Job Postings

Animal Care Internships-Summer session


Utica Zoo

Closing Date
April 5, 2019

Utica Zoo is currently celebrating its new AZA accreditation. This is the year to join us in that celebration with some new additions to our long running program.

Animal care interns assist with routine animal husbandry of over 200+ animals. This is a hands on experience working alongside the animal care staff and involves a wide variety of duties. We are looking for responsible, hard-working individuals that desire to learn about the role of a zookeeper and their day to day activities. See below for descriptions of summer program requirements.

The Utica Zoo offers full-time (40 hrs/week) Animal Care Department Summer Internships each year. The internship begins at the end of May and lasts for approximately 9 weeks (roughly May 28th – August 2nd). Interns will work under the direct supervision of the animal care staff and assist in all aspects of their daily activities.

This is a hands on internship. Duties will include cleaning, feeding, record keeping, enrichment, diet preparation, exhibit maintenance/construction, as well as assisting during veterinary procedures and education programming as instructed. This work is physically demanding. Direct physical contact with animals is often limited. Interns will be required to do some public speaking and will have direct contact with visitors.

Interns will be assigned to only one area for the duration of their internship, but may have brief opportunities to experience different aspects of all areas through veterinary procedures or as other zoo-wide projects arise.

All interns are required to attend onsite classes conducted by Zoo Staff on various aspects of animal care including animal and keeper health, capture and restraint, enrichment and animal training, and other topics.

Animal Area Concentrations: (Animal areas are subject to change based on the needs of the facility)

Children’s Zoo: A variety of exotic and domestic species including barn owls, beavers, Patagonian cavies, alpaca, chickens, domestic donkey, Jacob sheep, Nigerian dwarf goats and zebu; assist with daily sea lion presentations

Tropical Core: Includes California sea lions, cotton top tamarins, Mexican spider monkeys, red panda, white-handed gibbons and red fox; assist with daily sea lion presentations

Lions and Reptiles: Includes African lions, bald eagle, golden-headed lion tamarin, Trans-Caspian urial, white-naped cranes and a large variety of non-venomous reptiles including Burmese pythons, Chinese alligators, prehensile-tailed skink, rhinoceros iguanas, leaf-tailed geckos and wood turtles.

Hoofstock and Trail: Arctic fox, North American porcupine, Canada lynx, Mexican wolves, Chinese muntjac, striped hyena, ring-tailed lemurs, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, ostrich, peafowl, and Bactrian camels

Education: Interns assist daily care of ambassador animals. This is a diverse collection including several species of invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small carnivores and pigs. Besides assisting husbandry, interns will learn handling for social acclimation and short public presentations.

Commissary: Interns will learn about diet preparation, maintaining stock and inventory, nutrition review, some general recordkeeping and data entry. Students assigned in this area will also assist in the care for any quarantine (new) animals in the collection.

Specialty Internships

The following areas of concentration are available as Specialty Internships. These areas are available to individuals who can demonstrate special skills in these disciplines. Individuals chosen for these assignments will also have opportunities to participate in other animal projects throughout the zoo as assigned.

Vet Services: This position works with the Veterinary Technician and Registrar. With this opportunity, you will help with minor veterinary services (lab tests, routine preventative care, medical rounds, etc.) and to assist if requested when the Veterinarian is onsite. The ideal candidate will be enrolled in a vet technician program and/or will have some previous experience working as a vet assistant or technician (including as a volunteer).

Registrar internship: This position works with the Staff Vet Technician and Registrar. With this opportunity, you will learn general and medical recordkeeping and data entry of the zoo’s current and archival animal records. The role of registrar is essential to the organization with meticulous daily and archival recordings of what occurs in animals’ lives. The ideal candidate will have a proficiency for data entry, careful attention to detail and some understanding of the animal recordkeeping.

Behavioral Husbandry: The intern chosen will work to enhance and promote animal welfare through the enrichment and animal training programs. Working with the Enrichment Coordinator, you will learn to create enrichment items for animal use, and observe and record animal reactions to them. You will learn to create and use enrichment calendars and record data gathered. Working with the Training Coordinator, you will attend and record animal training sessions throughout the zoo. The ideal candidate will demonstrate a proficiency in animal observation, have skills in photography and film, and show attention to detail in data entry of observational recording.

Animal Projects: This position works with the Animal Projects Manager learning to create and maintain essential animal needs or exhibit improvements. Examples include creating exhibit furniture, setting up and maintaining misting systems or any number of projects that enhance animals’ lives, helping keepers apply the best welfare standards. The ideal candidate will have a proficiency for working with hand tools in small carpentry, masonry and fence work projects.

Education and Pre-requisites

Must be enrolled in or have graduated from a college level zoology, wildlife, environmental science, ecology, or any science education or interpretation program.

Must be able to work in any weather conditions. Must be able to lift 50lbs.

Proof of negative tuberculin test required (must be within 6 months of start date). Tetanus vaccination recommended.

Compensation and benefits

All internships are UNPAID. Interns are expected to provide their own housing and transportation (public transportation is limited in the area immediately around the zoo). However some housing is available through Mohawk Valley Community College at special rates for the summer program. Please indicate if you are interested at the time of application.

Application instructions

Please submit resume and cover letter by April 5, 2019 at 5 pm EST.

Application to a program requires both a resume and appropriate cover letter. These documents should be sent via email to The cover letter should include your areas of interest, goals and what you can offer the zoo. Statement of area interest does not guarantee placement in that area. Interns will be placed in accordance with the needs of the zoo animal collection. Additional information about the zoo can be found at our website: