Guest Vets

Guest Vets

A number of wonderful vets have helped Big Cat Rescue, including:
Dr. Helga Bleyaert, VMD, DACVS http://bluepearlvet.com/helga-bleyaert/

Dr. Callum Hay, BVMS, DACVS http://www.vetsurgical.net/about-us/staff-bios/

Dr. Fay Herrero, DVM http://www.odessaequine.com/about-us/fay-o-herrero-dvm/

Dr. Curtis Kane, DVM Oncology http://bluepearlvet.com/curtis-kane/

Dr. Megan Meyers, DVM http://www.cypressequine.com/

Dr. Sami Pederson, DVM http://bluepearlvet.com/sami-pederson-dvm/

Dr. Tammy Miller Michau, DVM, MS, MSpVM, DACVO http://bluepearlvet.com/tammy-miller-michau/

Dr. R. Michael Peak, DVM, DAVDC http://www.thepetdentist.com/meet-the-doctors.php

Abbreviations:

BVMS – Bachelor of Veterinary Science

DACVS – Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons

DAVCO – Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

DAVDC – Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College

DVM / VMD – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

DVM / VMD – Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Big Cat Vets in Action

and more.

Meet the Big Cat Rescue Team. See a typical day at the sanctuary.

Meet Big Cat Rescue Veterinarians

Liz Wynn
Liz
 
Wynn, DVM
Primary Vet
Primary Vet since 2003. Donates her time.
Justin Boorstein
Justin
 
Boorstein, DVM
Primary Vet
Primary Vet since 2012. Donates his time.
Dr. Tammy Miller Michau, DVM, MS, MSpVM, DACVO
Tammy
 
Miller, DVM, MS, MSpVM, DACVO
Eye Specialist
Donates her time.
Dr Karla Bard
Karla
 
Bard
Guest Vet
Dr Sami Pederson DVM
Sami
 
Pederson, DVM
Guest Vet
Donates her time.
Dr. Callum Hay, BVMS, DACVS
Callum
 
Hay, BVMS, DACVS
Orthopedic Surgeon
Guest Vet. Provides reduced price and donated care.
Wade-Gingerich-DVM
Wade
 
Gingerich
Guest Dentist
Dr. R. Michael Peak, DVM, DAVDC
R. Michael
 
Peak, DVM, DAVDC
Dentist
Guest Vet. Donates his time.
Dr. Curtis Kane, DVM
Curtis
 
Kane, DVM
Oncology
Guest Vet. Donates his time.
Dr. Helga Bleyaert, VMD, DACVS
Helga
 
Bleyaert, VMD, DACVS
Guest Vet
Donates her time.
Dr Fay Herrero DVM
Fay
 
Herrero, DVM
Guest Vet.
Donates his time.
Dr. Megan Meyers, DVM
Megan
 
Meyers, DVM
Guest Vet
Donates her time.
Vet-Guest
Guest
 
Vets
Donating time

 

Reintroducing Big Cats

Reintroducing Big Cats

How To Reintroduce Big Cats

People often ask why we don’t let our cats all live together in one big yard.  I used to think they were just baiting me to snap at them, because exotic cats will kill each other and at the end of the day there would only be one cat left standing.  As the years rolled into decades I realized that most people just don’t know anything about wild animals; especially wild cats.  Their questions are sincere and we have answered countless queries about why big cats don’t like sharing space.  The question I am addressing here today is:

Why Do You Have to Reintroduce Cats Who Have Always Lived Together?

The reason is that cats are solitary by nature.  They don’t like sharing space for the most part.  It is our human interference, based on our primate mentality that likes companionship, that insists cats would be happier in pairs or groups too.  It just isn’t true.

When we say this, we inevitably get the “Oh yeah, well what about lions? or cheetah?”

TigersAndreArthurPlayFightingStandUp

Those are social groups of family members.  Lions don’t just head out looking for new friends to add to their pride.  Males take over prides by killing the competing males and all of the cubs.  Cheetah who work in groups are usually male siblings who find it easier to work in a pack until they develop better skills.  Cheetah are so inbred and thus so rare in captivity that they almost never end up in sanctuaries and there have never been any here.  We have tried, over the years, to introduce lions to each other, but it’s never worked for us.  Other places do it, but I don’t know how they can give individuals the care they need when they are in large groups.

ChelseaFeenyFeedingTigerThere will always be spats, over the best sleeping spots, the best lookout spots, the best toys, and especially over food.  It’s kind of like the old joke about men and remote controls; “They don’t want to know what is on T.V., they want to know what else is on T.V.” The same goes for cats in groups.  It doesn’t matter how much food there is or how often they get fed, cats always want to know what the other cats got, and that leads to fights.  At Big Cat Rescue we separate cats at feeding time until everyone in the pair or group is done eating so we can be sure they had plenty of time to eat in peace and to make sure that any who are on meds got their medication.  The minute you open the gates back up they are checking out the other feeding lockouts to see what the other cats might have had.

