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The Residential Internship Program
Paid and Unpaid Positions for Pre-vet and DVM students

INTERNSHIP TERM: Summer 2023, two sessions (dates tbd)

The Three Ring Ranch (3RR) is a 501(c)3 lifetime sanctuary for a wide variety of exotic animals, from primates to bison, in addition to farm and native Hawaiian species. Wde are located in Kailua Kona, HI. 3RR is accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and is a member of the American Sanctuary Association (ASA). 3RR was awarded the GFAS 2022 Wildlife Sanctuary of the Year.


  1. The three-week (unpaid) internship program is focused on providing experiential learning opportunities to individuals seeking to understand, develop and establish careers in the fields of exotic animal health care and conservation. Interns work closely with animal caregivers, as well as the Executive Director. This internship provides an individual with the opportunity to gain work experience at an exotic animal sanctuary that is both GFAS and ASA accredited. When posasible, vet students and pre-vet student are paired to share experience in a positive way. Our goal is providing a unique, hands-on learning experience.
  2. The seven-week (paid) internship program combines the above three-week program but includes a four-week block of "Keeper in Charge" duties. These additional responsibilities include more in-depth management of the facility during the director's annual break. There is a stipend ($1000) paid for the four-week block, which is in addition to housing.
  • Work closely day-to-day under guidance of assigned mentors
  • Assist Keeper staff in day-to-day activities
  • Record keeping and welfare assessment skills
  • Public presentation opportunities
  • Off site educational opportunities at a variety of locations
  • Assist with enrichment, literature research, writing and/or other specific projects
  • Assist with animal training projects
  • Follow all safety instructions and procedures
  • Gain valuable skills working in a dynamic team environment
  • Any other duties and/or assignments as needed
*Please note this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of responsibilities. The requirements of the internship are subject to change as deemed necessary by The Sanctuary.


  • Team Oriented – Develop strong working relationships with other Sanctuary employees. Keep Intern Mentor and supervisor informed of issues, concerns and problems and if possible, be prepared with recommendations to resolve issues as they arise.
  • Good Communicator – Communicate respectfully and effectively with others. Keep Intern Mentor and supervisor informed of both internal and/or external issues and concerns. Good communication skills both verbal and written.
  • Self-Motivated – Strong work ethic and professional demeanor.
  • Dependable and Reliable – Come to work and be on time. Follow procedures and maintain accurate records related to all aspects of elephant care and all areas of responsibility.
  • Training – Work with Intern Mentor and supervisor to address training needs and develop training plans to ensure on going professional development.


  • At least 21 years of age
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completed at least two years of secondary education; this program is designed for students and recent graduates pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, exotic animal husbandry and/or wildlife conservation.
  • Willing to commit to a 3-week term (7days/week, 40+ hours/week)
  • On-site housing provided. Must be willing to live in co-ed housing with one or more other intern(s).
  • Proof of current tetanus vaccination, TB test. All tests/vaccinations are at the applicant’s expense.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination series


  • Must be able to consistently lift 50 pounds
  • Must be able to tolerate hay/dust/dander/other allergens
  • Be able to climb, lift, grasp, bend and operate a variety of hand-held tools and equipment
  • Be able to stand for long periods of time, stoop, kneel, crawl, crouch, push, pull and balance
  • Must be able to work in all-weather including heat/humidity and wet or muddy conditions

There are both paid and unpaid positions. We provide free, onsite housing for all positions. Hours will vary each day but there are off-duty hours each day, days off, off-site educational activities and additional educational opportunities (e.g., with community veterinartians and animal shelter). Interns usually choose to join as many of the potential experiences as possible during their short sessions. This is not the internship for someone who seeks only clinical experience.

Equality Employment Opportunity: It is our policy to treat you and all volunteers equally without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, national organ, veteran status or disability.
Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug Free Workplace: The Sanctuary is a drug, alcohol and tobacco free workplace and prohibits all employees from using non-prescribed drugs, alcohol or tobacco in any form while on duty.
Employees are subject to E-Verify to assure they are eligible to work in the United States.

To apply, please email a cover letter, personal statement or bio, resume, and two letters of recommendation (one from a DVM) to Ann Goody, PhD: .

Applications are accepted December 1st until Feb 15th.

Good luck!
Ann Goody, Curator