Category Archives: Animal Care

International E-Marketing – Cinderhill Farm

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My main responsibility was to research the potential market in the Netherlands. I had to research different routes to market as well as who the consumer would be, if there would be a demand for this kind of product and any potential competitors.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

As the internship was taken remotely, working independently for 8 hours a day was something I struggled with but ultimately managed to achieve.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I believe I provided my employer with a solid foundation to explore the Netherlands as an export opportunity.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Organisation, time and workload management, strategic planning

Cognitive Abilities of Grey Squirrels Intern – University of Exeter

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Coding videos and preparing the different nuts for the experiment and placing the cameras and replenishing the nuts in the apparatus.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learned a lot in terms of analysis of data collected from animals and in particular using a Behaviour Observation software which has made me more confident in my ability to analyse different types of data in different circumstances.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I managed to help with creating a buffer of chopped nuts so that more time could be spent for marking the squirrels and analysing the information, I completed a third of the video analysis of the project which alleviated the workload of the other team members by leaving them to do only two thirds of the analysis.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Teamwork and collaboration, ability to work under pressure, IT

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, initiative, motivation

Research Support Intern – University of Exeter, Penryn

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Maintaining incipient termite’s colonies by adding wood to feed them, and water and moist cloth to keep the colonies from drying out. I monitored them as they grew, changing their containers when needed.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

Until recently, I had never had to independently maintain a study species in the lab before outside of my own degree. I had a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, and I did not take this lightly, taking steps to plan in advance when I was away or as colonies developed to make sure they were stable.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

They now have stable lab kept termite colonies for use in their research, which may not have been possible without me due to their commitments over this summer.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Assessing and managing risk, decision making, degree specific skills

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Perseverance, independence, work ethic

Animal Care Assistant – RSPCA

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Monitoring the welfare of all animals in the care of the RSPCA Cornwall branch. This included dogs of many different breeds, cats, and wildlife. I was also responsible for maintaining a high standard of cleanliness in various kennels and cages. I helped to carry out health checks, pre-adoption checks and sat in on vet rounds. I was also involved in enrichment for the animals, which involved walking the dogs and playing with the cats and kittens.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I was able to learn what it was really like working in the animal sector, which has really helped me to think about my future career. I feel I became more independent over the course of my internship, finding I was able to take initiative if faced with a problem.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The staff are stretched very tightly at the moment and I feel I was able to make the hours when I was there less stressful for them. Some days I was responsible for cleaning entire blocks by myself which meant that the member of staff who would usually do this was able to sort out any problems or urgent paperwork.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Ability to work under pressure, organisation, time and workload management

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Initiative, independence, work ethic

Research Assistant – University of St Andrews

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My role was to assist primarily with the data collection aspect on a project studying working memory in New World monkeys. Every day I tested brown capuchin monkeys on their ability to remember the location of food items in the specialist research facility at Edinburgh Zoo. I also assisted with reliability coding of data already collected for different projects and collected long term, observational data on chimpanzees.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt how to work with capuchin monkeys in close proximity and conduct experimental, cognitive research with them. This is an extremely valuable skill for me and is a very rare opportunity to have. It will aid me immensely with a future career and further education in the field of primate research.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

As I was responsible for the data collection on this project, this allowed the principle investigator (PI) to have more time to carry out other tasks he would otherwise not have had the time to complete. My presence was also beneficial when the PI was unable to carry out data collection himself due to time away from the research site. I also spent a lot of time entering data on another project which no one had time to do before I joined.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Assessing and managing risk, IT, research

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, initiative, perseverance

Animal Care Assistant – The Flicka Foundation

horse

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I was responsible for making up feeds and administering medication to horses and donkeys, and turning out and bringing them in from fields. I also did general yard tasks such as mucking out stables and sweeping. My other tasks included assisting with office work, putting together adoption packs for supporters, discussing ideas for improving the site, recruiting new volunteers and the upcoming open day. I helped out in the tea room when needed. I groomed and picked out hooves which is important for maintaining hoof health. I helped train new volunteers and work experience students, particularly in health and safety, important points about the running of the site and handling horses/donkeys. I also gave site tours and leading a group visit to the site from NCS, as well as welcoming visitors to the site, showing them round and talking to them about the animals.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I became more confident in teaching others how to work on site. This will be extremely beneficial when running the Flicka Volunteering Project associated with FXU in the coming academic year.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to lighten the workload by being an extra pair of hands around the yard. I was also responsible for training new volunteers so this allowed the yard manager to get on with her own jobs.