 

 

Reintroductions

When a cat is pulled from a group for surgery or medical care there is always a tense process of reintroducing them.  First we put them back into the enclosure, but separated into their own section.  We may switch them out between sections to get their scent on things again and to re acclimate them to the terrain.  When possible we will make the reintroduction in the heat of the day when no body wants to exert energy on fighting.  We make the reintroductions brief and stand by ready to break it up with water hoses, noise makers or fire extinguishers.  As long as the fights are just noise and not involving any actual contact we will continue the sessions together for longer periods of time until we are sure they are going to get along.

Why Do It At All?

It is such a tedious and dangerous process to introduce wild cats to each other and to reintroduce them, you might wonder why we do it at all if they would rather have their own space.  There are a few reasons.

bobcats grooming by Beth Stewart

Bobcats Grooming by Beth Stewart

1.  As the cats age they are less apt to fight and more apt to actually help each other groom spots they can’t reach.  They need to have learned to live together when they were younger if they are going to trust each other when they begin losing their sight, hearing or mobility.

2.  Captivity is boring and sometimes just having someone to fuss with or about is better than nothing.

3.  This could be a sub heading to #2 above, but cats are highly intelligent and problem solving keeps them from losing their minds in captivity.  For those cats who will tolerate company at all, it is an opportunity for them to work things out with their cage mates.

Sometimes you will see us post comments about how much the cats love each other or we might say other anthropomorphic things about our cats, but that is just to entertain and engage with our audience.  We know cats have their own way of doing things and their own agendas.  We are just trying to help get their issues out to the masses who may become more involved in doing what is necessary to protect these cats in the wild and to end the practices of breeding them for life in cages.

 

Cat Chat 69

Cat Chat 69

Meet Olga Bellon on Cat Chat Show 69

Olga Bellon gets a crash course in big cat care at Big Cat Rescue to implement in the new big cat facility being built in Spain as part of AAP.  Download the  Lower Res Podcast File here.

More about Big Cat Rescue’s work with AAP Primadomus

Big Cat Rescue was recruited to offer our expertise and guidance in the development of a rescue center in Spain that will be broadening their focus from primates to now include big cats.  AAP Primadomus is located on more than 400 acres in Villena and currently houses a variety of primates that have been rescued from private ownership, circuses, and laboratories. They are now expanding their focus to also rescue countless lions and tigers that are in need across their country.

In an effort to prepare for this project nearly a dozen experts were invited to a symposium that focused on sharing information regarding the proper care of big cats in captivity, emergency protocol development, and enclosure design. Big Cat Rescue President Jamie Veronica and volunteer veterinarian Justin Boorstein travelled to Spain and joined experts from Italy, South Africa, France, Austria, the Netherlands and all across the United Kingdom.

Over the course of three days the team worked tirelessly to provide as much information as possible to the members of not only AAP Primadomus, but its origin center Stitching AAP. Stitching AAP is a rescue center for apes, monkeys and small exotic animals in the Netherlands that was founded more than 35 years ago.

The symposium was a huge success. Big Cat Rescue will continue to work with AAP remotely throughout the development process. We are so pleased to provide assistance to organizations that are saving big cats across the globe!

 

Primadomus Success 2015

Dear all,

It has passed almost 2 years since you came to Villena to help us in this new project for us.

https://www.aap.nl/nl/news/leeuw-reza-staat-al-13-jaar-langs-de-weg

We are very proud to inform you that we finally made this reality and wanted to share it with you, so you can witness from distance the good job we all did! We had to take some time after being able to share graphic info, that’s why I contact you today, but we have had all you in mind during this time.

Last Friday we rescued our 4 first animals. We are very happy to give them a better life in our facilities.
I hope you enjoy!! And of course, you are all welcomed to come to visit us and see it by your own eyes.

Best regards,  Pilar

Legislative Intern

Legislative Intern

Legislation & Advocacy Intern Position Description

The Legislation & Advocacy Intern [LAI] works under the direction of the Director of Outreach, the Founder, and the Operations Manager. As with all other intern paths, the LAI must complete approximately 600 hours of service during the 12-week internship.

This is equivalent to working approximately 50 hours per week. Interns may be required to work more or less hours as needed by the sanctuary.

