Wild Instincts Rehabilitation Center Intern Opportunities

Wild Instincts is the ONLY wildlife rehab center in Northern WI permitted to treat all native WI species from mice to bears, humming birds to eagles, including threatened & endangered spp. The Director of Rehab has 25 yrs of professional rehab experience and has been a driving force for promoting wildlife rehab as a profession and is an IWRC Instructor. Our permits generally admit 500-800 animals annually from approximately 100 different species.

We offer three different intern sessions: Spring, Summer and Fall. Vacancies are posted (generally in early to middle January) on Texas A&M Job Board, IWRC Jobline and NWRA Job listings.

CONTACT: internship@wildinstinctsrehab.com

Qualifications: (This position may not be suitable for an individual with an auto-immune disorder or who may be pregnant)

         Minimum 1 yr college required, 2 yr preferred, with course work in wildlife, biology, animal science, ecology, ornithology, mammalogy , pre-vet or similar

         Current on tetanus vaccine

         Have valid driver's license

         Capable of rigorous outdoor work & physically traversing uneven terrain in all types of outdoor conditions

         Ability to lift a minimum of 50 lbs

         Ability to handle physically and emotionally stressful situations

         Ability to handle a demanding workload and long hours

         Ability to work independently or as a team

         Posses a strong personal work ethic and a high level of integrity

         Ability to organize, set goals, and meet deadlines; attention to detail

         Professional appearance and demeanor; ability to interact and communicate with the public, law enforcement, veterinarians and others

         Demonstrated ability to handle diverse, competing tasks independently, efficiently, and accurately; flexibility is a must

         Must be able to handle emotional aspects of euthanasia

         Sense of humor a plus!


Intern will:

         Be involved in all aspects of wildlife care from admission to release. This involves substantial animal husbandry responsibilities, limited basic medical work, administrative duties (record keeping and telephone work), and fieldwork involving rescues, releases and transportation of animals. Day-to-day responsibilities include feeding, cleaning enclosures, monitoring behavior and enrichment activities, dealing with the public.

         Work a 5-day work week, with attempt for 2 consecutive days off (if desired/needed)

         Work minimum 12 hr days (8am-8pm) depending on patient load

         Rehabilitation techniques will be taught appropriate to the Internís qualifications

         Medical work includes tube feeding, fluid administration, medicating, bandaging, lab work and record keeping, and even the potential for research projects by qualified Interns.

         Gain intensive, hands-on training and experience in the field of wildlife rehabilitation, focusing on animal nutrition, husbandry, feeding techniques, capture and restraint methods, release criteria, captive animal behaviors, and natural history;

         Learn from people with decades of professional wildlife rehab experience in all species of native Wisconsin wildlife.

         Quickly learn that animal caretaking is difficult, though rewarding work. Interns often say that this work is both the most challenging and most rewarding position they have ever had!



         A stipend of $75/wk will be awarded. Shared HOUSING with laundry facilities is provided on-site.

Some views from past interns:

Ashley   Summer 2015

                 Before my time at Wild Instincts I was unsure where my heart would settle in the animal care world, however, now I am certain it is alongside wildlife. This path is not for everyone; it demands the most devoted individuals whom are ready to give all of themselves to the animals they care for. Wildlife rehabilitation restores to nature what humans have taken. We as rehabilitators are forced to see the ugliest parts of the human race because of this. For those of you who believe you are ready pursue this internship position, I ask the following from you.  

1.       You admit to mistakes when they are made, lives depend on it.

2.       You care more about these animals than you have ever cared about anything else in your lives, this simply cannot be a hobby.

3.       You are ready to put in long days that sometimes end with tears and lasting grief.

4.       You understand that this job comes with cleaning, preparing diets, and construction. These aspects of animals care are just as important as hands on medical attention.

5.       You wake up every morning with the intention to do better than you had done the day before.

                 My time at Wild Instincts had taught me so much about myself; I find more value in my abilities than I ever have before. I came to the North Woods with a background primarily in equine medicine with experience caring for neonate sheep and your basic companion animals. I had just finished my freshman year at Iowa State University studying Animal Ecology (my only real exposure to the field of wildlife prior to the internship). I remember arriving and being so eager to handle my first squirrel, and I have to say I never lost that feeling during my whole stay. With every animalís chart I would pull to complete medical treatment, feeding, and cleaning the passion in my heart for rehabilitation only continued to grow.

                 I want to share one of my most meaningful cases with you, perhaps it can lend you a more vivid idea of what to expect if granted the opportunity to intern for this center. The first to come into my mind is an adult female Porcupine whom suffered severe head trauma and body wounds after being hit by a car. Upon admission she was extremely painful, yet one of the toughest animals I have ever been gifted to be in the presence of.  We flushed her wounds, applied the appropriate dressing, and administered subcutaneous fluids to remedy her dehydration. Due to her head trauma she could not eat whole foods; we made her meals blended and fed via large dropper. I will never forget the moments I spent feeding her. I was her hands, teeth, and bodily support.

