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Research and Internship Opportunities

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The mission of Safari West is to actively promote conservation, environmental education, and share knowledge that will help each individual make personal choices in regards to the environment and conservation efforts. Our research and internship opportunities are one of the ways we make this possible; we are able to advance interest and knowledge in wildlife and assist in creating advocates for the environment. Safari West is able to provide a competitive, convenient and educational cost effective experience that allows students and academic institutions to gain valuable skills and knowledge in a variety of fields. We are happy to be able to open our doors to qualified and passionate students trying to gain the necessary skills for a career in wildlife. To share and celebrate our advancement in knowledge we will be holding an annual fall research and internship symposium for our devoted students to share their learnings with the staff and public.

Observational Research

Safari West is a 400-acre wildlife preserve housing over 1000 animals. Many of our animals are housed in large, mixed species exhibits allowing us to have a unique and naturalistic facility. Our staff is always looking for opportunities to better understand our residents, enrich their lives and provide progressive animal welfare. We cherish the drive and curiosity of student researchers to aid in our comprehension of these complex animals. Such research has offered insight into social patterns, health, reproductive behavior and exhibit structure. The projects that take place on our property are student driven but require the oversight and involvement of a departmental advisor. Through a collaboration with universities and our animal staff, we are able to come up with innovative research questions to explore. We also always welcome new project proposals that are applicable to the species we house in our collection. Our staff is devoted to obtaining a solid grasp of all aspects that go into caring for exotic wildlife. Any undergraduate or graduate students, professors or university departments who are interested in research opportunities are encouraged to contact Erika Mittelman at emittelman@safariwest.com.

Internships

Safari West offers a dynamic, educational and innovative internship for students. You will have the opportunity to work in a unique environment with a wide variety of species. Students can apply for any of our varied internship opportunities. We currently offer internships in animal husbandry, animal behavior, culinary, events, marketing, and osteology. Each internship opportunity has been specifically designed to provide the most enriching educational experience possible. Students interested in these opportunities are encouraged to review the outline and requirements for each program before they inquire.

Internship Application Requirements:

Applicants must be 18 years of age. All internships are unpaid. At this time we are unable to offer housing accommodations, therefore housing and transportation are the cost and responsibility of the intern. The intern must have reliable means to get to Safari West consistently before committing.

There are two internship periods available for the Animal Husbandry and Observational Animal Behavior internships: summer and winter. Osteology, Events, Marketing and Culinary internships are only offered during the summer. Completed internships are based on fulfillment of designated hour and month requirements. Official start and end dates are flexible and will be determined by the applicants’ schedule.

  • Summer internship dates: June – September; Application deadline – April 1st
  • Winter internship dates: November – February; Application deadline – September 1st

Please send a completed application, resume and short cover letter, highlighting relevant experience, to Erika Mittelman at emittelman@safariwest.com. Not all applicants will be offered an internship position due to the high volume of qualified candidates who apply. We strongly encourage applicants who did not receive an internship position to re-apply. All applicants will be notified of our decision by email or phone.

Download Application Here

Safari West Animal Internships

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animal Behavior
  • Osteology

The animal husbandry internship has several strings to choose from with a variety of taxa. Interns will be given the ability to work with African hoofstock, birds, small mammals, carnivores or a mixture of these animals. This program offers the opportunity for students to acquire the knowledge and skills to care for exotic animals and provide progressive welfare in accordance with AZA regulations. Students will learn the different needs of various animals, understand the process and importance of behavioral training and appreciate the effort that goes into husbandry on a 400-acre facility. Students will develop the fundamental skills needed to look after captive exotics while challenging them to explore, develop and apply ways to enrich the animals’ lives. Academic credit may be available upon request.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Preparation, distribution, and understanding of diets based on species and individual animals
  • Cleaning of enclosures, night houses, bomas (outdoor shelters), pens, barns, and general work areas (vet office, storage rooms, etc.)
  • Safe movement around animals and strong attentiveness at all times
  • Understanding of proper welfare and record keeping
  • Construction and implementation of enrichment
  • General exhibit maintenance

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 3 months with a consistent schedule of a minimum of 2 days per week (full 8 hour days)
  • Fitness requirement: Intern must be able to lift/carry/maneuver a minimum of 50lbs as well as to be able to safely and efficiently navigate rough terrain
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team, take direction well and be able to interact with employees and guests in a professional manner
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of Final Project

Final Project

  • During the internship, students will be expected to develop a specified project that has been approved by the animal manager and internship coordinator. This project can focus on any aspect that applies to animal husbandry. Students will be expected to write a paper describing their project results.