LAIs must follow the same policies and procedures as Animal Care Interns. More information can be found on our website at:

http://bigcatrescue.org/get-involved/volunteer/intern/

 

SUMMARY

 

Lobby Day

Lobby Day

The objective of the LAI is to support the Director of Outreach in promoting legislation, advocating for the welfare of big cats, and educating the public on the issues facing exotic cats, specifically private ownership and exploitation. Our goal is to end the trade by working with guests, supporters, voters, government agencies, and legislators to pass laws and implement stronger regulations and policies.

The LI will gain invaluable experience in the inner workings of a unique animal welfare nonprofit that not only rescues exotic cats and operates one of the largest accredited sanctuaries of its kind in the world, but also educates and actively works to end to trade of big cats through legislation and policy.

The LAI must be comfortable speaking to guests and meeting new people. They must also work effectively with staff, volunteers,  and fellow interns.

LAIs begin in Partner training to learn guest relations and how to guide tours, to better familiarize themselves with the mission of the sanctuary and become familiar with the daily operations of the sanctuary. Much of the initial training consists of the basic knowledge needed to be a valued intern. As a LAI advances through the program they will learn specific skills pertaining to BCR’s advocacy, education, legislative activities.

This internship position does not involve keeper duties (i.e. cat feeding, operant training, cleaning, meds administration). Although you will have the benefit of working at the sanctuary, your work will not directly involve any of our cats.

At this time, we will not consider applicants outside the U.S.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

 

 Must be at least 18 years old.

 Must be a U.S. citizen.

 Possess a valid driver’s license or photo I.D.

 Must be fluent in English, both written and verbal. Above average writing skills.

 Internet savvy. Proficient in Microsoft Suite applications Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Familiar with Google applications.

 Must be comfortable advocating and soliciting support for animal welfare in subject areas that may be controversial or sensitive (e.g. circuses, zoos, ownership of exotic animals, hunting, animals in entertainment, fur, breeding).

 Must be professional and polite and retain this manner is potentially stressful or contentious situations.

Legislative Intern

SPECIAL DEMANDS

 

 Capable of lifting and carrying at least 50 lbs., possess vision and hearing at adequate levels, good health and endurance for working outdoors in all types of weather.

 Complete disclosure of any prescription drugs, allergies and physical limitations.

 Interns must obtain a tetanus vaccination, at their own expense, that will be good for the duration of the internship, prior to participating in the internship program and must submit proof of vaccination.

 Able to financially support themselves for the duration of the internship.

 Travel may be required to attend meetings, conferences, and events.

 Ability to work standing for long periods of time.

Florida Animal Control Association FACA

JOB DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES

 

a. Lead actions on-site, at events, and at presentations. BCR is very committed to changing the way society interacts and uses exotic cats. To that end, we are always actively pursuing public action – whether that is asking guests to call their legislators, sign petitions, submit comment, or sign their name to a pledge. There is a special area in our Gift Shop dedicated to these activities, called the “Action Space”. The LAI is responsible for leading the actions under the direction of the Director of Outreach. Similarly, the LAI may be asked to lead an action at events or presentations.

b. Guide group tours, education tours (children & adults), and tours privately scheduled by the Director of Outreach. Unlike our standard group tours, these tours are spoken tours and require knowledge of the cats (history, environment, behavior, adaptations, diet, species), our sanctuary’s evolution and operations, conservation in the wild, and the issues we are working to resolve (private ownership, animal handling, the illegal trade, abuse, poaching).

c. Represent BCR at community events, outreach venues, and educational presentations including meetings and conferences where BCR is an exhibitor, speaker, participant, sponsor, or beneficiary.

d. Successfully complete Legislation & Advocacy Intern training classes in addition to the BCR training classes required by level 1 interns.

e. Presenting to schools, student groups, community groups and organizations.

f. Promote BCR campaigns to guests and public such as the Pledge to Be Circus Free and Big-Cat Friendly Tourist campaign.

g. The LAI may be asked to support the Founder or Director of Outreach with online advocacy activities facilitated through CatLaws.com and our website. This may include emailing actions to supporters, identifying supporters in key congressional districts, or following-up with supporters after they have visited BCR.

h. Additional duties such as writing articles, research, data entry, general office duties, assisting the Founder and Director of Outreach, and providing back-up support to the Operations Manager and Gift Shop staff as needed.

i. Create media and other outreach tools in support of our actions and campaigns.

The preceding position description is designed to indicate the general nature and essential duties and responsibilities of work performed by a Legislation & Advocacy Intern [LAI]. It may not contain a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of Legislation & Advocacy Interns.

