internship is staggered so that there will be some overlap between them. What this means is that there will be more than one intern working at the center at the same time.
The clinic hours vary based on the season. During the busy season the hours are typically from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. Interns will work a minimum of eight hours each day. Overnight feedings, as often as every two hours, are often required during baby season. Interns who can live onsite are preferred to help with round-the-clock care.
At the Whatcom Humane Society, we strongly believe in keeping wildlife ‘wild’. Our ultimate goal is to release physically and behaviorally healthy animals back into the wild. It is very important that interns understand that this is not a job where you get to “cuddle cute wildlife”. A minimum of contact with the animals is important in order to reduce their stress and prevent them from becoming habituated and imprinted with humans.
We recognize that some injuries and conditions are such that the animal will not be able to be returned to the wild. In those cases, we practice euthanasia as a way to release the animal from pain. Interns would not perform the euthanasia, but would be present when it occurs. This is something interns must be open to accept. Euthanizing an animal remains a challenge for each rehabilitator.
Applications for the 2017 season are now being accepted! The deadline for applying is March 1, 2017.