Educating The Next Generation Of Keepers
January 30, 2018
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is not only one of the best big cat rescue facilities in the country, we are also the home of one of the best big cat internships. Our internship program is known worldwide. We have had over 400 interns pass through our program over the past 25 years and those interns are now working in zoos, sanctuaries, and veterinarian facilities around the world.
Our internship program is run bi-annually. The fall internship starts in September and the spring internship starts in February. Each internship group has between 14 and 18 interns, some of which are interns who have applied to stay a second, third, fourth, or even fifth time! These interns dedicate 6 or more months of their lives to helping the animals that call Turpentine Creek home and learn a lot of skills here that they will use during their careers.
Today, our spring interns for 2018, have begun to arrive. Many arrive a few days early so they can get settled in before they begin working 6 days a week. They work hard, getting hands-on experience on how to care for dangerous carnivores. They will spend time learning directly from our Curator, Emily McCormack, and our experienced animal care team members.
They will learn a variety of skills, from big cat nutrition to behavioral training and even how to build habitats. We are very focused on safety around our animals and a large portion of their training is dedicated to this. They are fully submerged into animal care at our facility and learn a lot while they are here. They work rain or shine, snow or blazing heat, the animals in here need care every single day and our team, both permanent staff and interns, work hard to provide that for them.
During our internship program, a group of strangers becomes a family and a little piece of their hearts bonds with the refuge. They know that for the rest of their lives Turpentine Creek will be another home for them, and they will always be welcome to return here with open arms. We are very happy to welcome our new batch of interns and cannot wait to see what amazing things they accomplish with us over the next 6 months. Keep an eye out for more information about the new interns as we get to know them.