 

 

DBC-2015-02-27 09.53.43

 

 

FEES & DEPOSITS

A $50 fee is required to be paid upon confirmation of the interview session. This non-refundable fee is for the cost of a criminal background check. A deposit of $300 must be submitted upon acceptance into the program. This deposit holds the internship slot and insures against failure to complete the requirements of the internship or damages to the radio, housings, or Big Cat Rescue property. Upon successful completion of the program, passing inspection of radio and housings, and not having damaged Big Cat Rescue property the intern will receive the deposit back. Fees and deposits are collected via credit card. The $300 deposit will not be returned to you if you; cancel your internship before it has started, do not show up on your scheduled start date, fail to successfully complete the internship, do not pass your housing inspections, do not return the radio in good working order, damage Big Cat Rescue property, leave the internship early, or are terminated from the internship due to breach of the Intern Orientation Contract.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Intern Housing Tiger Tail Lodge at Big Cat Rescue

Intern Housing Tiger Tail Lodge at Big Cat Rescue

Intern Housing at Big Cat Rescue provides free intern housing for up to 15 interns. All interns have their own private bedrooms, access to local phone lines, wireless internet, access to a shared computer and shared bathroom, kitchen and T.V. areas. Intern housing is stocked with linens, towels, pots, pans, dishes, etc., cleaning supplies, motion of alcohol or use of illegal drugs is strictly prohibited throughout the duration of the internship.

Special exceptions for drinking alcohol may be made for BCR organized volunteer gatherings only. Specific announcements will be made to the interns in these cases. Smoking areas are provided outside of the housings and at designated areas of the sanctuary.

Staff may reside in Intern Housings. Housings are for staff and interns only; guests are not permitted on the property or within the housings. If an intern is receiving a ride from another volunteer or a guest, that volunteer or guest must wait outside the entrance gate for the intern. They may not drive onto BCR property. Interns are permitted to live off-site in their own accommodations at their own expense.

Personal pets are not permitted in intern housings. See Intern Housing at Big Cat Rescue.

TRANSPORTATION

All interns are responsible for the cost of their own transportation, and long distance phone calls. Interns are allowed one vehicle for personal transportation and must be parked in approved intern parking area. Interns with vehicles must assist interns without transportation with grocery store trips and staff with picking up and dropping off interns at the airport. Interns that do not have transportation are encouraged to give a reasonable amount of money to the driver for fuel.

GROCERY REIMBURSEMENTS AND STIPENDS

Each intern will be reimbursed for up to $50 of food costs each week (if receipts are submitted to the Intern Manager in a timely manner). A small stipend is available to help defray the cost of living for interns who are granted the Level 2-4 Internships. Upon acceptance into the Level 2-4 Internships, there may be a two week probationary period during which time a stipend is not offered. Following the probationary period, performance will be assessed by the Operations Manager.

ADDITIONAL POLICIES (General Big Cat Rescue Policies)

Animal Contact: Big Cat Rescue is a strict no contact facility. At no time, under any circumstances, will any part of your person come into direct contact with any animal at Big Cat Rescue. Nor shall you use any object to touch an animal such as a stick or pole etc. (There is a back scratcher program that is available to Senior and Master Keepers, this program is strictly monitored and is for the purpose to assist animals with removing matted fur.)

Animal Care: No animal abuse of any kind will be tolerated, including teasing, and is grounds for immediate dismissal. No food or toys shall be offered to any animal without approval from the Coordinator, Operations Manager, CEO or President. No animal shall ever be removed from its cage or enclosure without the express consent of the CEO or President. Notification of animal issues including veterinary procedures, moving animals and quarantined animals, etc will be posted on the Important Updates.

Security of Animal Information Files: Any printed or digital information about the cats and their health must always be readily available to our staff, vets, and appropriate volunteers. Such information shall not be moved, copied, altered, shared, deleted, or taken off of the property without express permission from the CEO or President.

General Safety: No part of your person shall ever pass through the bars of any enclosure at any time. No person shall run or horseplay on the property. An Emergency Contact, medications, allergies, and medical conditions are listed for each volunteer and intern in their digital Volgistics record which all coordinators have access to. Any person feeling under the weather should contact their coordinator to reschedule their volunteer time. Smoking is permitted in the designated “smoking areas” only. Absolutely no alcohol or drugs are allowed on the property at any time. No person shall enter the premises for eight hours after having consumed any alcoholic beverages or narcotics. Any person believed to be impaired due to alcohol or drugs will be removed from the property.