                 There are many cases I carry with me everyday; miracles I will never forget. The 2015 totals were 663 patients of 98 different species from 37 different counties with a 70.96% success rate. With heartbreak there is also reward, to finally release the animal you have been caring for after weeks is one of the most beautiful events to take part in. It is the ultimate reward to return to nature an animal that has an inherent right to the life they were given there. I hope in my writing you found parts that resonate with you and lead you to apply. If honored the position you will get to work alongside individuals whom paved the way for ethical rehabilitation and continue to do so.

Jennifer  Summer/Fall 2015

 While I was at the center, 5 other interns and I were responsible for assisting Mark and Sharon in caring for over 150 animals that have either been injured, orphaned, diseased, or displaced. The goal of taking care of these animals was the possibility of releasing them back into the wild where they belong.

Under Mark and Sharon I learned how hard and time consuming it is to be a rehabilitator. Mark and Sharon are on call 365 days a year with barely any breaks of their own. The center is on call 24/7, so if someone were to call at 3 am in the morning for an injured eagle, you best to believe that Mark or Sharon will have found a volunteer to retrieve the eagle or have gone out themselves to rescue the eagle. It is amazing how selfless, kind, and benevolent Mark and Sharon are. People say you can tell how compassionate someone is by how they treat their petsÖ but I wonder if people can tell how compassionate Mark and Sharon are for their treatment of all wildlife species.

With their guidance, I was able to learn valuable skills I wouldnít have learned even after working at several vet hospitals. I learned to admit patients of all species and determine their cause of injury or sickness. I learned how to tube feed baby animals, restrain different species, sub-Q different avian species, as well as calculate and medicate drugs in accordance to the species and weight of the animal. Itís amazing how hands-on Sharon and Mark allow their interns to be at Wild Instincts, even letting us assist in rescue missions. However, with more experience comes a greater responsibility and dedication from the interns. Most of the interns and I worked countless amount of hours a week as well as spent a lot of our own free time at the center making sure the animals were well cared for and had a good chance of being released. I had many sleepless nights wondering if one of the hawks would finally fly in the flight cage or if the baby bunnies would survive overnight. The whole experience was definitely stressful but amazing nonetheless.

Paige   Summer 2015

I believe Wild Instincts is the place to have your first internship or to continue your learning of wild rehabilitation. Mark and Sharon are some of the finest rehabbers/natural resource educators around. Be prepared for long days and nights, but to feel the reward of doing the work you are doing. My internship changed my life and my thought of the career field and I cannot imagine not continuing this path.

Yes there are days where you are pushed to your limits, but you have to look at the bigger picture of what this is all about and to know you are making a difference and that all that work you are doing will come when you see those patients released into their habitat. You become their mother in a sense and you have to do everything correctly and not cut corners because that is endangering the wildlife in your care. Cleaning all cages properly and putting the necessary scrutiny of detail in all the tasks at hand. You need to be willing to work and trust me it is worth it!

Mark and Sharon really care about what you are learning, how you are learning and why you are doing certain things. You will make mistakes and trust me they happen and your job is to learn quickly the correct way to do the responsibilities of wildlife rehab. You not only learn wildlife rehab but all the elements of the natural resource field from plant id, birdcalls and the natural history of the animals in your care. All these come in handy to wildlife rehab and it is so interesting to learn all the aspects and come out a more rounded individual in this field.

I was lucky enough to be awarded my internship here and am so thankful that I live near the area and have been able to continue to help and further my learning because one summer is not enough to learn it all in this field. Know you will be challenged during your internship and will be angry, sad, happy and in-between all in one day, but trust me this experience is a once in a life time opportunity and be proud if they award you this internship.

Katherine  Summer 2017

I view my summer at Wild Instincts as a journey. On this Journey I learned about animals, people, and myself more than I have from any other professional opportunity. During the summer of 2017 I assisted Mark and Sharon in caring for orphaned, injured, and displaced wildlife patients. The experience is one I will never forget.

If you plan to take your own journey at Wild Instincts, there are some aspects of the job you must accept. At Wild Instincts, I felt I was in a sea of life and death. There were incredible uplifting moments. I watched baby squirrels open their eyes for the first time, witnessed animals on the brink of death make miraculous recoveries, held an eagle before watching it fly into the horizon, and so much more. On those same days, I saw many animals who were in pain and animals who passed away. Sometimes these moments, good or bad, hit me unexpectedly.  

There are some challenging moments you will come across working in wildlife rehabilitation. The hardest part for me was making mistakes that directly affected the wellbeing of an animal. Mark and Sharon are generous enough to give interns the experience they need to become wildlife professionals even if it means those interns will make mistakes. Be honest. Reflect. Improve. Others will make mistakes as well. Forgive yourself and those around you and always give it your all.

At the end of my summer internship at Wild Instincts, I felt I had come out a stronger person. It was certainly the most humbling job I have ever had in my life and by far the most rewarding. I will remember my experiences at Wild Instincts for the rest of my life.



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