VETERINARY INTERNSHIPS

The Wildlife Institute in partnership with the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC) and other regional wildlife & conservation partners offers veterinary internships and clinical rotations in Wildlife, Reptile and Small Animal Medicine. Tuition & Program Fees – $950 weekly (first 2 weeks), $750 weekly (subsequent weeks) or $2,950 per month includes airport transportation, nearby hotel accommodations, veterinary supervisory fee, payments to BWRC, a weekend excursion and a T-shirt. Scholarships available for Belizeans.

To apply, send the WI app form found on the admissions page and resume to  bzwildlifeclinic@gmail.com

Daily Activities and Tasks at BWRC and Partner Organizations (Wildlife & Reptile Internships)
Isabelle&Sara_ClinicalThe 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.

  • Observing and participating with the intake exams.
  • Observing and interacting with clients.
  • Observing and assisting in emergency medical care.
  • Surgery (mostly trauma).
  • X-Ray and processor operation.
  • Possible field site visits.
  • Handling and restraint of mammals, birds and reptiles. Reptiles are primarily snakes, iguanas and crocs.
  • Laboratory work (fecals, parasitology, hematology).
  • Developing treatment plans including (determining fluid requirement, determining drug dosages; determining nutritional requirements for various species; instituting treatment plan)
  • 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.

Daily Activities and Tasks at BWRC and Partner Organizations 
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, demonstrated experience and competencies and learning objectives.

BWRC/WI Wildlife veterinary interns - Small Animal Veterinary Internship

  • Observing and participating with the intake exams.
  • Observing and interacting with clients.
  • 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.
  • Daily maintenance tasks are required for all interns. This includes daily cleaning of facilities and cages, feeding, laundry, etc.

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.

We encourage 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.

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.

Custom Internship
The staff at BWRC is committed to opening BWRC’s doors to a range of individuals with diverse interests. If you are interested in interning at BWRC, but don’t fit the internship descriptions, contact us and we will organize a custom internship based on your unique learning objectives. Wildlife Institute and it’s veterinary and conservation partners need technical support in a range of arenas that fall outside of veterinary and animal science; including developing educational material, institutional development revising legislation and grant writing.

WILDLIFE MEDICINE & CONSERVATION

WILDLIFE MEDICINE & CONSERVATION 

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. 

REPTILE MEDICINE & CONSERVATION

REPTILE MEDICINE & CONSERVATION 

The Reptile Medicine & Conservation internship is conducted in partnership with the Wildlife Institute, the Crocodile Research Coalistion, the Green Iguana Project and the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic. Students focus on reptile patients at BWRC, and care and husbandry at the Green Iguana Project. Students may also participate in WI’s ongoing Iguana Population Survey.

Wildlife Institute internships start at two weeks and may be extended. The Wildlife Institute pays fees and donations to the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic 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 Reptile Medicine & Conservation internship helps BWRC and its partners provide free or subsidized reptile and wildlife medical services, conduct research and other conservation programs. Special rates apply to longer term internships. Airfare and airport transfers are not included. 

SMALL ANIMAL VETERINARY MEDICINE

SMALL ANIMAL VETERINARY MEDICINE 

The Small Animal Medicine Experience internship is offered year round. We at BWRC are happy to host vet students during their clinical rotation year; and vet, pre-vet and vet-tech students and professionals are welcome to apply. Interns participate in the daily operations at BWRC assisting the small animal vets with intakes, appointments, surgeries and other clinic tasks as needed. The small animal intern may be asked to assist with wildlife from time to time, and may request to do so.

Wildlife Institute internships start at two weeks and may be extended. The Wildlife Institute pays fees and donations to the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic and partner organizations; arranges local accommodations in hotels or guesthouses with kitchenette (as available); arranges daily transportation to and from the worksite as available; and organizes a weekend recreational excursion and any other field site visits. The 2017 Wildlife Institute internship and clinical rotation rates are $825 per week for the first two weeks and $650 for each additional week, or $2,950 for one month. Your Wildlife Institute Small Animal Medicine 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. 

