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Wildlife Rehabilitation Externships

JOB DESCRIPTION:  The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a non-profit teaching and referral hospital for native wildlife. Our mission and passion is to teach the world to care about and to care for wildlife and the environment. Founded in 1982, the Wildlife Center has provided care for more than 70,000 sick, injured, and orphaned wild animals representing over 200 species. Our goal is to release patients back into their natural habitats. At any time, there may be from 80 to 250 animals on the premises. This externship provides an in-depth, hands-on experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation. Lasting 600 hours over a minimum of 12 weeks, externs will learn about wildlife husbandry, nutrition, hand-feeding techniques for a variety of orphaned species, capture and restraint methods, wildlife laws, and release criteria. Externs are trained and supervised by permitted Wildlife Rehabilitators.

¨      Maintaining constant awareness of all animals’ health and behavior and reporting any changes to staff
¨      Identification of local mammal, bird, and reptile species
¨      Monitoring progress of patients, recording weights and food intake, and maintaining proper environment
¨      Daily exercise of raptor patients
¨      Assisting with capture and restraint of patients
¨      Hand-feeding orphaned mammals and birds as needed
¨      Daily feeding, watering, cleaning, hosing and scrubbing out pens of all animals housed in indoor and outdoor enclosures
¨      General cleaning including sweeping/mopping floors, washing dishes, disinfecting counters/sinks
¨      Reporting maintenance and/or safety hazards to the rehabilitation staff and correcting hazards if possible
¨      Lifting and hauling items up to 40 lbs, including trash and recycling
¨      Assisting with organizational, landscaping, or construction projects, as needed
¨      Assisting staff with errands such as raptor food runs, supply pick-up, etc. (vehicle provided)
¨      Maintaining high energy levels throughout a long workday
¨      Additional duties as requested
¨      Researching a topic related to wildlife rehabilitation and presenting information to staff through a written paper and brief oral project upon completion of externship

HOURS: Externs will be scheduled to work five days a week for 12 weeks with two consecutive days off during the week. A typical day consists of working at least 12 hours [8am to 8pm depending on the time of year]. Weekend work is required. Schedules are subject to change, though typically remain consistent throughout 12-week period.

SALARY: None. Off-site housing is provided.  

QUALIFICATIONS: Must be a self-motivated individual with a sincere interest in working with wildlife and the ability to enthusiastically work long hours. Attention to detail, punctuality, initiative, and a strong desire to learn are required. At least two years of college with related degree or equivalent prior animal experience. Ability to lift 40 pounds. Pre-exposure rabies vaccination is required and series must be completed prior to start date.

LENGTH: 12-week commitment for a minimum of 600 hours. Positions are offered year round.

TO APPLY: Please email cover letter, résumé, and application to Kelsey Pleasants at
Applications can be downloaded at Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.