Entering Enclosures: No person shall enter any enclosure without direct permission from the Volunteer Coordinator, Operations Manager, President or CEO. Prior to entering any enclosure the animal will be safely locked out of the section of the enclosure to be entered. The Operations Manager can “lock out” cats smaller than lynx. The President or CEO must be present to “lock out” cats that are lynx and larger. When an animal is “locked out” it will be moved to another section of its enclosure. The separating guillotine door will be shut, a pole placed over the frame of the guillotine door to prevent its opening, a clip gate installed over the guillotine door and then a pad lock placed on the entrance door for the section housing the animal. When entering any enclosure, the safety door must be closed shut with a minimum of 2 snaps prior to opening the entrance door to the side of the enclosure the animal is locked out of. This entrance door must then also be closed shut with a minimum of 2 snaps. At no time should either door be left open, even if the enclosure is not inhabited by an animal.

Modifying Enclosures: No person shall make modifications to any enclosure without direct instruction from the Volunteer Coordinator, Operations Manager, President or CEO.

Drills: Every month the Volunteer Committee will post an electronic drill in the Volunteer Newsletter. The drill will consist of a scenario such as an injured guest or animal emergency, and course of action options for the intern to select or fill in. Each intern must read the monthly Volunteer Newsletter and mark that they have read it as well as complete the electronic drill. The Volunteer Committee will review the results of the drill and will council any intern that may have answered insufficiently or incorrectly.

First Aid Kits: There are fully stocked be first aid kits in the; Gift Shop, Volunteer Sign In, Food Prep, Cooling Station, Main Office, E-Center, and Party House. All supplies for the First Aid Kits are to be purchased by Big Cat Rescue. Volunteers and interns are not permitted to donate First Aid Supplies nor store their personal medications in the First Aid Kits.

Management: The interns and volunteers on property will be directly coordinated by either a Volunteer Coordinator or an Operations Manager. Volunteer Coordinators are staff or volunteers who report to the Operations Manager. The Operations Manager is a staff member who oversees the daily operations of the sanctuary and is the final authority on site operating under the CEO and President. There will always be at a minimum one staff Operations Manager on site each day during the hours that the public and volunteers are on the premises. This Operations Manager will have access to and will be trained in the use of meds, darts, guns, medical, and capture equipment. Volunteer Coordinators coordinating the keeper department must be at least a Green Level Senior Keeper. Volunteer Coordinators coordinating the partner department must be at least a Yellow Level Partner. Operations Managers may be any level deemed appropriate by the CEO and President and will be fully trained in every aspect that the job requires. All coordinators can be reached at one email address: Coordinators@BigCatRescue.org

Volunteer Committee: The primary goal of the Volunteer Committee is to develop and maintain a successful volunteer force to carry out the mission of Big Cat Rescue. Volunteer Committee duties may include; maintaining files on each current volunteer and intern, writing standard operating procedures & volunteer program and class revisions, running monthly hour reports and following up with volunteers regarding their status, promotion applications, discussing issues concerning the volunteers, disciplinary actions, promotions and rewards within the volunteer program, frequently checking and responding to emails to committee@bigcatrescue.org, hosting quarterly Volunteer Appreciation Parties, keeping in touch with volunteers, recognizing birthdays, following up if a leave of absence is taken, and fostering relationships between volunteers, attending off-site classes or seminars to further improve operations, and other responsibilities as assigned by the CEO.

Suggestions, ideas, questions, special requests and even grievances should be submitted to the Volunteer Committee via email to Committee @BigCatRescue.org All discussions and decisions by and of the Volunteer Committee will be based on the Code of Honor. There is also an anonymous suggestion box located in the Gift Shop that is checked only by the CEO.

BigCatRescue.me: Big Cat Rescue has an extensive website resource dedicated towards keeping the volunteers, interns, and staff informed of all policies, updates, contact information, and day to day operations of the sanctuary. Each volunteer is assigned a first.lastname @bigcatrescue.org email address and is required to log in to the site regularly to check their emails as well as to read the Important Updates. Access to and participation in the bigcatrescue.me site is for current, active volunteers only. You must choose a password to enter the bigcatrescue.me site when your internship begins. Please choose a password that is meaningful to you, yet hard for someone to guess. Never share your password with others. Don’t forget to sign out! The easiest way for unauthorized persons to access all of Big Cat Rescue’s information is to gain unsupervised access to a computer in which one of our authorized volunteers is signed in to the bigcatrescue.me site but isn’t there. Remember that your Big Cat Rescue e-mail address is like an electronic version of the volunteer logo on your volunteer shirt. When you use it, you are representing Big Cat Rescue, even if you do not mean to. Please make sure that every e-mail you send from this address represents Big Cat Rescue accurately and positively.

