Wildlife Studies Intern (Species Survival Center)

The animal care staff at Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center is seeking candidates for internship positions.

Location: Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC)

Department: Husbandry

Dates of Position:
Summer: May/June - August
Winter: Nov/Dec - January

Application due dates:
For Summer 2020 session: March 1, 2020
For Winter 2020 session: August 15, 2020

Time Commitment:
12 Weeks (3 months): Works 5 days per week (40 hrs). Including weekends and holidays. 

About the Species Survival Center:
The Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (FMASSC) is one of the facilities run by the Audubon Nature Institute. It is a unique piece of property that expands approximately 1,000 acres in an area south of downtown New Orleans. The FMASSC is historically known for its innovative research in exotic feline reproduction at its research facility, the “Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species (ACRES),” and its endangered Crane Recovery Programs. Currently FMASSC runs several programs, including; the Coastal Wildlife Network, which rehabilitates sea turtles and marine mammals; the Crane Recovery Programs, which breeds and releases endangered whooping crane and Mississippi sandhill cranes; the G.U.L.F. Program, which works with sustainable fishery projects in the Gulf of Mexico; and the most recent, the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife (ASW). The Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife is the new partnership between Audubon Nature Institute and San Diego Zoo Global; its mission to become a large breeding center for endangered species of hoofstock and birds. Phase II of this new program will be under construction in 2019.

Summary of Position:
Wildlife Studies Interns will be assisting staff with observational data collection and research studies pertaining to the property, animal habitats, and the animals themselves. This internship will also include minimal husbandry training. Types of data collection and research projects will change throughout the year and most will be focused on exotic hoofstock and bird taxa or Louisiana land management. Interns will gain valuable hands-on experience working on a variety of tasks at this AZA certified facility. This internship may include long periods of time observing animals in one or multiple locations, collecting field samples, collecting data, electronic data input, and data analysis. This internship may include long hours of sitting in one place, or hiking through thick vegetation. Most interns will be assisting with ongoing projects, i.e. the project may not reach completion during the intern’s session. All interns will also have the opportunity to visit the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, Insectarium and occasionally the Mississippi Sandhill Crane Refuge. This internship is unpaid and free housing is available upon a limited basis.

Duties and Responsibilities: (may vary depending on current projects)

  • Data recording in the field
  • Data input in the computer
  • Collecting samples - anything from plant materials, water, animal feces, etc.
  • Behavioral observations
  • Data research through animal records, journals, etc.
  • Some husbandry tasks, such as diet prep, facility maintenance, preparation and administering of enrichment items, enclosure cleaning, and assisting staff with veterinary procedures.


  • Strong interest in animal care, research, behavior, and conservation.
  • Capable of accurately following written and verbal directions, policies and protocols.
  • Good attitude
  • Ability to work alone or as part of a team.
  • Ability to work outdoors in physically demanding adverse conditions (heat, humidity, rain, mosquitoes, poison ivy etc.)
  • Ability to sit, stand, walk for long periods of time
  • Must be able to record data in a neat and organized fashion
  • Must be flexible, as daily assignments may change suddenly
  • Up-to-date tetanus vaccination.
  • Proof of negative TB skin test prior to beginning work.
  • Must be able to pass a background check and drug test

How to Apply:

Send the following to Michelle Hatwood, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., by the application deadlines listed at the top of the page.

  • Cover letter - please state which internship session you are applying for in your cover letter
  • Resumé
  • 3 Reference contacts

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.