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Student Internships: Sanctuaries

Looking for an Internship in an Animal Sanctuary?

The following are organizations that offer internships to students interested in sanctuaries.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

The mission of Best Friends Animal Society is to end the killing of animals in shelters across the country. Best Friends Animal Society began with the animal sanctuary located in Kanab, Utah, which is now the largest no-kill companion animal sanctuary in the nation, with around 1,600 current residents. Best Friends has expanded to include adoption centers in several large cities and it partners with other organizations across the nation to implement no-kill initiatives and programs.

Animal Care Internships

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT offers a 5-Week General Animal Care internship program and 4-Month Species Specific internship program for people who are interested in hands-on work with animals in a sanctuary setting. Internships are unpaid; however, we do have scholarships and stipends interns can apply for to assist with housing and travel.

5-Week General Animal Care Internship

  • Interns spend one week in each of the following animal areas: DogTown, Cat World, Horses/Pigs, Parrots, and Rabbits.
  •  Sessions are 5-weeks and various start dates are available throughout the year.
  •  Interns learn about animal care, socialization of animals, animal behavior, and animal rescue.

4-Month Species Specific Animal Care Internship

  • Presently offered in dogs, cats, and parrots.
  •  Interns are involved in all aspects of the day to day activities and overall operations of the animal area, providing a comprehensive, hands-on learning experience.
  •  Sessions are 16-weeks and various start dates are available throughout the year.

Animal Care Internships in Other Areas

  • Additional animal care internships are offered in other areas depending on the time of year, such as with the Community Cats program or in the Kitten Nursery.

Interested in More Information? Visit for more details, session dates, and to complete an application.

Have Questions? Contact Brittany Bingeman, Intern Coordinator, at or 435-644-2001 ext. 4861.


Big Cat Rescue

Big Cat Rescue is the largest accredited sanctuary in the world dedicated entirely to abused and abandoned big cats. We are home to over 100 lions, tigers, bobcats, cougars and other species most of whom have been abandoned, abused, orphaned, saved from being turned into fur coats, or retired from performing acts. Our dual mission is to provide the best home we can for the cats in our care and educate the public about the plight of these majestic animals, both in captivity and in the wild, to end abuse and avoid extinction.

Title: Animal Husbandry Keeper – Wildcat Species

Internship Details: Big Cat Rescue is home to more than 70 big cats and is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. During the course of the internship, the intern will gain valuable knowledge and working experience (hands off) with small cats including; Siberian lynx, bobcat, serval, caracal, ocelot, jungle cat, leopard cat, geoffroy cat, hybrids and other small animals. While Big Cat Rescue is home to lions, tigers, leopards, cougars and sand cats, these animals are not cared for by interns, although there are opportunities to observe these cats. Animal Husbandry Internships are 12-week terms and are full-time non-paid positions. Interns work a 5-6 day workweek of 65+ hours. Interns are required to work weekends and holidays, as these are the busiest times at the sanctuary. 1-2 days off per week are assigned by the Operations Manager and are based on the needs of the sanctuary.

Responsibilities: LEVEL 1 INTERNSHIP (There are 5 possible levels of internship available upon completion of previous level. See website for details.)

Level 1 Keeper Trainee: A Level 1 Intern may become a Keeper Trainee only after performing Partner Trainee duties for an initial period of time to be determined by the Operations Manager. Keeper Trainees are considered a probationary level. An intern serving at this level will work under the direct supervision of a ranking intern or volunteer. Keeper Trainee duties may include feeding and care of omnivores and live prey rats, sorting produce, cleaning small cat enclosures (sand cats to lynx), assisting animal feeders, guest sign in, serving as a tour back up, guiding day tours and kid’s tours, gift shop assistant, data entry, housekeeping, landscaping, domestic cat care, daily chores, perimeter checks, and miscellaneous projects.

Level 1 Keeper Trainee Classes and Certifications (Timeline only a guideline, may vary):
Day 1: Orientation
Week 1: Tour Back Up, Gater Operation, and Guest Sign In, Human First Aid
Week 2: Animal Emergency, Animal Observation
Week 3: Tour Guide and Certification, Cleaning Small Cats, Issues & Actions, US Government 101
Week 4: Events

After the completion of Week 4 and the successful completion of all of the Keeper Trainee Classes the Keeper Trainee will advance to Keeper level. The Intern will be required to complete all certifications for Kids Tour Guide, Tour Guide, and Small Cat Cleaning prior to the end of the internship.

Level 1 Keeper: Keeper duties may include Trainee duties, feeding small cats (sand cats to lynx), red level enrichment and small cat operant, leading projects, and training Trainees. A minimum of one night tour must be observed during the Level 1 Internship and documented on the Night Tour Guide Certification sheet.