Observational Animal Behavior

The observational animal behavior internship can focus on a variety of species we house at Safari West, as approved by the animal department manager. The goal of this internship is to integrate students into the current and newly proposed research projects taking place at Safari West. Our objective is to have students understand how to independently conduct a research project through searches for relevant peer-reviewed literature, data collection, data entry, and simple data analysis. Internships can be done in collaboration with a university and we can offer academic credits as approved by an academic advisor. Students are expected to come up with a research question which allows for behavioral observations. Observations can include time budgets, preference tests, and other behavioral measures. Students may enter the internship in teams or groups if applicable to the research question.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 100 hours including a consistent schedule of a minimum of 6 hours per week of observations (preferably 2 hours per day, 3 days per week) with the remainder spent on researching, writing, and analysis
  • Fabrication requirement: Formation of research question, ethogram and data observation sheets and final paper
  • Data requirement: data collection, entry and entry-level data analysis
  • Must have personal computer to use with Microsoft excel and word for data analysis and writing final research paper
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team and take direction well and be able to interact with employees and guests in a professional manner
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of behavioral research paper

Final Paper

  • Interns will write a formal project proposal that needs to be approved by the internship coordinator
  • Students will be expected to write a research paper containing an abstract, introduction, methods, results and discussion

This internship will allow students to develop an understanding of the methods used in specimen preparation and osteological analysis as used by anthropologists, paleontologists, and biologists.

The Osteology Lab interns will develop the basic skills and acquire the necessary knowledge needed to process a body from flesh to bone. They will learn and utilize the appropriate scientific vernacular and develop the needed foundation to assess and analyze the completeness and condition of a skeletal assemblage. The methods used for this program are primarily derived from the field of anthropology but include biological and zoological inquiry.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Recovery. The collection of specimens from a disclosed location including burials and post-necropsy retrieval
  • Cleaning. Mostly involves maceration and manual defleshing. This is the most labor intensive aspect of the internship and requires patience and diligence (and a strong stomach)
  • Analysis. Inventory of all elements present and missing and detailed description of element/assemblage condition (identifying trauma, pathology, and/or individual anomaly)
  • General housekeeping. Using appropriate cleaning and disinfecting agents, wiping down counters of work areas, proper removal of garbage, knowing proper amounts of oxidizer to use, and keeping work areas neat and tidy
  • Record-keeping. Inventory of specimen assemblages according to the protocol set for this lab
  • Exhibit maintenance
  • Interns are encouraged to ask questions and fully understand all procedures and protocols for our osteology lab

Internship Requirements

  • Completion of 90 hours (minimum)
  • Collaborative requirement. Intern must be able to work as part of a team and take direction
  • Self-motivated. Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven. They will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of Final Project

Final Project

  • Interns will be required to write a paper on either a specific project as approved by Osteology Lab staff or a thorough synopsis of a specimen worked on during their term. This will need to be written in the vernacular appropriate for the field.
Animal Husbandry

The animal husbandry internship has several strings to choose from with a variety of taxa. Interns will be given the ability to work with African hoofstock, birds, small mammals, carnivores or a mixture of these animals. This program offers the opportunity for students to acquire the knowledge and skills to care for exotic animals and provide progressive welfare in accordance with AZA regulations. Students will learn the different needs of various animals, understand the process and importance of behavioral training and appreciate the effort that goes into husbandry on a 400-acre facility. Students will develop the fundamental skills needed to look after captive exotics while challenging them to explore, develop and apply ways to enrich the animals’ lives. Academic credit may be available upon request.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Preparation, distribution, and understanding of diets based on species and individual animals
  • Cleaning of enclosures, night houses, bomas (outdoor shelters), pens, barns, and general work areas (vet office, storage rooms, etc.)
  • Safe movement around animals and strong attentiveness at all times
  • Understanding of proper welfare and record keeping
  • Construction and implementation of enrichment
  • General exhibit maintenance

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 3 months with a consistent schedule of a minimum of 2 days per week (full 8 hour days)
  • Fitness requirement: Intern must be able to lift/carry/maneuver a minimum of 50lbs as well as to be able to safely and efficiently navigate rough terrain
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team, take direction well and be able to interact with employees and guests in a professional manner
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of Final Project

Final Project

  • During the internship, students will be expected to develop a specified project that has been approved by the animal manager and internship coordinator. This project can focus on any aspect that applies to animal husbandry. Students will be expected to write a paper describing their project results.
Animal Behavior

