Essex County Turtle Back Zoo
Animal Care Internship (Unpaid): Reptiles and Amphibians, Rolling Applications for 2023
About Turtle Back Zoo
Essex County Turtle Back Zoo (TBZ) is committed to providing an enriching recreational experience that fosters excellence in wildlife education and wildlife conservation, so that present and future generations are inspired to understand, appreciate, and protect the fragile interdependence of all living things. We do this by adhering to 5 core principles that guide our goals and priorities: safety, animal welfare, communication, inspiration, and collaboration. Our team is passionate, positive, and persistent; we strive each day to protect our planet’s most precious species and the ecosystems they depend on.
The Turtle Back Zoo Internship program is an opportunity for those looking to gain work experience and make important professional connections at a medium-sized, but growing, regional zoo located in northern New Jersey. Interns will receive training under the supervision of our Animal Care Team in animal husbandry and management. Interns will gain first-hand experience working safely around rare and endangered species. Interns will leave with a basic knowledge of animal natural history, behavior, reproduction, nutrition, and veterinary care. Interns will learn how to apply this knowledge alongside husbandry techniques to improve the quality of life for animals under our care.
Currently, all internships are unpaid; interns are responsible for housing and transportation. All applicants must be current students at an accredited college or university following a course of study that is related to the internship and should have at least 60 college credits before applying. All interns will be required to pass a criminal background check prior to being accepted.
Internships will require a commitment of 12 weeks. The intern’s working schedule will be a mutual decision between the intern and Turtle Back Zoo and will be considered final once agreed upon. The number of hours required weekly will not exceed 40. Adjustments to the schedule may be made if agreed upon by both intern and Turtle Back Zoo. If the intern is applying the experience to a college or university requirement, the intern is responsible for obtaining all necessary approvals from their university. Interns are required to provide proof of a negative TB test and a completed COVID-19 vaccination series including booster prior to their start date. No exceptions will be granted.
Animal Care Internship, Reptiles
In the Reptile House, interns will learn how to care for a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians as well as some birds, fish, and invertebrates. Each habitat is its own unique ecosystem and interns will learn how to properly maintain each home for our animals. General caretaking of these species will be learned as well as the purpose of enrichment, importance of proper nutrition, record keeping, training, and exhibit maintenance. This position will be responsible for adhering to all zoo safety protocols, standard operating procedures, and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accreditation standards and offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students and recent college graduates interested in obtaining practical experience in the animal care and training field.
Responsibilities and Learning Objectives:
- Explain proper husbandry practices for ectothermic animals
- Appreciate the ecological role each species has in its wild home
- Understand the elements that make up a safe reptile habitat
- Design an exhibit and redo it based on that design
- Develop and implement a novel enrichment item
- 18 years of age or older
- Enrolled in or a recent graduate of a four-year college program in psychology, biology, marine biology, or a related life science
- Applicants should consider themselves hard working, dedicated and reliable
- Applicants should have excellent observation and communication skills
- Ability to perform physically demanding tasks daily
- Ability to work weekends, holidays, and days closed due to inclement weather
How to apply
- Prepare a cover letter that includes the following elements
- What is your status as a student (name of school, academic level, GPA)?
- Why do you want to intern with Turtle Back Zoo, how you would be a good fit, and any other special skills or qualities you will bring to TBZ?
- Submit directly to TBZ via email. Put your “name” and “internship application” in the subject line of your email. Email your cover letter, resume, 2 letters of recommendation, and a copy of your most recent transcript to:
Curator of Education