Social Networking and BCR Email address Policies: As an intern, posts or communications regarding animal issues using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube etc. should represent Big Cat Rescue’s mission accurately and positively. Photos and comments encouraging the physical interaction between humans and wild animals are discouraged as this is counter productive to the mission of Big Cat Rescue. Postings regarding the death of an animal at Big Cat Rescue should be made no earlier than one week following the loss. This is to ensure that your fellow Rescuers have the opportunity to read the news via the Important Updates instead of through social media. Emails that an intern sends from their Big Cat Rescue e-mail address should only reflect the mission of Big Cat Rescue and should be courteous and professional in content.

Classes: There are several training classes available for each level of the Intern Program. A list of class teachers can be found on the Class Completion List. A link to this page appears at the top of the Classes and Maps page. Under the heading Training and Docs in the left-hand side bar of the BigCat.me site. On this chart you will find every volunteer listed with the dates that they completed each class. At the bottom of the chart is also a tab titled Teachers. You may contact the teachers and request a specific class to be given. Only approved volunteers can teach classes. When a class is given the most recent version of the class should be printed directly from the BigCat.me site as classes are frequently updated. Two copies should be printed, one for the student and teacher to sign, date, and turn in and a second for the student to keep. The signed copy should be put in Jamie Veronica’s mailbox and any certification sheets should be put in the appropriate binders in the gift shop or in food prep. If there is a video version of the class the video must be played instead of reading the class aloud to the student, however, all class materials must still be filled out and turned in.

Hours: Interns are required to complete 600 hours of volunteer service during their 3 month internship. An account is set up for each intern to log his or her volunteer time via touch screen. These time clock stations are available in the gift shop, food prep, and the main offices. Interns must clock in using their assigned PIN number when they arrive at the sanctuary and must clock out when they leave the sanctuary. Volunteer Coordinators have access to a document that contains every intern’s PIN number should the intern forget their number. If an intern does not complete their 600 hours prior to the end of their internship and they have applied for a next level internship, he or she may be required to complete the 600 hours serving at the previous level’s duties before advancing.

Radios: At time of orientation or on first day a radio will be provided from BCR and must be carried on your person and turned on at all times while on the property. Each intern is responsible for keeping his or her radio in good working order. Batteries for the radios are provided by Big Cat Rescue and can be found in food prep. The radio must be returned to BCR upon completion of the internship. Radio transmissions should be kept to a minimum. Radio transmissions must be monitored by the Volunteer Coordinator or Operations Manager throughout the day for questions or emergencies.

Access to the Property: Interns will not operate the entry gates nor allow access to the property to anyone without proper training. If you do not recognize someone on the property as a volunteer or staff member, politely ask if you can help him or her. Explain that a volunteer or staff member must escort them at all times. Lead them to the Gift Shop and alert a coordinator, staff or committee member. No person shall enter the property without having completed a “Release & Hold Harmless Agreement.” If you have been entrusted with the gate code or keys, do not share these with anyone. Interns have the responsibility of making sure the gate is completely shut behind them as they enter and exit the property. Interns are provided with gate openers for the Lion’s Lair gate. These openers should be returned immediately to their designated space in the intern housing after each use. Easy Street is a privately owned road (not by Big Cat Rescue) and the people that live on the road are not affiliated with Big Cat Rescue. It is very important that we respect these people and drive no faster than 10 mph, as well as yield to on-coming traffic.

Intern Sign In: Before your intern shift begins, the Important Updates section on the BigCatRescue.me site must be checked for important information such as rule changes, cat information, scheduled events, etc. Interns must also verbally check in and out with the coordinator in order to receive work assignments and so that the coordinator can keep track of the Intern’s progress. Hours must be logged on the computer time system daily. These time records will be monitored frequently to assure maintenance of intern responsibilities. The intern must initial next to daily chores as they are completed and check the posted schedule to receive information on cleaning and feeding routes, days off, and radio coverage duties.

Dress Code: Interns must wear a blue intern shirt upon entering and at all times while on the property. Each volunteer must wear a shirt the color designated for his or her level. Intern tank tops are available, but are only to be worn when working on a project (i.e., not when working with guests or guiding tours). Interns are visible to guests at any time while on the property and must look presentable. Interns that are giving tours or assisting with events must wear a clean intern shirt, so it is advised to bring an extra with you each day. Intern shirts are to be worn by interns only. They are not to be given to friends or family nor are they to be donated or sold to the general public. Closed-toe flat shoes must be worn at all times while on the property. Excess jewelry or heavily scented products should not be worn. Long pants are recommenced but shorts will be tolerated if worn at a presentable length. Any clothing including Intern shirts must be in presentable, unaltered condition. Intern sweatshirts are available. Any other sweatshirts, sweaters, or jackets must be worn underneath the intern shirt. Rain gear must be royal blue, the color of the intern shirts. Rain boots are encouraged during the rainy season and high socks are recommended to avoid chaffing when wearing rain boots.

