Applied animal science and wildlife research around the world
The Applied Science Research Virtual Internships are ideal for students who are applied science, animal science, wildlife research, conservation, or pre-vet majors, looking for relevant training to build skills needed to advance their careers. These internships provide exclusive opportunities to engage with unique animals and highly qualified animal behavior specialists around the world and an opportunity to gain research experience. You can choose a program based in South Africa primarily working with black-footed cats, or a program in Belize monitoring crocodiles, manatees and more. In both options, you will be part of a special group that will be observing footage, making observations, providing evidence, and presenting your findings, all while making connections with peers and animal experts that will help inform and shape your career path. All of our students get the relevant training they need to develop their research skills and advance their science careers.
What to Expect:
GPA Requirement: None
Visa Requirements: NONE Required!
- Develop real-world research skills while having an impact on wildlife care and protection. Sharpen your abilities to professionally present your findings.
- Learn to be a field researcher through proper observation and evidence collection techniques.
- Get exposed to state of the art research technology
- Analyze footage of habitat conditions and animal behavior from movement-activated cameras and drones.
- Gain international research experience from the comfort of your home
- Engage with like-minded peers as well as animal science and conservation professionals in a small virtual class setting
This is truly a virtual experience unlike any other. Through your Applied Science Research Virtual Internship, you will join peers in weekly scheduled sessions where you will be able to learn through observation, analysis, and connection with local veterinarians, animal, scientists, and conservation professionals working to learn more about and protect different species around the world.
Under each placement description, you will find more information about the specific skills you will be developing, in addition to the organizations, animal species, and instructors that you will be observing. You’ll also see a detailed schedule of the class times and any other pertinent information.
No matter which project you choose, you are sure to gain valuable field research techniques, data analysis skills, and research presentation experience to help further your career in animal science, biology, pre-veterinary medicine, wildlife conservation, or a whole host of applied science fields. .
About Our Partner
CIS Abroad is partnered with Loop Abroad to deliver these applied science research virtual internship programs. Loop Abroad is dedicated to providing the best experience for students pursuing careers working with animals or looking to gain real-world and technical experience in the sciences. In partnering with world-renowned conservationists, Loop Abroad can both support global animal welfare and protect endangered animals while offering students unprecedented opportunities for hands-on and unique observational and research experiences.
Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:
- Online tuition and fees
- Academic advising
- Financial aid counseling
- Online support
Virtual Zoo Research in South Africa
Support on-going research of black-footed cats, birds, primates, and big cats at the Lory Park Zoo in South Africa. Gain skills in field research and learn to analyze footage, collect evidence and present findings that will be used to improve the care of the animals at the Park.
In your meetings with your research team, you will learn about the research done at Lory Park Zoo, one of only 6 zoos in Africa accredited by the Pan-African Association and known for its quality research. Once you learn different methods of tracking and recording animal behavior, you will work in your own time on observing camera trap footage of an animal or group of animals so that you can begin drawing conclusions about its behavior and hypotheses about its needs. Based on this work, you will design an enrichment activity for the animal, which the Lory Park staff will put into place. You’ll then be able to complete your research by observing how the animal reacts to the enrichment activity, and how that enrichment alters its behavior in captivity.
This is a robust field research and training opportunity to learn from practicing veterinarians doing important to support big cats in South Africa. You will learn best practices in animal care, field research. Through enrichment testing you’ll practice making baseline observations, experimental observations, analyzing data, and presenting your evidence. You’ll also learn about animal behavior and the usage of body language of different species.
You will contribute to ongoing research projects, helping to improve animal welfare in any captive situation.
Description of Work Experience
As a member of a small team, you will focus on observing footage of black-footed cats, servals, leopards, siamang gibbons, and/or southern ground hornbills. Using this data your team will develop and test an enrichment program and report your findings. and test your team’s program design. With your team, you will spend the majority of the time observing footage of black-footed cats, servals, leopards, siamang gibbons, and/or southern ground hornbills. You will develop an enrichment program and test the effectiveness of the experiment.
You’ll observe, analyze and report on the behaviors and other health indicators to ultimately improve care and welfare. and report your findings to other scientists.
Block 1: Training in animal behavior, ethograms, and enrichment
Through virtual meetings with your supervisor, pre-recorded video lectures, and written resources learn about specific zoo animal behaviors and how to read body language. You’ll learn the importance of ethograms in both fields and captive settings.
