WILDLIFE MEDICINE & CONSERVATION INTERNSHIP

The Wildlife Medicine & Conservation Internship is conducted in partnership with the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC) under Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand (BWRC Director and Wildlife Veterinarian) and BWRC’s clinical staff.

The aim of the BWRC internships is to develop students’ and interns’ clinical skills including patient intake, physical examinations, compiling medical records, diagnoses, diagnostic testing and interpretation, and selecting and administering appropriate treatments. The internship experience also addresses clear and professional communication both internally with clinic staff and with clients as relevant.

Vet, pre-vet and vet tech students and professionals are welcome to apply. Interns participate in the daily operations at BWRC, both in the clinic, and in the field as necessary. Interns may also arrange to visit other wildlife centers in Belize, Guatemala and El Salvador as part of their internship. While no prior wildlife experience is required, Wildlife Institute selects individuals with strong interest in wildlife medicine and conservation; who are most likely to apply knowledge and skills professionally. Interns may also participate in the small animal services at BWRC.

The internships start at two weeks and may be extended. The Wildlife Institute pays fees and donations to BWRC and partner organizations; arranges local accommodations in hotels or guesthouses with kitchenette (as available); arranges daily transportation to and from the work-site as available; and organizes a weekend recreational excursion and any other field site visits. Your Wildlife Medicine & Conservation internship helps BWRC and its partners provide free or subsidized wildlife medical services, conduct research and other conservation programs. Special rates apply to longer term internships. Airfare and airport transfers are not included. 

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DAILY ACTIVITIES & TASKS

The following represents a list of tasks in which BWRC interns typically participate. Because of the dynamic nature of work at the BWRC, tasks and opportunities to work with various species vary by circumstance. An intern’s level of participation in the medical arena is adjusted based on educational level and learning objectives.

  • Handling and restraint of certain species
  • Reptile immobilization and restraint
  • Observing and participating in the physical intake exams/surgery for Reptiles & Wildlife
  • Observing and assisting in emergency medical care
  • Surgery (mostly trauma)
  • X-Ray and processor operation
  • Possible field site visits
  • Laboratory work (fecals, parasitology)
  • Developing treatment plans including (determining fluid requirement, determining drug dosages; determining nutritional requirements for various species; instituting treatment plan)
  • Reptile Husbandry and Rehabilitation
  • Patient food gathering, preparation, and feeding
  • Daily maintenance tasks are required for all interns. This includes daily cleaning of facilities and cages, feeding, laundry, etc.

ACCOMODATIONS

The Wildlife Institute arranges housing at local hotels and guest houses for interns and students. Standard accomodations include multiple occupany, AC, free WiFi, private bath and kitchenette. Upgrades and private accomodations are available upon request. Students and interns have free access to BWRC kayaks for wildlife spotting and recreation.

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ACADEMIC CREDIT

We encourage interns to apply to their home institution to receive academic credit for their internship experience. Our interns are routinely awarded both credit and in many cases scholarships to cover some of their travel costs and program fees. If you are seeking academic credit, please provide forms to be filled out by your supervisor in advance of your arrival in Belize.

LANGUAGE

Our team invites interns from around the world and do our best to accommodate a full range of diversity. For many of our interns, English may be a second language. As such, we require a basic working knowledge of English, and are happy to receive interns who are more comfortable working in Spanish, French, and German.

INSURANCE

Applicants will be provided with an application and waiver form which states that applicants must provide their own comprehensive medical insurance which includes international air evacuation and trip insurance in case of interrupted travel to the airport.