Observational Animal Behavior

The observational animal behavior internship can focus on a variety of species we house at Safari West, as approved by the animal department manager. The goal of this internship is to integrate students into the current and newly proposed research projects taking place at Safari West. Our objective is to have students understand how to independently conduct a research project through searches for relevant peer-reviewed literature, data collection, data entry, and simple data analysis. Internships can be done in collaboration with a university and we can offer academic credits as approved by an academic advisor. Students are expected to come up with a research question which allows for behavioral observations. Observations can include time budgets, preference tests, and other behavioral measures. Students may enter the internship in teams or groups if applicable to the research question.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 100 hours including a consistent schedule of a minimum of 6 hours per week of observations (preferably 2 hours per day, 3 days per week) with the remainder spent on researching, writing, and analysis
  • Fabrication requirement: Formation of research question, ethogram and data observation sheets and final paper
  • Data requirement: data collection, entry and entry-level data analysis
  • Must have personal computer to use with Microsoft excel and word for data analysis and writing final research paper
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team and take direction well and be able to interact with employees and guests in a professional manner
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of behavioral research paper

Final Paper

  • Interns will write a formal project proposal that needs to be approved by the internship coordinator
  • Students will be expected to write a research paper containing an abstract, introduction, methods, results and discussion
Osteology

This internship will allow students to develop an understanding of the methods used in specimen preparation and osteological analysis as used by anthropologists, paleontologists, and biologists.

The Osteology Lab interns will develop the basic skills and acquire the necessary knowledge needed to process a body from flesh to bone. They will learn and utilize the appropriate scientific vernacular and develop the needed foundation to assess and analyze the completeness and condition of a skeletal assemblage. The methods used for this program are primarily derived from the field of anthropology but include biological and zoological inquiry.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Recovery. The collection of specimens from a disclosed location including burials and post-necropsy retrieval
  • Cleaning. Mostly involves maceration and manual defleshing. This is the most labor intensive aspect of the internship and requires patience and diligence (and a strong stomach)
  • Analysis. Inventory of all elements present and missing and detailed description of element/assemblage condition (identifying trauma, pathology, and/or individual anomaly)
  • General housekeeping. Using appropriate cleaning and disinfecting agents, wiping down counters of work areas, proper removal of garbage, knowing proper amounts of oxidizer to use, and keeping work areas neat and tidy
  • Record-keeping. Inventory of specimen assemblages according to the protocol set for this lab
  • Exhibit maintenance
  • Interns are encouraged to ask questions and fully understand all procedures and protocols for our osteology lab

Internship Requirements

  • Completion of 90 hours (minimum)
  • Collaborative requirement. Intern must be able to work as part of a team and take direction
  • Self-motivated. Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven. They will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of Final Project

Final Project

  • Interns will be required to write a paper on either a specific project as approved by Osteology Lab staff or a thorough synopsis of a specimen worked on during their term. This will need to be written in the vernacular appropriate for the field.

Safari West Hospitality Internships

  • Culinary
  • Group Events
  • Marketing

The culinary internship will offer students and recent graduates the ability to learn how a successful kitchen runs at a zoological facility. The objective of this internship is for students to learn the fundamental skills needed to be an essential member of the culinary staff. They will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to understand how to properly prep, clean and serve the unique cuisine at Safari West.

Intern duties will include proper sanitation and presentation of cooking and eating areas and eatery dishes, ensuring that all needed items are properly stocked for guests, learning how to ensure guest satisfaction and confirming compliance with any legal and safety requirements. Aspects include, but are not limited to, collaboration and cooperation with several other Safari West departments.

Students need to have strong interpersonal skills as well a basic understanding of how a restaurant functions. While this internship is mainly working with our guests and the restaurant staff, it is imperative that interns have a passion for wildlife and support our mission statement. Interns are expected to maintain a level of professionalism in accordance with representing Safari West and must be able to use discretion when presented with privileged or sensitive information.

The culinary intern will work directly under our chefs and restaurant managers.