Block 2: Baseline observations
Analyze camera trap footage of black-footed cats and various animal species. This is when we collect the “before” data for each enrichment project.
Use your knowledge to carefully track specific body language and behaviors.
Block 3: Experimental observations
Analyze camera trap footage “after” your enrichment projects are implemented
Block 4: Present your findings
Work with your supervisors and team of research fellows to combine and statistically analyze data. Present your project findings to the research supervisors and Lory Park staff.
Meeting times and other important details
Two 90-minute meetings per week – dates and times to be determined.
6-week internships require 100 research hours
3-week internships require 50 research hours
All students who successfully complete the internship will earn a Certificate in Captive Animal Behavior Monitoring and Enrichment
Fellows will be supervised and mentored virtually in group and one-on-one settings by the Lory Park Zoo Park Manager. You will learn the exact skills used every day by field researchers, and zookeepers to understand and support captive animal welfare.
Virtual Crocodile & Manatee Research in Belize
Gain valuable research experience through drone surveys, camera traps, parasite analysis and literature reviews. Support the critical efforts needed to protect wild crocodiles, manatees, and more at the Placencia Lagoon, a wildlife sanctuary in Placencia, Belize.
This program will give you experience in marine research and allow you to learn from our partners in Belize who work in crocodile and manatee research year-round. In addition to your research, you’ll be able to learn from these experts about the anatomy, behavior, and conservation of these animals and the ecosystem in which they live.
You will be involved in projects with drone surveys, camera traps, parasite analysis and literature review, taking your research and fieldwork skills to the next level.
Join wildlife conservation and research efforts with the Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) at the Placencia Lagoon in Belize. This team is working on protecting the wildlife sanctuary through the collection and analysis of manatees, crocodiles and other wildlife at the sanctuary. The data will aid in determining the populations of threatened species around the Placencia Lagoon.
Description of Work Experience
In the first block, we will cover the methodology of wildlife research, crocodile ecology and biology, parasitology (focusing on tropical diseases), and translational ecology. CRC Director, Dr. Marisa Tellez, will also share the challenges of wildlife conservation and management.
Next, you will be introduced to the following specific projects and begin analyzing data collected by CRC staff.
Drones will be flown in systematic grid patterns over the marine habitat. You will count and identify manatees and crocodiles, determining a baseline population count and distinguishing individuals.
Observe jaguars, tapirs, raptors, parrots, crocodile nesting and manatee breeding in the Flower Camp area of the sanctuary. These motion sensor camera traps effectively collect data on elusive species with minimal impact on the study subject. During the crocodile nesting season, cameras will be set up to observe rarely observed behaviors. . Interns will assess species presence/absence, determine body condition, and identify individuals.
Parasites are key biological indicators of the health of the environment and the population. For those studying wildlife disease, environmental parasitology, or veterinary science, the identification of parasites is critical as it impacts human development and climate change. You will be given 1-2 examples of parasites that have been collected from snails, fish, turtles or crocodiles and utilize guides and lecture notes to identify the parasite.
You will compile resources from peer-reviewed journals from research done at the CRC. You will be assigned a topic to research based on current grants, presentations, and publications. You will submit a paper with your findings.
Other topics covered include species identification, basic statistical analysis, veterinary care of crocodiles, nocturnal eyeshine surveys (depending on current COVID-19 curfew restrictions), wildlife rescue calls, necropsy, science communication, and captive wildlife training methods.
Meeting times and other important details
Orientation Weekend: May 22- May 23, 11am – 1pm EST
Sessions every Monday and Wednesday starting May 24th from 6-7 EST (except for Memorial Day)
Office hours available by appointment on Thursdays between 11am-2pm EST
Earn 100 Research Hours
You will be supported by staff from the Crocodile Research Coalition.
Dates & Prices
- Application Deadline: May 20
- Arrival: May 22
- Departure: July 1
- Price: $1,495
- Application Deadline: May 30
- Arrival: June 1
- Departure: July 10
- Price: $1,495
- Application Deadline: Jul 11
- Arrival: July 13
- Departure: August 21
- Price: $1,495
Enrollment is limited and sessions will close as soon as they fill.
CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.