 

Curfew: There is a 11 PM curfew for interns living in Intern Housing. Interns must be onsite and in their own assigned housing at this time. Interns living in Intern Housings are depended upon for nighttime and during closed hours for emergency situations and are not permitted to spend nights off site for the duration of the internship. Special exemptions to spending a night off property may be requested in advance and should be submitted to the Operations Manager in writing. Requests will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Cell Phones: Preferably, cell phones are to be left in the intern’s car, bag, or at home; however, if the intern is expecting an urgent call and must carry a cell phone, absolutely no calls will be answered while on the animal side of the barricades.

Personal Tours: All personal tours must be pre-approved by the coordinator in advance and be led by a certified tour guide. Volunteers may use their 10% discount for tour admission or give their guests tour passes that they have acquired through the reward program. Age restrictions apply to all guests on personal tours.

Grounds Maintenance: All interns are responsible for proper disposal of his or her trash as well as that of guests or other interns or volunteers. Recycle containers are provided for drink containers and cardboard, these containers are emptied into the dumpster in the guest parking lot marked recycling. When an intern completes a project, they must clean and put away all tools and excess materials and debris.

Monthly Volunteer Newsletter: A Volunteer Newsletter is published by the Volunteer Committee monthly and posted on the BigCat.me site. The newsletters are located under the heading Volunteer and sub-heading Newsletter on the left side bar of the BigCatRescue.me site as well as posted via a button titled Monthly News on the home page of the BigCat.me site. The Volunteer Newsletter includes safety reminders, requests, announcements, financial updates, and other important information that every intern should be aware of. It is mandatory that all interns read these newsletters and check the box available at the bottom of the newsletter indicating that the newsletter has been read.

Volunteer Appreciation Parties: Volunteer Appreciation Parties are held quarterly. Invitations are posted in the Important Updates, monthly newsletter, as well as emailed to all volunteers. These parties are a social gathering of volunteers to enjoy food, drinks, guest speakers, special announcements, and to celebrate awards and promotions. Interns must RSVP (attending or not attending) to invites so that the Volunteer Committee can be sure to have enough food and drinks for everyone that attends. The attire for the quarterly Volunteer Appreciation Party is casual. Interns do not need to wear their volunteer shirt, unless instructed otherwise (annual group photos). Name badges will be provided for the attendees to wear that state the name, department and level so that new interns and volunteers can become acquainted with senior volunteers. It is highly encouraged to attend these gatherings to promote camaraderie among interns, volunteers, and staff.

Demotions: Any intern who does not meet the requirements or adhere to the policies for their level will be reduced to the level for which requirements are being met. The Volunteer Committee reserves the right to query interns, either in writing or in person, in order to establish whether or not requirements are, or are not, being met as well as policies being followed before making their determination.

Dismissals and Denials: The Volunteer Committee retains the right to permanently excuse anyone from the program or from the property if his or her conduct is deemed unbecoming for an intern representing Big Cat Rescue. The Volunteer Committee may also deny any individual from joining the Intern or Volunteer Program.

CODE OF CONDUCT

Rumor control is everyone’s responsibility. The spreading of inappropriate information to fellow volunteers or to the public will not be tolerated. This includes negatively questioning the judgments or actions of the senior volunteers, Volunteer Committee, staff, or veterinarian care to or in front of volunteers or the public. Any issues, concerns, or grievances with staff or volunteers at any level should be addressed, in writing, to the Volunteer Committee if the issue can not be first be resolved directly with the other party. Every effort will be made to achieve resolution. The party deemed at fault for the grievance will be required to apologize and make every attempt to resolve the conflict with the offended party.

DBC-2015-03-03 08.21.00While an intern is on the property or at an event or outreach, he or she is representing Big Cat Rescue. Please dress appropriately and refrain from using offensive language or behavior.

When you send an email from your Big Cat Rescue e-mail address you are representing us. Please be sure that you represent Big Cat Rescue’s philosophy accurately and positively. This also includes postings on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and My Space, etc. While we cannot control what current and former staff and volunteers post to their social networking sites, we would like to reiterate that we would appreciate your attention to the message that your photos and comments on these sites sends about Big Cat Rescue and especially about the animals that we represent.

If you drive your vehicle with Big Cat Rescue signs, bumper stickers, license plates, etc. you are an ambassador for the sanctuary and we ask that you drive and act in a responsible manner.

If you do not know the answer to a question asked of you, please do not make one up. Tell the person that you will find out for them and then do so. Bad information is worse than none at all and each intern’s words are a reflection of Big Cat Rescue’s mission.