This position may require weekend, evening and/or early morning work. Academic credit may be available upon request.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Interns are required to have a consistent schedule of a minimum of 4  hours per day, 4 days per week over, approximately, a 3 month period
  • Skills: Strong communication, dedicated attention to detail and ability to listen effectively
  • Preference will be given to those with a food handlers card or willingness to obtain a food handlers card.
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team and take direction well and be able to interact with employees and guests in a tactful and professional manner at all times
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of internship project and paper

Final Paper

  • Interns will write a formal project proposal that needs to be approved by the restaurant manager

The Group Events internship will offer students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and fundamental skills needed to work with large groups as well as coordinate and manage successful events. Our objective is for students to understand how to properly plan and coordinate a wide range of events at a zoological facility. Intern duties will include assisting the Groups Business department with seeking, organizing and hosting events for small and large groups, learning how to ensure guest satisfaction during events and confirming compliance with insurance, legal and safety requirements. Aspects include scheduling guests and special presentations, searching for and purchasing needed materials, setting up and breaking down event areas and promotion of Safari West as a premier event destination.

Group Events interns will be collaborating with a variety of departments to ensure events are planned appropriately as well as working directly with the guests who are scheduling and attending the events. Some events will be designed by Safari West and others will be determined by the needs of our guests. Students need to have strong interpersonal skills as well as a willingness to learn about a variety of animal taxa. While this internship is primarily working with guests and employees in various departments, it is imperative that interns have a passion for wildlife and conservation and support our mission statement. Interns are expected to maintain a level of professionalism in accordance with Safari West standards and must be able to use discretion when presented with privileged or sensitive information.

This position may require weekend, evening and/or early morning work. Academic credit may be available upon request.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 144 hours including a consistent schedule of a minimum of 4 hours per day, 3 days per week over, approximately, a 3 month period
  • Skills: Effective communication (both verbal and written), capability to proactively solve problems, dedicated attention to detail and ability to build rapport with both guests and employees
  • Computer proficiency: Must have experience with Microsoft Office suite and the ability to learn and understand basic booking and reservation programs
  • Collaborative requirement: Interns must be able to function as a part of a team. This includes following directions given and cooperation with Safari West staff of different departments. General hospitality interactions with guests are expected to be carried out in accordance with Safari West standards
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of internship project and paper

Final Paper

  • Interns will write a formal project proposal that needs to be approved by the Group Business Department Manager

Our marketing internship is focused on the marketing and public relations aspect of Safari West. The objective of this internship is to have students and recent graduates understand how a marketing department functions at a zoological institution with respect to graphic and website maintenance, marketing and promotion and administrative duties. These include, but are not limited to the creation of promotional media for use at various events, drafting of press releases, articles and other communications, participating in social media, brainstorming promotional ideas and working with partner organizations.

The intern will learn how to ensure we are able to provide our guests with a unique experience, have a positive relationship with our public audience and promote Safari West as a world class destination. This internship will take you behind the scenes of our public image and teach you how to work cohesively with other departments to spread Safari West’s mission. The marketing intern will report directly to the Marketing Director.

Internships can be done in collaboration with a university and we can offer academic credits as approved by an academic advisor. Students are expected to come up with a project which allows for a solid understanding of marketing.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 288 hours including a consistent schedule of a minimum of 6 hours per day and 4 days per week working directly with the marketing department
  • Skills and Experience: Must have at least 1 year of experience or school in graphic design, marketing with working knowledge of Abobe InDesign, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Flash, and Dreamweaver as well as competence with HTML/XHTML and web design
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team, take direction well and be able to interact and communicate effectively with employees, guests and other personnel in a professional manner
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected to multi task and manage complex information in an organized manner
  • Creativity: Interns must be creative and resourceful with a strong attention to detail and dedication to high standards
  • Completion of project paper

Final Paper

  • During the internship, students will be expected to develop a specified project that has been approved by the department manager and internship coordinator. This project can focus on any aspect that applies to Zoological marketing and public relations. Students will be expected to write a paper describing their project outcome.
Culinary

The culinary internship will offer students and recent graduates the ability to learn how a successful kitchen runs at a zoological facility. The objective of this internship is for students to learn the fundamental skills needed to be an essential member of the culinary staff. They will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to understand how to properly prep, clean and serve the unique cuisine at Safari West.

Intern duties will include proper sanitation and presentation of cooking and eating areas and eatery dishes, ensuring that all needed items are properly stocked for guests, learning how to ensure guest satisfaction and confirming compliance with any legal and safety requirements. Aspects include, but are not limited to, collaboration and cooperation with several other Safari West departments.

Students need to have strong interpersonal skills as well a basic understanding of how a restaurant functions. While this internship is mainly working with our guests and the restaurant staff, it is imperative that interns have a passion for wildlife and support our mission statement. Interns are expected to maintain a level of professionalism in accordance with representing Safari West and must be able to use discretion when presented with privileged or sensitive information.

