Location: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Kanab, Utah – Wild Friends
Compensation: $15 per hour
Time Commitment: 40 hours per week for 12 weeks
ORGANIZATION DESCRIPTION: Best Friends Animal Society is a national non-profit focused on ending the killing of cats and dogs in America's shelters by 2025. Best Friends is leading the no-kill movement by running lifesaving community programs for dogs and cats, providing support and training for animal shelters and rescue groups, and mobilizing community members on behalf of pets in need across the country.
The communities we partner with are diverse and multicultural – and we want that to be reflected within our organization. We welcome our employees’ unique wisdom, special skills, passion, and whole self to the workplace. We believe that our differences are pivotal to uniting the movement and achieving our mission. Our hiring practices are based on kindness and treating all living things, people, animals and the planet, as we would like to be treated. We encourage candidates who can add to our culture by bringing their fresh perspectives and unique lived experiences to apply.
The Wild Friends Intern works within a team setting to provide hands on daily care and medical support to the animals at Wild Friends. Interns are valued team members and play a direct role in achieving Best Friends Animal Society’s no-kill mission and organizational success. The Wild Friends Intern reports to Lauren Ross, Wild Friends Lifesaving & Care Specialist and will receive regular supervision and feedback. The minimum time commitment for the Wild Friends Internship is 40 hours per week at $15.00 per hour for 12 weeks. This is an on-site internship at the Best Friends Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Interns must arrange for their own housing and transportation. Students seeking college credit are welcome to apply.
Intern orientation includes a tour of the Sanctuary and Wild Friends, overview of rules, safety protocols, and daily schedule. Interns will have the opportunity to meet with Best Friends founders and Senior Leadership, learn about and shadow staff in other departments, work on projects specific to their learning and career goals, and attend presentations on various animal welfare topics.
Rehabilitation: Wild Friends has a small rehabilitation center on site that is off limits to the public as many of the animals in our care are injured/orphaned and we are providing them with a safe place to recover from their injuries with no additional stress or potential habituation to people. We take in a large variety of species and cannot predict which animals we will have at any given time. Our most common intakes are songbirds, small rodents and raptors. In accordance with Utah law, we cannot take in red fox, coyote, raccoon, striped skunk, or deer. Summer is baby season, so most of our intakes are orphaned wildlife that need to be hand raised or injured juveniles that need to be treated and receive correct nutrition for growth. Care may vary greatly from one species to another, so we have to be flexible and base staff scheduling on our current residents’ needs.
Education: We have some permanent wildlife residents that are educational ambassadors. Most of our ambassadors are birds, but we also have two mink and Jeff the squirrel. Since these animals are non-releasable due to imprinting or old injuries, they needed a safe place to live out the remainder of their lives. They serve an important purpose in educating people about the importance of wildlife rehabilitation centers and about their wild cousins. We are working on more hands-on training with some of our ambassador animals. There will be opportunities to help with training and enrichment and participate in daily tours for the public, Zoom presentations, and/or educational events.
Adoptables: A large percentage of our population is made up of adoptable animals that fall into the category of "other". Here we have adoptable pigeons, roosters, ducks, and more exotic animals like ball pythons, chameleons, sugar gliders, chinchillas, and more. Each different species requires specialized care so there is always a lot to learn! Besides needing basic caregiving, these animals need socialization, so they can be placed in a loving home. Sitting in on adoption consults is a great way to learn what these species need in a home and what adopters need to know to best set them up for success.
Work within a team setting to oversee the health, well-being, and general care of the resident animals at Wild Friends.
Assist in providing basic and routine care for animals, which includes diet preparation and distribution, cleaning of enclosures, and creating and implementing enrichment and training plans. Feeding requirements vary by species (ex: hourly baby bird feedings, bottle feeding mammals, tube feeding injured birds, daily meals for outside animals).
Assist in supporting the animals’ medical needs which includes learning about zoonotic disease, medicating, treating, preparing special diets, observing and reporting, and the maintenance of required veterinary records.
Assist in transporting injured or orphaned wildlife to the rehabilitation center and releasing rehabilitated wildlife.
Clean work areas and preserve the physical appearance of Wild Friends buildings and enclosures: wiping, scooping, sweeping, mopping, raking, trash removal, laundry, etc.
Assist in creating a comfortable and stimulating environment for the animals, including observing behavior, socializing appropriate birds/mammals/reptiles to increase quality of life and/or adoption potential, and creating enrichment opportunities.
Follow all safety and quarantine protocols outlined by department leadership.
Be a Sanctuary ambassador, representing Best Friends’ work to visitors and volunteers, and speaking to the Sanctuary’s special role in Best Friends’ no-kill mission.
Work alongside and support volunteers, workshop attendees, and other types of visitors.
Greet and conduct tours, speak about specific animals, their welfare, ecology, and husbandry, the work of Wild Friends and the Sanctuary, and answer questions.
Interns may be asked to represent Wild Friends at various community events.
Attend and participate in various learning, networking, and socialization opportunities with other interns, Best Friends staff members and founders.
Treat people around you with Kindness and Compassion, build trust by demonstrating authenticity and following through on your commitments, prioritize your well-being, and work to build strong inclusive relationships with your colleagues by participating in communication loops to share and receive honest feedback.
Gain a comprehensive understanding of resident animals and their diet, training, and enrichment needs.
Learn proper care, handling, and protocols for various non-releasable wildlife, adoptable domestic animals, and wildlife that are being rehabilitated for eventual release.
Learn and practice basic medical care for various species including administering fluids and medications and caring for wounds.
Learn how to determine enclosure and suitable habitat and release requirements for various species.
Learn about the admissions and intake process for animals at Wild Friends.
Practice and improve collaboration, interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
Gain skills in communicating with visitors and giving engaging and interactive tours, creating positive volunteer experiences.
Develop an understanding of animal welfare and Best Friends 2025 mission.
Individual goals and projects can be adjusted to the intern’s interests (i.e., medical, behavioral/enrichment, or education).
Dates of the internship: 5/29/23-8/18/23
Strong desire to work with birds/mammals/reptiles in a rehabilitation or veterinary setting. Previous experience preferred but not required.
Must have held a valid driver's license for at least three years, possess a clean driving record, and pass a motor vehicle record check and on-site driving test in order to operate Best Friends’ vehicles.
Must be willing to drive long hours to transport animals (the Sanctuary is several hours away from the areas where wildlife most commonly come into contact with people).
Ability to receive and provide constructive feedback, and a commitment to learning and improvement.
Professional work ethic and independent time management skills.
Commitment to communication, cooperation, and collaboration.
Resourcefulness, adaptability, and problem-solving skills.
Must be able to:
Routinely lift up to 60 pounds and perform daily strenuous and/or repetitive activities including sweeping, mopping, bending, stooping, lifting, reaching, walking, and working at computers (typing, hand motions).
Work indoors and outdoors in a variety of weather conditions including extreme heat and cold.
Must be comfortable with:
Potential contact with hay, dust and other allergens.
Potential exposure to zoonotic disease.
Interaction with animals that have significant behavioral and/or medical issues.
Feeding carnivorous animals according to their dietary needs (ex: feeding frozen mice to raptors).
Potential exposure to animal injury, illness, and/or death.