Level 1 Keeper Classes and Certifications:
Week 5: Small Cat Feeding Class and Certification in one feeding section, Enrichment Class and Red Level Certification, Operant Training Class and Small Cat Operant Certification

All intern levels participate in Big Cat Rescue’s Foster Kitten Program. Foster kittens are accepted from Humane Society of Tampa or similar organizations. These kittens are cared for by interns until they reach 2 pounds at which point they are returned to the organization who then spays, neuters, and adopts them out. Kittens or cats are not accepted from individuals into the BCR Foster Program. The reason the program is set up this way is because Big Cat Rescue has the resources to provide care for a limited time to foster kittens, but does not have the resources to then find homes for these fosters.

Requirements: The following criteria must be met to maintain Big Cat Rescue’s safety standards; 18 years old and possess a valid driver’s license or photo I.D., capable of walking and standing for extended periods of time, capable of lifting and carrying at least 50 lbs., possess vision and hearing at adequate levels, good health and endurance for working outdoors in all types of weather, fluent in English both written and verbal, complete disclosure of any prescription drugs, allergies and physical limitations, and able to financially support themselves for the duration of the internship. Interns must obtain a tetanus vaccination, at their own expense, that will be good for the duration of the internship, prior to participating in the internship program and must submit proof of vaccination. Interns that become pregnant during their internship must disclose this information to the Volunteer Committee immediately. They will be assigned duties within the Partner department and must refrain from having contact with the animal areas and raw meat as well as from heavy lifting or strenuous activities.


Program Contact: Chelsea Feeny 813-323-5991

Compensation: $50/week plus housing

Chimp Haven Primate Sanctuary

Located 22 miles southwest of Shreveport, La., in the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park in Keithville, LA, Chimp Haven serves as The National Chimpanzee Sanctuary. They are an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is:

  • To provide humane care for chimpanzees that have been used for biomedical research, or other purposes, and which are no longer used for those purposes.
  • To provide large, enriched and permanent housing for these animals in accordance with all state and federal regulations pertaining to the care and housing of these nonhuman primates.
  • To provide noninvasive research opportunities on the behavior and biology of chimpanzees and to disseminate this information to others in publicly available formats.
  • To educate the public about these endangered nonhuman primates and the needs for conservation in the wild and protection in captivity.

Chimpanzee Care Giver Internship

Chimp Haven, Inc. provides a unique opportunity for three individuals interested in the behavioral or biological sciences to learn and participate in the care of captive chimpanzees in a sanctuary environment. This internship is designed for those individuals wishing to gain experience with chimpanzees and will focus on their basic needs such as diet, sanitation, socialization, enrichment, and security. Through the experience, interns will gain knowledge of chimpanzee behavior and animal care. The internship is full time (40 hours per week) with available time frames throughout the year. Minimum commitment is eight weeks.

Contact: Kathleen Taylor, Animal Care Director (

Chimpanzee Behavior – Behavior Department Internship

Chimp Haven, Inc. provides a unique opportunity for students in the behavioral or biological sciences to study captive chimpanzees in a sanctuary environment. Interns will be introduced to chimpanzee behavior and behavioral data collection, as well as being introduced to environmental enrichment methods and practical application. Other opportunities may include data entry and summarization, learning how to conduct literature reviews and preliminary analysis. The internship is full time (40 hours per week), and applicant is to request dates in their cover letter. Minimum commitment is six weeks, but an eight-week commitment is preferred.

Contact: Amy Fultz, Behavior and Education Program Manager (

Behavior Department – Environmental Enrichment Internship

Chimp Haven, Inc. provides a unique opportunity for interns to participate in an environmental enrichment program for captive chimpanzees in a sanctuary environment. Interns will be introduced to chimpanzee behavior, as well as environmental enrichment methods and practical application. Opportunities will be provided to learn to prepare enrichment items and clean enrichment devices. Additional opportunities may involve researching, suggesting, constructing, and assisting in implementing new enrichment ideas as well. Opportunities may become available for data collection on the efficacy of enrichment. This internship is 20–40 hours per week, year-round. Applicant is to request dates in their cover letter. Minimum commitment is six weeks.

Contact: Amy Fultz, Behavior and Education Program Manager (

Chimp Haven Veterinary Medicine Intern Program

Chimp Haven, Inc. provides a unique opportunity for both veterinary and veterinary technical students in their third or final clinical year to participate in the medical care of captive chimpanzees in a sanctuary environment.  Interns will have a chance to participate in the veterinary medical care of an aging captive population of chimpanzees and the management of an AAALAC internationally accredited, USDA licensed sanctuary.  Opportunities will include performance of daily rounds, participation in sedations (knowledge of captive restraint procedures), annual physical examinations including cardiac monitoring (ECG and NIBP), tuberculosis testing, blood collection for CBC/chemistry analysis, rectal cultures and evaluation of diagnostic tests.  Training would include exposure to the physiology, natural history and behavior of chimpanzees in captive as well as wild populations.  In addition, the intern would be expected to participate in the Occupational Health and Safety Training Program including working safely with chimpanzees, blood borne pathogens, and zoonotic diseases.  The intern would be introduced to environmental enrichment methods, medical procedural training and practical application for these.  Other duties may include conducting literature reviews and treatment plans for clinical cases as they present. The internship is full time (35 hours per week), January–October. Minimum commitment is four weeks.