Marine and Freshwater Intern – Zoological Society of London

marine

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

To support the Marine and Freshwater ZSL team, on the Penryn campus. Projects included literature review on the distribution and species of marine turtles in the Philippines; PET plastic bottles literature review and general support for the #OneLess project; Mangrove and beach forest medicinal properties; Artificial reefs and coral transplantation review for the Philippines.
I also attended a Marine conservation conference at the Penryn campus and a Marine Management Organisation Meeting with the ZSL team during my last week.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt and improved essential skills needed to work with an environmental NGO, such as networking, building relationships, organisation, managing work load, communicating with international environmental groups and promoting work via social media. It was great to gain experience within an office based team, instead of out on the field, which is the majority of my experience.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to support ZSL Marine and Freshwater by completing small, but essential pieces of work as well as contributing to larger projects. This lightened the work load for my colleagues in Cornwall, London and the Philippines.

Bee Surveyor – Buglife, The Invertebrate Conservation Trust

bee

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Surveying the status of the Andrena Hattorfiana bee across Cornwall and deciding upon the best course of action for its conservation.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I was able to work independently and make important decisions by myself which will benefit the species. Also, finding completely new and previously unknown sites for this bee in Cornwall was a real thrill!

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

Helped to ensure the protection and continual survival of one of the UK’s most impressive bee species. As a charity, Bug Life is committed to saving species from extinction and so my work helped them work out the best course of action for the conservation of Andrena Hattorfiana in Cornwall.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

Living alone for a long period of time was hard but just forced me to become more productive. Th e only other problem I faced was working out what was the best course of action for the bee,  as things like Golf Courses and Holiday Parks wanted potentially different things to the bee.

Animal Behaviour Research Volunteer – University of Exeter

panda

What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

During my internship I ran 3 of my own research projects. First was the visibility of the red pandas and fishing cats at Newquay zoo. This involved visiting the enclosures 4 times a day and making observations on how many animals were visible and whether or not visitors were present. For the fishing cats this will act as baseline data. The zoo intend to make some improvements to the enclosure and then the new data can be compared to see if there has been any improvement to the visibility. For the red pandas, I observed three view points of the enclosure. My results found a footpath around the side of the red panda enclosure which led to a larger view of the enclosure and a significant increase in the chance of seeing a red panda, but this area was the least visited. Now this information is available to the zoo they can act on it and put up signs to lead visitors to the better view point.

I also continued some training with 4 species of Asian bird, training each species to feed from a different coloured feeding stick. This means if one species needs more food than the others, they can be target fed meeting energy requirements so breeding is more likely to be a success, but without increasing food for all birds which would be an increased financial cost to the zoo.

The final project was some behavioural observations on the same 4 species of birds as they are all due to be moving enclosure in the near future. These observations can be used as baseline data to ensure there are no dramatic changes once they have moved or perhaps even see an increase in activity.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

In the labs at uni we do a bit of data collection, but it is really limited by time and we would only have a few hours in the labs a week. I have now gained the experience of a 4 week research project and learnt what its really like be a field-based research scientist.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

The data I have collected is going to be used in multiple future projects and the bird training I did has the potential to save money on expensive wax moth larvae that is fed to the breeding birds. Also increasing the visibility of the Red pandas and Fishing cats will increase visitor satisfaction and potentially lead to more people coming to the zoo.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

On my first week my supervisor was away at a conference and after meeting 3 times prior to my start date I still had to undertake some pilot studies on my first day. I then had to make an executive decision as to which data collection methods were used as he was in Malaysia and I was therefore not able to contact him.