The internship program first began in 2013 with the goal of providing a unique experience for recent college or university graduates to gain valuable experience working in the field of conservation biology. Since 2016, the internship program has been funded by our partners at the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.
Interns quickly learn all about the daily operations of managing a captive breeding program, including interpreting owl behaviours and calls, feeding the owls, maintaining a healthy rodent prey colony. In late winter the owls are beginning courtship behaviours and interns, along with program biologists, spend evenings monitoring the owls via cameras or sitting outside listening to the owls. Once eggs start arriving in March the interns become very involved with the artificial incubation process - learning how to read and use our incubators, handle, candle and weigh the eggs. When chicks hatch, interns work shifts at all hours of the day and night to keep constant watch over the chicks, who are extremely fragile the first few days after hatch. Interns assist program biologists feed and weigh the chicks up to 4 times per day.
Interns also participate in our education and fundraising efforts to provide them with a well-rounded experience when they leave us. Whether it be talking to kids at nature festivals, leading tours on site, or applying for grants, interns get the chance to share what they have learned with a wide range of people.
Daily Captive Care
Daily captive care of the owls is required to ensure each owl remains healthy and fit for breeding. Duties will include diet preparation and feeding of owls, behavioral observations, cleaning and maintenance of owl enclosures and work spaces, and the maintenance of mice and rat colonies that are bred to feed the owls. There is also daily glove training of an imprinted barred owl used for education.
Captive breeding husbandry practices will be introduced that include monitoring and observations of owl breeding behavior, the artificial incubation of eggs and egg development, and the hand-rearing of new born chicks.
Interns will be asked to assist with the writing of reports and funding proposals, as well as help keep the program social media presence up to date. Data collected during regular and breeding season activities will require digitizing and analyzing. Further development of and participation in education and fundraising programs both on and off site will be important components.
The intern will help staff with the ongoing maintenance of existing enclosures and facilities, and may assist with the construction of new habitats. All required equipment training will be provided on site.
Wages, Accommodation and Working Conditions
Interns will be paid minimum wage and be required to work (day and night shifts) up to 40 hrs per week. Interns are required to have independent housing off-site and transportation to the facility in Langley. Interns are required to provide their own food and proper work clothes and boots for all weather conditions.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or diploma related to fields in biology, zoology, conservation, environmental science or veterinary science.
Applicants must have previous animal care or husbandry experience, specifically birds and small mammals.
Applicants must be physically fit, capable of lifting 50lbs and be prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
Applicants must be willing to work a varied schedule that includes night shifts, and available to work 7 days a week.
Applicants must be eligible to work in Canada.
Applicants must possess a valid driver’s license that is valid for use in BC.
Previous biological work experience in the conservation of threatened and/or endangered species,
Understanding of animal behavior and reproductive biology,
Experience working outdoors or in a variety of conditions,
Competency in using Excel and Word,
Experience with social media and public education,
Valid First aid certification