Forest Animal Rescue (FAR) is a world-renowned animal sanctuary that is home to over 100 exotic (and a few domestic) animals. The animals in our care have been rescued from situations of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and confiscation. The sanctuary is situated on 80 acres of native land in the Ocala National Forest. FAR provides a lifetime home for these animals giving them the care they deserve and allowing them to roam in large, natural habitats in a secluded, peaceful sanctuary setting.
We seek individuals who are mature and have the ability to handle physically and emotionally stressful situations, a demanding workload, long hours, and work independently or as a team. Applicants should possess a strong personal work ethic and a high level of integrity. This internship is a wonderful opportunity for those seeking a career in the animal field. It is always stated to interns that how much you gain from this opportunity depends on how much you are willing to put into the experience. Interns have the ability to learn as much as they want about husbandry, behavior, operant conditioning, and enrichment.
Interns have the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on animal care experience, knowledge about a variety of species, and exposure to the operations of a true sanctuary. Interns help in all aspects of husbandry including preparing diets, feeding and medicating animals, cleaning habitats, making and providing enrichment for the animals, and other housekeeping tasks. During the internship, interns will participate in various projects that will expand their knowledge of animal welfare. Interns will also complete a project of their choosing that will help the animals and staff of FAR while leaving a lasting mark at the sanctuary.
The Animal Care Interns help care for a variety of species and will work alongside professional caretakers to learning about the various species.
What to expect:
- Lodging and basic groceries are provided ($700/month value)
- Interns also earn a $300 per month stipend
- There are scholarships available to our interns who qualify– click here to learn more
- Summer positions are highly competitive so for a higher chance of selection, try to apply for other times of the year as well.
- Internships are for a period of 3 months to one year. Preference is given to applicants with a longer period of availability.
- Interns usually work full-time Mondays through Saturdays, with light duties on Sundays and half-day on Thursdays, giving interns the afternoons off.
- Materials, curriculum, and training materials are provided. You will be trained thoroughly before doing any chores on your own. There are 3 training levels in which you must demonstrate your understanding of the cleaning, safety, and protocols before moving onto the next level. Training usually takes 2-4 weeks depending on your abilities.
- You will always be closely supervised but will gain trust and more independence as you learn.
- Materials and curriculum will be provided.
- Non-compliance with the sanctuary rules and procedures will result in immediate termination from the program.
Working with wild animals is a very gratifying and unique experience, please read the following before applying: The safety of the animals and the humans that care for them comes first at our facility – WE ARE A HANDS OFF SANCTUARY. If a wild animal bites or scratches you, it immediately places the welfare of the animal and the entire sanctuary at risk. We believe in the respect of wild animals and will not endanger our workers or our animals so there is a strict no-touching rule for the wild animals.
If you would like physical hands-on experience, you should try working with domestic species. However, we do have a number of domestic species (tortoises, horses, and domestic cats) that will require hands-on care at the sanctuary.
- At a minimum, applicants must be in their second year of college in an animal-related science (zoology, conservation, animal behavior, etc)
- Two letters of reference including addresses and contact numbers from two individuals not related to you who have known you for over a year submitted at the time of application, preferably from volunteer work or employment.
- Must be able to provide proof of a current negative TB test (within the past 12 months) or a TB vaccine.
- All participants must be two weeks past their final vaccine against COVID-19 (“fully vaccinated”)
- In order to participate in activities involving bats, the intern must provide proof of rabies vaccination.
- Hepatitis B and tetanus vaccinations are strongly recommended.
- Must be reasonably physically fit, able to lift and carry up to 50 pounds, and able to work outdoors in the Florida climate.
- Housing and groceries will be provided for you; you will have to cook and clean for yourself during your stay.
- Vegetarian or vegan staples are available upon request. Shopping lists must be given at the start of each week. Transportation to the grocery store for the purchase of personal items is occasionally available.
- No pets allowed
- Males and female interns stay in separate housing. The houses are basic and furnished. There may be multiple interns at a time which will require sharing rooms and bathrooms. During the off-season, you might have a house to yourself.
- Interns must entertain themselves and are responsible for their own transportation. Silver Springs has multiple freshwater springs and fun hiking trails. Ocala is not too far away to enjoy a nice restaurant, shopping, or movies. [potentially limited availability due to COVID-19]
- You will be located in the Ocala National Forest on a soft sand road.
- We are very rural – there is no public transportation. If you do not bring your own car, you will need to plan on spending quiet evenings at your lodging unless there is a group outing planned.
- A wireless internet connection is available if you bring your own computer. Basic food is provided for meals and laundry facilities are provided.
- A telephone for domestic calls is provided. International calls require a calling card.
- Applicants must be comfortable with spending quiet evenings in their own company depending on how many volunteers and interns are on the premises at one time.
What we do NOT provide:
- Personal care items
- A computer
- Funds for entertainment
- Transportation for sightseeing
PLEASE NOTE: Our program focuses on the importance of professional management of captive wild animals and does not promote private ownership of wild animals. This program does not include physical contact with potentially dangerous animals residing at our facility through the wire or in any other way. These animals are not pets. If you are looking for an internship that offers direct contact with animals you should consider working with domestic animals. Due to insurance reasons and the welfare of the animals, there are no exceptions to this policy.
This is an experience you will never forget, so apply now! Applications are accepted year-round.
email the completed application and attachments to us, or you may mail or fax them to:Forest Animal Rescue Attn: Intern Department 640 NE 170th Ct. Silver Springs, FL 34488
Fax: 352-625-7376 Please try to have your completed application and attachments submitted 30-45 days before your desired start date.