Advanced Marine Mammal Training (Sea Lions) Intern (Zoo)

The Sea Lion Department is seeking applicants for internship positions in advanced marine mammal training and care.

Internship Overview:

The Advanced Sea Lion Internship at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana is designed for college students or recent college graduates who are interested in a career in marine mammal training. Our interns work side-by-side with experienced marine mammal trainers and educators. Interns will be exposed to all aspects of the daily care and training of California sea lions. An advanced intern will spend the first half of their internship completing the duties of the basic internship. Once the intern has successfully completed all the requirements of the basic internship, they will then move into their role as an advanced intern. The advanced internship focuses on the intern first understanding the concepts of operant conditioning and then working to successfully apply those concepts in the hands-on training of California sea lions.


  • Assist in diet preparation, exhibit maintenance, cleaning, water quality testing, and other section responsibilities.
  • Assist trainers in training and husbandry sessions.
  • Implement enrichment for sea lions and design original enrichment.
  • Complete weekly study guides and quizzes.
  • Participate in lecture series given by the training staff.
  • Speak on microphone during daily educational presentations in the Sea Lion Theater.
  • Work alongside an experienced trainer to train a new behavior
  • Assist in the training of basic interns and act as a leader
  • Complete a research project of  your own choosing
  • Construct original enrichment items
  • Learn to ask animal behaviors in a presentation setting
  • Develop an original project that will be used in the education of basic interns in the future
  • Develop ability to properly keep training, enrichment, and diet records


  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must have successfully completed one semester of college.
  • Must have one previous animal internship focused on operant conditioning.
  • Must be able to afford housing, food, and transportation to and from the zoo as this is a full time (40 hours per week) unpaid internship.
  • Must be available for the full 28 week internship period.
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds and work in all weather environments (extreme heat and humidity, rain, and freezing temperatures).
  • Must provide a current negative TB test prior to start date.
  • Must be able to acquire housing on own.
  • Must be a self-motivated, upbeat, and hardworking individual.

To apply:

Send cover letter and one-page resume, and two references via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please write "Advanced Internship" in the subject line and please indicate which internship term you are applying for.

Applications deadlines are as follows:

Spring 2020 (Feb/Mar - May/June)           December 1, 2019
Summer 2020 (May/June - Aug/Sept)        March 1, 2020
Fall 2020 (Aug/Sept - Nov/Dec)                June 1, 2020
Winter 2020/2021 (Nov/Dec - Feb/Mar)    September 1, 2020

In the event their preferred placement has been filled, qualified applicants may be referred to other Audubon departments. By submitting application materials, the candidate agrees to release their information to our internship staff. 


Due to facility closures and state and local social distancing recommendations, some of our internship sessions have been cancelled. If you have any questions, please reach out to Audubon's Volunteer and Intern Resources Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Audubon Nature Institute is proud to offer excellent professional training and experience in a variety of career tracks through our internship program. Placements are seasonally available in administration, animal care, conservation, education, volunteer management, and others. Candidates must be at least 18 years old to apply. To learn more about Audubon’s internship program, contact:

About Audubon Internships
Basic internships last approximately 12 weeks, in which interns develop a variety of professional skills through guided instruction and hands-on experience. Some advanced placements, lasting up to 6 months, are available for well-qualified candidates.

In addition to the core curriculum provided through each professional track, Audubon offers its program participants supplemental opportunities to learn about the operations of an AZA-accredited facility, the care and management of a diverse animal collection, the tools needed to engage and inspire guests, and much more.

Audubon accepts applications for available positions on a rolling basis. If no deadline is indicated in the position description, please refer to the schedule below for each session’s start window. Be sure to indicate your preferred session on your application. An intern’s exact start and end date will vary according to the needs of each section.