Contact: Dr. Raven Jackson, veterinarian ( or visit

Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s largest and most effective farm animal rescue and protection organization. We have rescued thousands of animals and cared for them at our sanctuaries in Watkins Glen, New York; Northern California (Orland); and the Los Angeles area. We educate millions of people about their plight and the effects of factory farming on our health and environment. We advocate for laws and policies to prevent suffering and promote compassion, and we reach out to legislators and businesses to bring about institutional reforms.

The volunteer internship programs at Farm Sanctuary’s New York and California shelters provide individuals with unique opportunities to advocate for and connect with farm animals, establish community with like-minded people, and acquire valuable knowledge of the various facets of animal protection. Farm Sanctuary is currently offering the following internships:

Communications Department Internship (Watkins Glen, NY)


  • Assist in tracking print, online, and broadcast media coverage
  • Assist with photo and video archiving projects
  • Assist in tracking placements of advertisements
  • Filing projects
  • Assist with media outreach projects
  • Web research projects
  • Assist with website content updates and e-alerts
  • Proofing/editing projects

This internship is 40 hours per week and requires a one- to three-month commitment.

Development Department Internship (Watkins Glen, NY)

The Development Department plays a key role in keeping Farm Sanctuary running at the caliber that it does and is responsible for nearly all fundraising for our multi-million dollar operation of rescue, education, and advocacy. Interning in the Development Department will give you the chance to learn real-world skills that are applicable across nearly all aspects of the nonprofit world, and to give you experience working hands-on with the nuts-and-bolts of a professional fundraising operation — all while helping to support farm animal activism. It is our goal to provide a well-rounded internship experience, but the candidate must remember that he or she will be asked to work on tasks that are vital at the time of their arrival; these can vary greatly depending on the time of the year.


  • Assist with thank-you projects for supporters
  • Assist with Farm Sanctuary Development programs, including, but not limited to: Adopt a Farm Animal Project, Rainbow Bridge Memorial, Friends of Hilda Club, and Corporate Partners for Compassion
  • Data entry and filing projects
  • Research, identify, and develop new sources of foundation funding and individual prospects
  • Research, identify, and help plan benefit nights at vegetarian restaurants
  • Obtain product donations

This internship is 40 hours per week and requires a one- to three-month commitment.

Development Services Internship (Watkins Glen, NY)


  • Data entry projects
  • Prepare outgoing mail with postage
  • Assist with member correspondence
  • Assist with fulfillment of literature orders
  • Assist with event registrations
  • Assist with Adopt-A-Turkey Project
  • Filing projects
  • Assist with incoming mail processing
  • Assist with other administrative projects as needed

This internship is 40 hours per week and requires a one- to three-month commitment.

Education Department Internship (Acton, CA; Orlando, CA; Watkins Glen, NY)


  • Staffing visitor center
  • Giving guided tours of the shelter
  • Maintaining visitor center facilities
  • Drafting documents to support advocacy efforts
  • Internet research projects
  • Phone call and correspondence projects
  • Local outreach projects

This internship is 40 hours per week and requires a two- to three-month commitment.

Shelter Projects Internship (Acton, CA; Orlando, CA; Watkins Glen, NY)


  • Barn cleaning
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Shelter laundry
  • Shelter hospital cleaning
  • Assisting with animal health checks
  • Animal monitoring projects
  • Assisting with farm errands including vet trips
  • Assisting with general shelter projects

This internship is 40 hours per week and requires a one- to three-month commitment.

Social Media Internship (Remote)


  • Assist with developing social media posts
  • Do research and compile reports of posts on effectiveness of certain campaigns
  • Create and develop Pinterest boards
  • Identify promotion and cross-promotion opportunities
  • Create and maintain list of relevant blogs and sites

This is a remote internship, is 20 hours per week, and requires a three-month commitment.

Contact: No direct contact; or 607-583-2225 ext. 274 or visit

Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary

Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary invites you to become an animal care intern with us. If you thrive on new experiences and aim to make a difference in the lives of animals, this is the opportunity for you!

Description: Our internship program is a unique way for you to work directly with rescued animals at our beautiful sanctuary in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. During the internship, you will have the hands-on opportunity to learn the basics of rabbit, bird, goat, and pig care with us.


  • Currently enrolled in college, or a general career interest in animal protection or veterinary care;
  • Excellent verbal communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, organize multiple tasks, and meet deadlines;
  • Ability to think creatively and to share ideas; must be physically able to lift/move up to 15 pounds;
  • Must be able to stand, walk, or sit for extended periods of time;
  • While interning at the sanctuary, maintaining a vegan diet is required; AND
  • All intern applicants must have medical insurance.

Find out more here!

Do you know of additional organizations that offer internships? If so, email!

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