Internships & Veterinary Education

Left to right: Dr(s). Wills, BWRC professional intern, Paquet-Durand, BWRC Founder & Director, and Green professional intern. Surgical prep.

Internship and Professional Training Programs at a glance: BWRC internships and educational programs focus on Wildlife Medicine and are geared towards veterinary students and veterinarians. BWRC’s programs also include rescue, rehabilitation, emergency medicine, and elements of conservation. Interns are typically pre-vet, veterinary students, or graduated vets seeking clinical experience. Veterinary students may conduct their clinical rotations with BWRC. The staff at BWRC understands the learning objectives appropriate for individual experience levels and adjusts individual programs accordingly. And because BWRC accommodates a small number of interns at a time, internships are customized based on individual desired learning or training objectives. BWRC’s internships start at a two weeks and may be extended for up to a year. BWRC offers three distinctive internship experiences:

 

Intern Helen Sung from UCLA with Coati patient at BWRC

Intern Helen Sung from UCLA with Coati patient at BWRC

BWRC Internship:This internship is designed for pre-vet and vet students and is customizable based on the interns individual learning objectives. Interns participate in the daily operations of BWRC, both in the clinic, and in the field. While no prior experience is required, BWRC selects individuals with strong interest in wildlife and conservation, and who are most likely to apply new knowledge and skills professionally. The BWRC internship typically includes site visits to several of our partner projects, and includes a bit of area recreation. The internship includes airport transfers and accommodations. The cost is $950 per week for the first two weeks and, $750 for each additional week. Special rates apply to longer term internships. For an application form contact our educational program manager Justin Ford at jford@wildlife-institute.com

 

 

 

Veterinary student observes as Veterinarian Intern performs physical exam.

Veterinary student observes as Veterinarian Intern performs physical exam.

Clinical Rotations: Designed for veterinary students during their clinical rotation year, BWRC has accommodated veterinary students from a number of vet schools around the world. Clinical Rotations are customized based on specific vet school requirements and student’s interests. The cost is $1,225 per week. For an application form contact our educational program manager Justin Ford at jford@wildlife-institute.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Drs. Jen and Angela excited about newly donated surgical caps.

Left to right Dr(s). Riley from Tufts vet school and Gimmel from U of Bern, Switzerland conducting 6 month professional internships at BWRC excited about newly donated surgical caps.

Professional Internship: This internship is designed for graduated veterinarians and requires a minimum commitment of 6 months with a probationary period. Professional interns are generally required to participate in both the daily operations and development of the BWRC. This opportunity is limited to 1-4 applicants per year. Admissions and fees for the probationary period depend both on the applicant’s qualifications, time commitment, and ability to pay. For an application form contact our educational program manager Justin Ford at jford@wildlife-institute.com.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Isabelle with Wildlife Medicine and Conservation students and BWRC interns at Wildtracks, a partner Manatee conservation project in Belize

Dr. Isabelle with Wildlife Medicine and Conservation students and BWRC interns at Wildtracks, a partner Manatee conservation project in Belize

Custom Internship: The staff at BWRC is committed to opening BWRC’s doors to a range of individuals with diverse interests. If you are interested in interning at BWRC, but don’t fit the above descriptions, contact us and state your interest in working with BWRC. We need support in a range of arenas that fall outside of veterinary and animal science; from developing educational material, to revising legislation, and grant writing.

 

 

 

Intern participates in Spider Monkey capture and relocation.

Intern Chelsea Canon of NMSU participates in Spider Monkey capture and relocation.

Daily Activities and Tasks at BWRC and Partner Organizations The following represents a list of tasks in which BWRC interns typically participate. Because of the dynamic nature of work at the BWRC, tasks and opportunities to work with different wildlife vary by circumstance. Intern’s level of participation in the medical arena is adjusted based on educational level and interest.  Handling and restraint of certain species which may include:

  • Birds including Parrots, Owls, Raptors, Toucans, Water Fowl and Seabirds among many others
  • A range of Neo-tropical mammals which have in the past included Howler and Spider Monkeys, Large and Small Cats, Tamandua, Opossums,  Tapir, among others.

