Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox, photo by J.D. Willson

Chelonian Husbandry Internship

Turtle Survival Alliance
Cross, SC
Closing Date
May 31, 2019

The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is offering a unique opportunity for self-motivated people to gain hands-on experience with the day to day operations of a non-profit chelonian conservation center. The TSA is seeking applicants for full time volunteer internships at the TSA’s Turtle Survival Center (TSC) in Cross, South Carolina.

The TSA is seeking interns for Fall (July- September) 2019. Dates can be flexible but applicants must be able to apply for a minimum of two (2) months. Extensions for internships are on a case by case bases.

This is a volunteer internship position. Successful applicants will pay their own travel expenses to and from the Turtle Survival Center and a program fee of $500.00 per month. This program fee covers on-site housing while at the TSC. Applicants are encouraged to pursue funding and/or academic credit with their host institution for participating in this internship. If there are any special requirements for an applicant to receive academic credit for an internship, please let us know in your application so we may determine if the TSA can accommodate any requests.

In 2013, the TSA centralized its base of operations by opening the Turtle Survival Center in South Carolina.  In just six years the TSC has become recognized as a world-class turtle conservation center, complete with a greenhouse, veterinary clinic, quarantine facility, and multiple indoor/outdoor enclosures. This center is the TSA’s first and only U.S.-based conservation center, and is home to a growing collection of more than 700 turtles and tortoises, representing 30 of the world’s critically endangered species, and cared for by a staff of five full time employees.

Responsibilities and Expectations:

Volunteer interns are expected to work independently and with TSC staff in a team setting to fulfill the operational needs of the center. All interns will assist with the general day to day operations of the TSC. Responsibilities can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Providing high standards of animal husbandry to a diverse group of critically endangered chelonians
  • Monitoring animal health
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Maintaining cleanliness of animal areas
  • Propagating chelonians, including egg care and incubation
  • Assisting with veterinary care procedures  
  • Performing basic animal medical treatments 
  • General maintenance of facilities, upkeep of grounds and buildings
  • Horticulture/gardening, particularly in animal areas
  • Assisting with enclosure design and construction
  • Interacting with other interns, volunteers, students, visiting biologists, and guests
  • Participation in outreach events as well as guest tours of the facility
  • Ensuring security of the facility

Work Environment:

  • Team oriented environment in a remote location 
  • Expect an irregular work schedule consisting of days, weekends, and holidays. Some workdays may exceed 8 hours.
  • Ability to work outdoors in heat, humidity, and around biting insects
  • On-site housing is available, which may be co-ed, and which may require sharing a room with another intern of the same gender. No pets are allowed.


  • A positive and flexible attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to adapt to a changing work environment
  • Hold or be pursuing a degree in biology, ecology, conservation, zoo keeping, exotic veterinary medicine, or related field
  • Demonstrated interest in wildlife and conservation
  • Experience with animal husbandry (particularly reptiles) preferred
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to live in on-site housing throughout the duration of the internship
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license and a personal vehicle is required
  • Must be able to pass a background check
  • Must be in good physical shape (capable of lifting 50 pounds)

To Apply

Please email a letter of interest and CV or resume, with references, to the TSA’s Chelonian Keeper, Clinton Doak (cdoak [at] turtlesurvival.org), and include a date range of availability.

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