CODE OF HONOR

  1. I will focus on what works best to achieve our mission of caring for cats and ending the trade.
  2. I will speak my truth to the best of my ability and listen attentively as others speak theirs, with an end goal of finding solutions that work for all.
  3. I will support my fellow Rescuers early, often and unconditionally.
  4. I will be truthful and responsible for my actions, accepting my role with grace and performing to the best of my ability.
  5. I will deal with complete transparency and proactively work to resolve any conflicts directly with those involved. I will be sensitive to their feelings and in no way belittle or challenge them in front of others. If no resolution is achieved I will ask that all involved parties meet together with the person(s) who can settle the matter.
  6. If it’s not my story, I won’t tell it.
  7. I will celebrate the good my fellow Rescuers do and show respect by saying please, thank you and job well done.
  8. It is my responsibility to uphold the code and address breaches of the code with my fellow Rescuers directly, privately and respectfully.
  9. I will be mindful of my tone, body language and the fact that we are all on the same path, albeit at different stages, so I will be open and gentle when asked for clarification.
  10. I will trust that my fellow Rescuers share my same good intentions and will give the benefit of the doubt or seek their input in a kind and courteous way.

INFRACTIONS

The Intern Program Orientation Contract applies to all Interns, Volunteers, Staff, and Guests (where applicable) while on the property. Each person is responsible to abide by and enforce these all of the documentation in this contract. Any infraction of this contract should be immediately brought to the violator’s attention as well as to the coordinator and the Volunteer Committee. The Volunteer Coordinator must fill out an Incident Report (available on the BigCat.me site in the Training and Docs section on the left hand side bar). This report should be filled out with the pertinent information and submitted to the Volunteer Committee. The Volunteer Committee will decide the appropriate action or disciplinary measure (demotion, dismissal, etc.). Any infraction of the Intern Program Orientation Contract may result in an Incident Report, which will become a permanent record in the violator’s file or immediate removal from the program.

How to Apply:

APPLICATION FOR LEGISLATIVE INTERNSHIP

This section covers the intern application process only. Please read the entire Intern Orientation Contract (all of the information on this web page) so that you are completely aware of the requirements of the intern program, deposits and fees, work schedule, housing and transportation, and basic rules that apply to all interns, volunteers, and staff.

Big Cat Rescue can only accommodate a limited number of interns at any given time.

Applications are accepted year round.

It is recommended that you apply no later than three months prior to your desired start date, but applications will be accepted at anytime.

Acceptance into the program is on a rolling basis throughout the year and is based on the availability of the applicants and housing.

If you would like to apply for the Big Cat Rescue Internship Program please complete the InternApplication below and submit the below listed required documents. (Email the preferred method for submitting applications)

 

Your application packet must contain:
Complete the application here:

Legislative Intern Application
AND submit the following via Email:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter
  • 3 Professional letters of recommendation
  • A copy of your Driver’s License or Passport

Please provide all of the requested information in your application packet or your application will not be considered.

 

APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS

Within 2 weeks of receiving your application packet the Intern Manager will review it. The best applicants will then be contacted to schedule a series of Skype interviews.

 

INTERVIEW SESSION

Up to 2 separate Skype interviews will be conducted.

Once an interview session has been scheduled, a non-refundable $50 application fee will then be required to hold your interview session dates and to perform a criminal background check.

 

NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE

After completion of your interview sessions a criminal background check will be performed. If you pass the criminal background check, you will hear from us within 3-4 weeks and will be notified as to whether or not you have been accepted. You will then be offer one or more start dates to choose from.

 

INTERNSHIP DEPOSIT

Once you have confirmed your start date with the Intern Manager, the $300 deposit will be required to hold the internship slot and insures against failure to complete the requirements of the internship or damages to the housings. This deposit is taken via credit card.

The entire $300 deposit will be returned you after the successful completion of the internship. To successfully complete the internship you must have met all of the requirements of the internship, returned your radio in good working order, have not damaged any Big Cat Rescue property, and have passed your housing inspections.
The $300 deposit will not be returned to you if you; cancel your internship before it has started, do not show up on your scheduled start date, fail to successfully complete the internship, do not pass your housing inspections, do not return the radio in good working order, damage Big Cat Rescue property, leave the internship early, or are terminated from the internship due to breach of the Intern Orientation Contract.

 

QUESTIONS

Chelsea FeenySubmit specific questions regarding the intern program via email to Chelsea Feeny:

 

Chelsea Feeny, Big Cat Rescue Intern Intake Manager

12802 Easy Street – Tampa, FL 33625

Intern1@BigCatRescue.org  813.323.5991