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Wildlife Internship

Help us care for and return wild animals to the wild and gain valuable animal care experience in a lush tropical setting with all the comforts of home.

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About the wildlife internship

The Program

Interning with Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is a life-changing opportunity to work with wild animals in Costa Rica and assist us with our mission to protect and restore Costa Rica’s biodiversity through: wildlife rehabilitation and release, endangered species breeding and reintroduction, biodiversity preservation, and lifetime care of non-releasable animals.

Our Hands-Off policy

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center has a strict “hands off” policy in all areas of our center. This is not only for the safety of our interns, but also prevents rehabilitating animals from becoming too tame to be released. While we completely understand the desire to be close to animals, allowing the animals at the center to be handled and petted by ever-changing interns would be unethical and detrimental to their welfare.

What you will do as a Wildlife Intern
No day is typical

One day you may be collecting natural browse for the baby sloths in the Rehabilitation Center, another day you may be monitoring the behavior of the Scarlet Macaws in the Endangered Species Breeding Center or making environmental enrichment for the coyotes in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary and another day you might be helping to clicker train Guapo the jaguar!
So, a “typical day” will be different depending on the needs of the animals

Internship opportunities and projects for long-term stays

Various projects are developed through­out the year and there are often opportunities for longer-term interns to assist at Rescate’s release sites in Nicoya and Golfito. Interns staying longer periods of time have also the opportunity to develop small projects during their internship period.

Schedule

Interns participate in wildlife-enrichment and conservation activities for roughly 8 hours per day, 5 days per week with Thursdays and Fridays off for rest or travel.

Accommodation

Accommodation is provided in a guest house with shared bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. Towels and blankets are provided. Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is fenced and has 24-hour security.

Gallery of the wildlife internship

QUALIFICATION and requirements

Interest in Conservation, Endangered Species Rehabilitation, Biology, Ecology, and/or Forestry.
Respect for and commitment to Rescate aims, objectives, and ethos.
The ability to work calmly around animals in a respectful and humane matter.
Over 18 age restriction alert icon
Must be 18 years of age or older.
You must be able to speak and read English or Spanish to participate in our programs
The experience traveling to a tropical country and living in a group setting are helpful but not required.
Flexibility, ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds.
A positive “can-do” attitude and the ability to work well in a globally diverse team environment
What is included?
What is not included?

Meet the team!

Who will you work with?
Wildlife interns work directly with our experienced wildlife managers.

Raquel Gil Carrasco

Valeria Scura del Hierro

Ellie Wiczling

Ellie Wiczling

Ethan Swart

Ethan Swart

Rachael Dumont

Rachael Dumont

Apply now for the Wildlife Internship

Fill out this application form to start your wildlife experience at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center - Zoave. By filling out the form, you will receive more information via email and be directly redirected to the application and booking tool. If you have any questions during the process, don’t hesitate to contact us directly. See you at Rescate! 🙂 🦥 🌴

Internship Experiences

Interview With Izzy, A Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center Veterinary Intern

This past week, I had the honor of learning about the experience of one of the first wildlife veterinary internship participants at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center: Izzy, who came in 2021 for five weeks. …

Intern Reviews

Mirella Schönlechner
Mirella Schönlechner
Austria, February 2022
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I did a veterinary internship last february. I loved working with the nice team (Sara❤️❤️❤️) and how they never make you feel stupid, even when you have never worked with some of the species. They always took time to explain stuff and let us work independently - which I enjoyed very much! I got the feeling to be a part of the team and even got my own patients to look after. It was an amazing time and I learned a lot in a very short time 😊
Norm Desjardins
Norm Desjardins
Canada, October 2023
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My experience at Rescate was more than I had hoped for thanks to the program staff (Jeanne Marie, Raquel, Valeria, Matius) and restaurant staff (Marco, Jason, Charlie, Melissa), as well as your housekeeper (Damaris) and driver (David). Everyone was incredibly responsive to my needs and questions be they work, logistics, or culture/Spanish pronunciation-related. Jeanne Marie, Raquel and Valeria regularly checked in with me that my requests were appropriately handled in a timely manner. I also appreciated the links and documents of fauna shared with me by both Raquel and Valeria. These managers placed a high priority on safety throughout my stay (I was reminded more than once to avoid putting my hand on the trunks of Acacia trees...and I needed those reminders :). This was all done with a consistently positive attitude no matter how busy they clearly were. Thanks to everyone!

