Rotational Internship at South Florida Wildlife Center
Student: Chase Reinert ’22
Research Mentor: Shala Hankison (OWU Department of Biological Sciences)
When wild animals become injured, South Florida Wildlife Center helps to rehabilitate and release them. During my summer internship, I had the opportunity to explore all aspects involved in wildlife rehabilitation. With the skills that I learned, I am able to supplement my educational goal of becoming a wildlife veterinarian.
South Florida Wildlife Center admits more than 10,000 orphaned or injured wild animals every year with the goal of rehabilitation and release. In an effort to provide students with a glimpse of the work they do, the center offers a variety of internships. This summer I completed a three-month rotational internship. During the internship, I had the opportunity to rotate through all the different departments at the center. In the resource center, I learned how to communicate with members of the public that bring wildlife to the center as well as educating the public about how to coexist with wildlife. Next, I rotated through the veterinary clinic where I learned how to triage patients based on the severity of their injuries. I also learned how to access the injuries of a wide variety of species and how to administer medications and subcutaneous fluids. On rare occasions, I was able to observe the veterinarian during surgical procedures. After the vet clinic, I transitioned to the rehabilitation area. While learning to properly care for each species, I was also taught how to safely handle species ranging from birds of prey to mammals. Once the animals in care are completely rehabilitated, they are evaluated to ensure they can survive in the wild. Animals deemed fit for the wild are then released, which I had the opportunity to participate in. Lastly, I assisted with the raising of orphaned animals in the nursery, including birds, squirrels, raccoons, and opossums. When orphaned animals required more frequent feedings, I had the opportunity to take them home to care for them around the clock. Overall, I learned a variety of valuable skills on how to properly treat and rehabilitate many different species. These skills will be helpful in my future endeavors pursuing further education in veterinary medicine.