SCARLET MACAW PROTECTION INTERNSHIP

SCARLET MACAW PROTECTION INTERNSHIP

The Scarlet Macaw Protection Internship is a Veterinary Internship for pre-vet, veterinary, or other students with a background in biological sciences. Avian experience is preferred. This internship is part of a larger Scarlet Macaw Protection Program which is a conservation initiative between the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC), Friends for Conservation & Development (FCD) and the Wildlife Institute (WI). The purpose of the Scarlet Macaw Protection Program is to conserve a specific Scarlet Macaw population in the Chiquibul Forest which is under heavy poaching threat. Part of the conservation strategy is to remove chicks from nest sites that are under heaviest threat of poaching, and for which security provision is most prohibitive. Chicks are reared at a field station to be reintroduced into the wild. Scarlet Macaw Protection Interns work with field staff primarily in the chick rearing activities at the field station.

Internship Summary
As veterinary interns, the primary objective is to provide husbandry and medical care to Scarlet Macaw chicks that are being reared at the research station. Daily duties include feeding and cleaning, weighing, monitoring chick health, and providing medical care as needed, under supervision or with assistance of BWRC or FCD staff.

The lead veterinarian for this project is Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, Director of the BWRC, in cooperation with an international panel of veterinary and expert advisors. Each month, BWRC’s veterinary medical team assists with chick health checks at the nesting site. Whenever possible, Scarlet Macaw Protection Interns will join the BWRC medical team in the field.

Interns can expect to spend the majority of their time at the field station* where shared accommodation with shared bath and kitchen are provided. All meals at the research station are included. However, upon arrival in Belize and before departure, interns are housed in San Ignacio with shared accommodations & shared bath. Meals in San Ignacio are not included. Have a look at our standard packing list and other info on our FAQ webpage.

The suggested duration of stay for students is 4 weeks or longer. Nesting starts in March, April and chicks will fledge in between August and October. Only one or two interns will be accepted at the same time. It is possible that the Scarlet Macaw Protection Program’s objectives and time-frames could change; in part or totally. While internships require long-term planning, interns must be prepared to adjust to variations in nesting season permutations. In any eventuality, when interns’ services are not or no longer needed in the field with the Scarlet Macaw Protection Program, interns will be assigned with the veterinary staff at the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic or a partner project as available.

Background on the Scarlet Macaw Rearing Program
The Chiquibul Forest of Belize is part of the largest contiguous piece of rainforest north of the amazon and harbors one of the last populations of the Central American Scarlet Macaw. The estimates are that about 200 Scarlet Macaws remain in the wild. In the past years, our partners’ studies have shown poaching pressures of up to 89% of the nests. This pressure will lead to the local extinction of this population in a matter of years. After starting protection efforts by placing rangers under active nests to prevent poaching for the past 4 years, poaching pressures have been reduced to 30%, but due to the immense size of the area it is not possible to protect all nests. Therefore starting in 2015, several organizations united forces to start a rearing program in order to increase the survival rates of macaw chicks. This program follows established methods of Wildlife Conservation Society who is an advising partner and has conducted similar work in Guatemala.

*Note on Field Station Facilities: The nearest town is 2.5 hours away.There is little or no opportunity to “come to town”. Electricity at the field station is only available for 2-3 hours per day by use of a generator (as available). During those hours there should be wireless internet available but with very limited bandwidth (satellite internet). So only very basic emailing will be possible and whenever technical difficulties are encountered there can be days without internet. There will be no streaming and limited social media use (limited to quick updates). Mosquito nets and insect repellent as well as lightweight long sleeve clothing are recommended.

**Note: Wildlife Institute internship fees for this program provide earmarked funding for BWRC and FCD to support the Scarlet Macaw Protection Program.

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