Great Cats World Park is growing every year. We see more visitors and thereby require more staff annually, and as a result also have room for more interns who are seeking future careers in fields ranging from veterinary to research, and from zoo keeping to education. Our quiet winter season is the ideal time to speak with potential future members of our small and intimate staff. This is when we can easily schedule interviews and job-shadow days.
Most of our staff started with us as either interns or volunteers. Due to the nature of any facility that houses large predators, a lot of time and focus is spent on teaching safety protocol. An internship with Great Cats World Park is comprehensive, hands-on, lengthy, and unpaid. A successful completion of the internship does not necessarily lead to a paid position with us, but it will leave the intern with a wealth of knowledge, skill, and experience that proves invaluable as they move forward into their chosen career path. Interns and Keepers see to the daily care and feeding to the resident cats, and they become the face of the park as knowledgeable and accommodating tour guides. The interactive tour offered at the Park is not just a source of our funding, but also our way giving back to the world through public education. A candidate's ability to learn and faithfully recall the tour script is paramount to his or her success, and that of the Park.
Below is an outline of projects, activities and tasks that can be expected as part of any normal day. This is a living document, and much like the Park itself will change and grow as time moves forward.
- · Safety protocol – Display an understanding of safety rules in regard to maintaining distance from enclosures, and operation of guillotine style doors and double-lock door system. Identify and know the location of tools and equipment such as fire extinguishers, two-way radios, and watering implements. Develop an understanding of all the safety guidelines provided in the Employee Handbook.
- · USDA standards and regulations in regard to keeping and exhibiting large felids.
- · Basic feline husbandry including diet preparation and feline nutrition, cleaning and disinfection of enclosures, and proper use of tools, materials and substrates.
- · Enrichment for exotic felines, including mental and physical stimulation with an understanding of what dangers may lie in the use of improper materials, timing, or introduction of enrichment.
- · Public speaking and education – Learn the full script and enough ancillary information on the park’s resident cats and other cats both in the wild and in captivity so as to further the interests of endangered species worldwide.
- · Breeding of exotic felines in accordance with the Species Survival Plan (SSP), as well as what animals beyond felines are involved with the SSP and its history.
- · Observe captive feline behavior so to recognize and understand any changes in behavior that may indicate changes in health or wellbeing.
- · Actively participate in daily behavioral adjustment of captive felines by learning to control your own body language and verbal cues when interacting with cats as a part of the guided tours.
- · Zoonotic diseases – Learn the most common ailments likely in a captive environment, and how to recognize signs.
- · Animal health assessments - Know what to look for in eyes, ears, gait, stools, eating habits, weight, and what changes in behavior and physiology might tell you about the cat’s overall health.
- · Enclosure design – Both for the wellbeing of the cat and the safety of the public and the keepers.
- · When applicable: assist in handling of cubs, bottle feeding, manual elimination, and bathing.
- · Assist in welcome center/gift shop – To include expediting tour groups, public relations, maintaining the cleanliness of the public areas, cash handling, inventory control and security.