The culinary intern will work directly under our chefs and restaurant managers.

This position may require weekend, evening and/or early morning work. Academic credit may be available upon request.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Interns are required to have a consistent schedule of a minimum of 4  hours per day, 4 days per week over, approximately, a 3 month period
  • Skills: Strong communication, dedicated attention to detail and ability to listen effectively
  • Preference will be given to those with a food handlers card or willingness to obtain a food handlers card.
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team and take direction well and be able to interact with employees and guests in a tactful and professional manner at all times
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of internship project and paper

Final Paper

  • Interns will write a formal project proposal that needs to be approved by the restaurant manager
Group Events

The Group Events internship will offer students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and fundamental skills needed to work with large groups as well as coordinate and manage successful events. Our objective is for students to understand how to properly plan and coordinate a wide range of events at a zoological facility. Intern duties will include assisting the Groups Business department with seeking, organizing and hosting events for small and large groups, learning how to ensure guest satisfaction during events and confirming compliance with insurance, legal and safety requirements. Aspects include scheduling guests and special presentations, searching for and purchasing needed materials, setting up and breaking down event areas and promotion of Safari West as a premier event destination.

Group Events interns will be collaborating with a variety of departments to ensure events are planned appropriately as well as working directly with the guests who are scheduling and attending the events. Some events will be designed by Safari West and others will be determined by the needs of our guests. Students need to have strong interpersonal skills as well as a willingness to learn about a variety of animal taxa. While this internship is primarily working with guests and employees in various departments, it is imperative that interns have a passion for wildlife and conservation and support our mission statement. Interns are expected to maintain a level of professionalism in accordance with Safari West standards and must be able to use discretion when presented with privileged or sensitive information.

This position may require weekend, evening and/or early morning work. Academic credit may be available upon request.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 144 hours including a consistent schedule of a minimum of 4 hours per day, 3 days per week over, approximately, a 3 month period
  • Skills: Effective communication (both verbal and written), capability to proactively solve problems, dedicated attention to detail and ability to build rapport with both guests and employees
  • Computer proficiency: Must have experience with Microsoft Office suite and the ability to learn and understand basic booking and reservation programs
  • Collaborative requirement: Interns must be able to function as a part of a team. This includes following directions given and cooperation with Safari West staff of different departments. General hospitality interactions with guests are expected to be carried out in accordance with Safari West standards
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected, after some time, to understand their daily responsibilities and be able to start their work without relying directly on orders
  • Completion of internship project and paper

Final Paper

  • Interns will write a formal project proposal that needs to be approved by the Group Business Department Manager
Marketing

Our marketing internship is focused on the marketing and public relations aspect of Safari West. The objective of this internship is to have students and recent graduates understand how a marketing department functions at a zoological institution with respect to graphic and website maintenance, marketing and promotion and administrative duties. These include, but are not limited to the creation of promotional media for use at various events, drafting of press releases, articles and other communications, participating in social media, brainstorming promotional ideas and working with partner organizations.

The intern will learn how to ensure we are able to provide our guests with a unique experience, have a positive relationship with our public audience and promote Safari West as a world class destination. This internship will take you behind the scenes of our public image and teach you how to work cohesively with other departments to spread Safari West’s mission. The marketing intern will report directly to the Marketing Director.

Internships can be done in collaboration with a university and we can offer academic credits as approved by an academic advisor. Students are expected to come up with a project which allows for a solid understanding of marketing.

Internship Requirements

  • Availability: Completion of 288 hours including a consistent schedule of a minimum of 6 hours per day and 4 days per week working directly with the marketing department
  • Skills and Experience: Must have at least 1 year of experience or school in graphic design, marketing with working knowledge of Abobe InDesign, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Flash, and Dreamweaver as well as competence with HTML/XHTML and web design
  • Collaborative requirement: Intern must be able to work as part of a team, take direction well and be able to interact and communicate effectively with employees, guests and other personnel in a professional manner
  • Self-motivated: Interns will be guided through the program but must be internally driven; they will be expected to multi task and manage complex information in an organized manner
  • Creativity: Interns must be creative and resourceful with a strong attention to detail and dedication to high standards
  • Completion of project paper

Final Paper

  • During the internship, students will be expected to develop a specified project that has been approved by the department manager and internship coordinator. This project can focus on any aspect that applies to Zoological marketing and public relations. Students will be expected to write a paper describing their project outcome.

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Research and Internship Opportunities