I forgot to mention that I appreciated the workshops provided on birds (with Eduardo), reptiles (with Luca and Monika) and Wattled Cranes (with Jeanne Marie). They helped broaden my understanding of animal observation and care 😊.
Natalya Redmond
Natalya Redmond
England, 6.–26. August 2023
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This internship has taught me so much about wildlife medicine, from working up a case without a history and handling wild animals to species behavior and conservation. The team is absolutely fantastic, very supportive and the work that they do is so important, I would really recommend anyone considering it to get involved 😊
Hannah Sollohub
Hannah Sollohub
Grenada, May 2022
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My veterinary internship at Rescate was absolutely incredible! Dr. Isabel and Dr. Sofía made it a great learning experience and allowed me to get invaluable hands on experience. This internship made me realize my passion for wildlife conservation and medicine and is something I will cherish as I continue my path as a veterinary student. I would love to go back because I know I would still learn something new everyday and I hope that so many others get to discover the amazing place that Rescate is. I recommend this internship to everyone pursing an interest in exotic animals, rehabilitation, and Costa Rica’s biodiversity!
Rúben Joel Proença Seguro
Rúben Joel Proença Seguro
Portugal, 21st February–21st May2022
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I went to Costa Rica to have a new experience, a new culture shock and to learn more about one of my passions in veterinary medicine, wild animals! Being able to collaborate with the amazing Rescate project was a great pleasure and a sense of accomplishment on my part! I was always very well received by everyone, I met people and made friends that I will carry with me forever. I loved living in Costa Rica and I leave feeling like a better person, with a new culture and new knowledge.
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FAQ

Frequently asked questions
What to expect on your Internship at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center.

This depends on the Internship you’re choosing. For more information just apply on our application-form and we will send you a detailed list of everything you will be doing. Alternatively you can also check out each Internship-Website here: Veterinary Internship, Wildlife Internship & Road to Freedom Internship

No, there is a strict policy on contact with the animals. If you are in the Vet program you will have a little bit more hands on approach, but it is strictly based on medical care. You will not be cuddling any animals. Wildlife and Road to freedom interns will not have any physical contact with the animals.

Costs vary depending on length or stay or time of year. For more information, enquire now!

We can organize for a driver to pick you up at the airport or anywhere in Costa Rica. We are located in La Garita, Alajuela about 15 minutes from the San Jose airport. For more information click HERE.

Once you sign up for our programs, we will send you a packing list and a manual to help you prepare for your experience with us. For more information fill out this form here.

We require the Covid vaccine or a negative covid test. We recommend that you are vaccinated for tetanus.

Interns work 5 days per week, 8 hours per day with two consecutive days off.

We have various different things that can be done in the evenings including night tours, our onsite movie theater, going out for dinner with other volunteers/Interns, heading to the local farmers markets, games nights and more!

There are various tours and activities that can be done as a day trip from the central valley, or you are able to explore the country with maybe a visit to the volcanos, Manuel Antonio, or other beach areas.

For the Veterinary Internship we limit participation to 4 interns, for the Wildlife Internship we limit participation to 10 participants and for the Road to Freedom Internship we limit participation to 6 participants.

Yes, for more information on traveling outside of your stay with us, you can email Amy at amy(at)rescatewildlife.org

Yes, we have free wifi in the Internship-houses and various parts of the sanctuary, including the main entrance and restaurant. There is not wifi on all of the trails.

There is a pool at Rescate in La Garita Alajuela, and a pool at the local hotel near Bosque Escondido in Nicoya.

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Alajuela, COSTA RICA