Outreach Interns gain invaluable experience in the inner workings of a leading accredited big cat sanctuary that not only rescues exotic cats but also advocates to end the trade.
The Outreach Intern (OI) works under the direction of the Director of Outreach. As with all other intern paths, the OI must complete approximately 600 hours of service during the 12-week internship. This is equivalent to working approximately 50 hours per week. OIs may be required to work more or fewer hours as needed by the sanctuary. OIs must follow the same policies and procedures required of the Animal Care Intern Program. More information may be found on our website at https://bigcatrescue.org/intern-info/.
The objective of the OI is to support the Director of Outreach in promoting legislation, advocating for the welfare of big cats, educating the public on the issues facing exotic cats, and reaching out to the community through presentations and events. Our goal is to end the trade in big cats by working with guests, supporters, communities, organizations, agencies, and legislators to spread awareness, pass laws, and implement regulations and policies that benefit the cats.
The OI must be comfortable speaking to guests, meeting new people, and work effectively with staff, volunteers, and fellow interns.
OIs begin with Level 1 Partner training learning guest relations and how to guide tours, to better familiarize themself with our mission and daily operations of the sanctuary. Much of the initial training consists of the basic knowledge needed to be a valued intern. As the OI advances through the program they will learn specific skills pertaining to BCR’s advocacy, education, legislation activities. Additional Level 1 duties that apply to the OIs who take advantage of our free onsite housing include housekeeping and domestic cat care (we foster domestic kittens – more on that below).
This internship position does not involve Keeper duties (i.e. cat feeding, cleaning, operant training, meds administration). Although you will have the benefit of working at the sanctuary, your work will not directly involve any of our cats. This is an “office job” type internship that may require occasional travel.
- Must be a U.S. citizen.
- At least 18 years old and possess a valid driver’s license or photo I.D.
- Must be fluent in English, both written and verbal, and exhibit above-average writing skills.
- Must be Internet-savvy and proficient in Microsoft Suite applications (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel), Google applications, and common social media platforms (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
- Must be comfortable advocating and soliciting support for animal welfare in subject areas that may be controversial or sensitive (e.g. circuses, zoos, hunting).
- Must be able to retain a professional and polite manner is potentially stressful or contentious situations.
- Must have experience with public speaking.
- Must be a self-motivator and take initiative. Critical thinking, time-management skills, and the ability to independently problem-solve are a must!
- Applicants who previously completed, or are in the process of completing, Level 1 of Big Cat Rescue’s Animal Care Internship.
- Individuals with strong soft skills and interpersonal skills.
- Capable of walking and standing for extended periods of time and able to lift and carry a minimum of 50 lbs.
- Possess vision and hearing at adequate levels, good health, and endurance for working outdoors in all types of weather.
- Obtain a tetanus vaccination, at your own expense, which will be valid for the duration of the internship.
- Travel, at BCR’s expense, may be required to attend meetings, conferences, and events.
JOB DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
- Guide group tours, education tours (children & adults), and tours privately scheduled by the Director of Outreach. Guiding these tours requires knowledge of the cats (history, environment, behavior, adaptations, diet), our sanctuary’s evolution, daily operations, conservation work, and the issues we are working to resolve (private ownership, animal handling, breeding, poaching).
- Promote advocacy actions on-site, online, and at events – whether asking guests and supporters to call their legislators, sign petitions, submit a comment or sign their name to a pledge.
- Represent BCR at community events, outreach venues, and educational presentations including meetings and conferences where BCR is an exhibitor, speaker, participant, sponsor, or beneficiary.
- Successfully complete BCR Level 1 training classes (excluding Keeper classes).
- Present and speak to schools, student groups, community groups, and organizations.
- Assist or facilitate online advocacy activities. This may include emailing actions to supporters, identifying supporters in key congressional districts, or leading an advocacy campaign.
- Additional tasks including research, data entry, general office duties, creating media and content, assisting the Director of Outreach, and providing backup support to the Operations Manager and Gift Shop staff as needed.
- Successfully complete three assignments during the internship term: 1. A group presentation on a relevant topic of choice 2. A stand-alone advocacy campaign project on a big cat related issue 3. An article for our quarterly magazine, the Big Cat Times.
The preceding position description is designed to indicate the general nature and essential duties and responsibilities of work performed by an Outreach Intern [OI]. It is not a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of Outreach Interns.
Big Cat Rescue provides FREE HOUSING!! You’ll enjoy fully stocked housing accommodations (meaning we provide you with sheets, pillows, towels, dishes, microwave, television, etc.) and your own private bedroom. The shared areas include a computer, bathroom, and kitchen areas. Intern housings are smoke, alcohol, and drug-free environments. Interns are permitted to live off-site in their own accommodations at their own expense if you prefer (but it’s not as fun!). You will be given $125 for food & incidentals each week.
What costs will you have? We will need a non-refundable $50 (our cost to run a criminal background check on you) upon confirmation of your interview session. And a deposit of $300 (to hold your spot and in case there are housing or property damages during your stay). Once you’ve finished our program and passed inspection that there aren’t any damages, your deposit will be returned.
When you’re not working, there are some fun activities planned. Our staff members give great evening presentations periodically on fascinating educational topics such as our Rehab Bobcat Program or our ongoing Advocacy for big cats. And we have quarterly parties to celebrate YOU and our other volunteers!
Kittens!!! If you love big cats, we just KNOW you love little cats too! As a BCR intern, you get to participate in our Foster Kitten Program! We foster kittens from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. As one of our responsible interns, you’ll be assigned to take care of one or more kittens (and sometimes the mama cat) until they reach 2 pounds and are returned to the humane society to be adopted. This program allows you to care, interact, and socialize these adorable fluff balls – they will even live with you at night! We encourage our interns and volunteers to visit the Kitten Cabana while on breaks during the day to snuggle kittens and socialize them so they are friendly and adoptable when they are returned to the organization. How pawsome!
Animal Contact: Big Cat Rescue is a strict no-contact facility. That means we never touch any of our cats.
Animal Care: No mistreatment of animals of any kind will be tolerated, including teasing, and is grounds for immediate dismissal.
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.
General Safety: No part of your body — including fingers and hands — shall ever pass through the bars of any enclosure at any time. Smoking is permitted in the designated “smoking areas” only. Absolutely no alcohol or drugs are allowed on the property at any time.
Entering Enclosures: No person is ever allowed to enter any enclosure with a cat. No one can ever enter an empty enclosure without direct permission.
HOW TO APPLY
This section covers the Outreach 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 any time.
Acceptance into the program is on a rolling basis throughout the year and is based on the availability of housing and applicants.
If you would like to apply for the Big Cat Rescue Outreach Internship Program please complete the Outreach Intern application below and submit the below listed required documents. (Email is the preferred method for submitting applications.) We can’t wait to talk to you about this exciting and fulfilling opportunity!
- Click here to complete the Outreach Intern Application, then submit the following via email:
- Cover letter
- A copy of your Driver’s License or Passport
- Three professional references are required. Supervisors from jobs and volunteer opportunities preferred. No more than one education-related reference will be accepted.
Applications for summer slots should be sent at least three months prior to the desired start date. Only completed applications will be considered. Thank you for your interest! We hope to see you soon!
APPLICATION REVIEW PROCESS & NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE
The Intern Manager will review your application packet within two weeks of receipt. Applicants will then be contacted to schedule a video interview with the Director of Outreach. A non-refundable $50 application fee will then be required to perform a criminal background check. Applicants will be notified within three to four weeks as to whether or not you have been accepted.