Observing and participating in the physical intake exams/surgery

  • X-Ray and processor operation
  • Possible field site visits
  • Immobilization and restraint
  • Observing emergency medical care
  • Surgery (mostly trauma)
  • Laboratory work (fecals, parasitology)
  • Developing treatment plan including (determining fluid requirement, determining drug dosages; determining nutritional requirements for various species; instituting treatment plan)
  • Husbandry of infant and young mammals and birds
  • Patient food gathering, preparation, and feeding
  • Daily maintenance tasks are required for all interns (unless on rotation). This will include daily cleaning of facilities and cages, feeding, laundry, etc.

We encourage interns to apply to their home institution to receive academic credit for their internship at BWRC. Our interns are routinely awarded both credit and in many cases scholarships to cover some of their travel costs and program fees. If you are seeking academic credit, please provide forms to be filled out by your supervisor in advance of your arrival in Belize.

We encourage interns from around the world and do our best to accommodate a full range of diversity. For many of our interns, English may be a second language. As such, we require a basic working knowledge of English, and are happy to receive interns who are more comfortable working in Spanish, French, and German.

Applicants will be provided with a BWRC application and Medical form which states that applicants must provide their own comprehensive medical insurance which includes international air evacuation.

Housing: BWRC has limited space on-site for housing and it is generally reserved for professional interns. Interns are typically housed in San Ignacio-Santa Elena, four miles from the clinic. Housing may be a rented house or a hotel depending on time of year, duration and type of internship. 

Transportation: Airport transfer is provided to and from the International Airport 75 miles from the clinic. Interns utilize public transportation for their daily travel from their accommodation in town to the clinic; approximately 4 miles away. BWRC can not guarantee that a vehicle will be available to interns at all times. The commute requires approximately 15 minutes. Depending on internship duration and time of year, interns may also be awarded one and possibly more than one excursion provided by clinic staff during the course of their stay. Sites visited include Maya Ruins, Beach, Jungle Hiking, Swimming, Canoeing, Kayaking, Waterfall, or resort site visit. This is highly contingent on plans made on site between the intern(s) and their supervisor and subject to time allowance, weather conditions, etc.

Kitchen and Laundry: Interns typically have access to a kitchen with cooking utensils, stove, and basic appliances. However, interns must supply their own food. Washer and dryer may be on-site and may be utilized for a small fee. Otherwise laundry services are widely available in San Ingacio/Santa Elena.

Internship Fees: Internships at the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic play an important role in funding Wildlife Conservation in Belize. As such, our internships require fees starting at $750 per week (airfare not included). Professional internship fees reflect the applicant’s experience, duration of commitment, and other individual factors. Please contact our internship coordinator Justin Ford jford@wildlife-institute.com for more information about program fees and cost of staying in Belize.

About Belize: Approximately 40% of Belize is under protection; by far the largest percentage in the least populous country in Central America. Belize is endowed with the largest living barrier reef in the world, and the largest contiguous forest in the region. In the heart of the Neo-Tropics, the region  harboring the highest concentration of Bio-diversity in the world, conservation in Belize is of critical global importance. BWRC interns come to Belize in the spirit of conservation, and to learn. Along the way, they are introduced to one of “Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secrets”. It is a testament to Belize that BWRC interns have returned to Belize repeatedly, to continue the work they started through a course with Dr. Isabelle, an internship at the BWRC, or to continue to give back to a country full of promise and hope.

While you are in Belize, you will have the opportunity to see nature free of human impact; corals, rainforests, wildlife, and stunning scenery. But you will also see nature in retreat. At the BWRC you may find yourself providing care for a wild animal; shot, or hit by a vehicle. You may find yourself educating a skeptical public, or mitigating human wildlife conflict on the telephone. The realities of a developing country can be harsh and shocking at times. Belize is a land of great contrast; at once a peaceful, democratic nation racing toward development; and an backdrop for unsustainable growth. Belize is a last regional stronghold for wildlife; and much help is needed.  The Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic exists to provide humane treatment for wildlife when human-conflict occurs; made possible by governmental and non-governmental communities, and educational partners around the world.

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