Reptile Medicine & Conservation Internship

Perfect for vet, pre-vet and animal science students interested in reptile medicine, research and conservation.

Note that we do charge a small registration fee of $50.00

Register Now

Course Dates

  • This program is offered on-demand for a minimum of 2 persons. Private groups and custom itineraries available.

Contact us for more information regarding our course dates or simply fill our online form.

Contact us
Application Form

Course Summary

This internship combines work at 4 different centers in Belize. Interns hone their technical and clinical skills with the veterinary team at the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic (BWRC). Interns then conduct hands-on work at the Green Iguana Project and BFREE’s Central American River Turtle Project (Dermatemys mawii). Interns study Crocodile population health and ecology at the Crocodile Research Coalition.  Participants travel from the jungle covered mountains of the Cayo district to the the warm turquoise Caribbean waters and Belize Barrier Reef while meeting and learning from veterinary, research and conservation professionals. This internship is offered once annually and enrollment is limited. 

Learning Objectives:

This program improves student’s knowledge and abilities in the following areas

  • Understanding the role and key challenges and opportunities for veterinarians and conservation professionals in reptile medicine and conservation.

  • Critical conservation issues in the tropics, and specific examples of their challenges with focus on human wildlife conflict and illegal pet trade.

  • Wildlife/reptile immobilization, handling, restraint and examination.

  • Reptile medical approaches.

  • Reptile stressors and risk evaluation.

  • Practice all aspects of reptile husbandry.

  • Reptile rehabilitation methods and approaches.

  • The role of community based conservation organizations, NGOs and governmental entities in conservation.

  • Clinical procedures for reptiles.

  • Immobilization & restraint for specific reptiles, including crocodiles.

  • Zoo and preventative medicine.
  • Reptile transport.

  • Husbandry and nutrition of Neotropical species.

  • Reptilian parasitology & neotropical zoonotic diseases.

  • Field data collection methods.

  • Develop field observation skills.

  • Guatemala may be included in some itineraries (N/A due to Covid-19)


Note on wildlife rescue or emergency field visits: The need for wildlife rescue or emergency visits is unpredictable. Past students and interns have been involved in a number of wildlife rescue, relocation, and emergency response situations. When such occasions arise, BWRC will make every effort for the student to observe or in some cases participate in these efforts.



BWRC arranges housing at local hotels and guest houses for interns and students. Standard accommodations include multiple occupancy, shared bath and kitchenette. Upgrades and private accommodations are available upon request. 


Program Fees

  1. International Veterinary Experience  $4,450 (24 days)

  2. Wildlife Medicine & Conservation $2,750 (12 days); $1,850 (8 days)

  3. Small Animal Veterinary Experience $2,750 (12days)

  4. Wild-Spring-Break $1,850 (8 days)

  5. Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Continuing Education Course $1,850 (8 days)

  6. Custom or private group pricing varies. – Contact us

What’s Included

See what all is included in this course. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.

  • Tuition

  • Lab Fees

  • Hotel Accommodations, Free shared Wifi

  • Airport Transfer

  • Payments & Donations to BWRC

  • Program T-shirt

Application Deadlines

Applications for courses, internships and continuing education are accepted on a rolling basis. Space is limited, so if you’re interested, contact us now to confirm availability.

We recommend that you contact your study abroad advisor or department head about financial aid deadlines and receiving credit for BWRC programs. If your home institution doesn’t have an agreement with us, we can provide them with the necessary information.

register now


Please click the button below to make a payment then enter the amount due. If you wish to make a payment using your credit card, but without having or creating a PayPal Account, use the bottom right option once you reach the PayPal window. Note for credit card payments, you must add 2.5% to your total.

Credit card payment

Mail Check or Money Order
Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic c/o Isabelle Paquet-Durand
P.O. Box 226
San Ignacio, Cayo
Belize, Central America

For security reasons, please email us for wire-transfer instructions.

  • Deposits are non-refundable.
  • Program payments (apart from deposits) are refundable until 120 days prior to course commencement.
  • After 120 days prior to program commencement, only 50% of the program fee (apart from registration fees) may be refunded.
  • After 60 days prior to program commencement, no refund is available on any part of the payment.
  • Refunds will be processed within 30 days of cancellation.
  • Refunds will be returned minus processing and transfer fees.


Base on frequently asked questions, we’ve created this section for you to read as it’s very important information for you to know before.



Transfers from the International Airport to your accommodations are arranged with local companies. Interns are generally housed within walking distance of their internship station. Under some circumstances, interns may be asked to use public transportation.


Belize is a beautiful eco-tourism destination bounding with outdoor recreational opportunities, Maya Archeological Parks, Caves, Rivers, Waterfalls and of course the largest reef in the Caribbean! We encourage our guests to visit local attractions during their stay with us and we can help plan your excursions.


Students enrolled in courses have breakfasts, most lunches and some dinners included. No kitchen is needed. Laundry service is available. Interns have access to a kitchen with cooking utensils, stove, and basic appliances (as available). Interns must supply their own food. Laundry services are available in San Ignacio/Santa Elena.


Interns and students are routinely filmed and photographed during BWRC wildlife rescue events. If you are not willing to be on film or in photographs, please inform the photographer on site.

Financial Planning

Study abroad has become a requisite part of University student life. Vet schools and residency programs seek applicants with clinical experience and students seek international experience to help them gain a competitive edge. Veterinary scholarships are scarce. At the BWRC, our study abroad programs are life-changing opportunities for students to cultivate their global perspective while participating in world-class veterinary study abroad programs. We at the BWRC do our best to design cost-competitive, one-fee programs that cover your tuition and most of your expenses during your trip. We encourage our students to be proactive in raising the necessary funds for their trip; seeking scholarships & grants, actively fund-raising and even taking out more student loans if necessary. We encourage students to plan 6-12 months ahead allowing ample time to secure funding and plan personal schedules around their study abroad trip.

Financial Planning Tips
  • Ask yourself if you can afford this at this time. Give yourself plenty of time to financially prepare.
  • Decide how much you and your family can contribute to your study abroad experience. Be sure to include a budget for your program tuition, flight, additional meals, supplemental insurance and some spending money.
  • Ask yourself if you work more or save more, how much could you contribute to your study abroad trip.
  • Set a personal fund raising goal and research methods that others have used to raise money for their study abroad. Ideas include work-sponsored events, an event you organize such as a yard sale, dinner or silent auction and judicious use of crowd-funding.
  • Ask your University Financial Aid adviser for tips on securing scholarships, grants and whether loans may be applied to your study abroad and related expenses.
  • Start 6-12 months ahead researching study abroad scholarships.
  • Apply for financial aid. You may use the FAFSA to apply for student financial aid to fund your study abroad.

 I was able to learn about veterinary medicine in domestic and wildlife animals while experiencing a different culture than my own. The BWRC opened my eyes to the human, animal and environmental interface, known as One Health, in a developing country. 

Crystal Popish
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

I wanted to say how awesome is Belize Wildlife & Referral clinic and its partner non-profit organization Wildlife institute, based on my experience for 30 days of working as a volunteer veterinarian with them. 

Dr. Paramesh Kurapati DVM,MS
Associate Veterinarian, Banfield Pet Hospital

BWRC attracts me not only because of the variety of the patients we treated everyday, which ranged from reptiles to mammals and even birds, but more importantly, the persistence and passion of Dr. Isabelle has for her work make me love this place even more.

Katherine Zhou

We also offer courses for private and custom groups. Contact us.
Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google