Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship | International Crane Foundation

International Crane Foundation


Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship

The International Crane Foundation is looking to fill four Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship positions for 2020.

Positions are between 6-8 months in duration pending funding; with start dates between 1-15 April 2020.

Background: The International Crane Foundation is a leader in the conservation of the world’s 15 crane species and is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to cranes and the ecosystems vital to their long-term survival. The foundation’s world headquarters is located just outside Baraboo one hour north of Madison, Wisconsin. The International Crane Foundation participates in captive breeding and rearing of Whooping Cranes for release into the two reintroduction programs.

Description: Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Interns will receive training and assist in the intensive care and management of raising endangered crane chicks, specifically Whooping Cranes for captivity and release. Primary duties include:

  • Facilities set up, daily maintenance and end of year clean-up.
  • Following strict isolation chick-rearing protocols at all times.
  • Maintaining equipment in good working order including but not limited to: costumes, boots, puppet heads, recorded brood calls, speakers, brood models, heaters, thermometers, scales and wooden dividers.
  • Daily cleaning of runs, carpets and food and water bowls.
  • Providing clean dry food and appropriate treats as learning opportunities for chicks to develop necessary foraging skills in runs and yards.
  •  Providing fresh water in runs and yards.
  • Wearing costumes when interacting with chicks, encouraging them to eat, drink, forage and teaching crane life skills.
  • Remembering and recording chick behaviors, feeding sessions and management changes.
  • Ability to identify individual cranes via bands.
  • Caring for adult crane role models.
  • Weighing and recording chick weights.
  • Entering and reading daily records.
  • Expect to spend between 1-6+ hours wearing a costume while exercising and socializing chicks without talking.
  • Communicating with staff and other members of the team by participating in morning meetings, using whiteboards and daily log.
  • Working in all types of weather.

Additional duties may include:

  • Assisting with the daily care of the adult captive flock.
  • Egg incubation management.
  • Tracking and monitoring released Whooping Cranes.
  • Data entry.
  • Additional projects may include: documenting chick development and/or release activities, observing and recording crane family interactions, food studies, updating chick weights and growth charts, and assisting with end of year reports. Other crane-related subjects may be assigned as a project to assist the Crane Conservation Department to further our crane conservation program goals. A slideshow presentation to staff may be required to complete the project.

Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Interns may help with all aspects of the captive flock and responsibilities will vary depending upon timing and number of chicks hatching. Other tasks assisting the Crane Conservation Department may include video-monitoring of crane behavior, record keeping, speaking with the public, facilities maintenance and adult crane care. The daily routine varies with season and to accommodate chicks’ needs.

The workweek is five consecutive days, including holidays and weekends. Hours worked in a week will average 40-45 hours including early morning and evening checks, and will vary based on seasonal duties and field conditions. Hours may start before sunrise and/or end after sunset when monitoring cranes. Various lengths of travel may be associated with tracking and monitoring released birds. Be prepared to work outdoors in all weather conditions that may occur in Wisconsin.

Requirements:  BA or BS in zoology or wildlife-related field and captive husbandry experience is preferred. Must be able to carry a 50 lb. feed bag and to be able to stand, bend or squat for long periods of time. Be able and willing to run in costume, as well as work in physically compromising/limited visual conditions, while not talking when wearing the costume and interacting with the chicks. Applicants need to be able to handle a fast-paced environment – changing work conditions, hours, tasks and schedules.  Ability to follow directions, communicate clearly in challenging circumstances; as well as work reliably and independently as assigned is required. Basic CPR & First Aid training is desired. Knowledge of tracking, reading maps & GSP skills are a plus. Valid driver’s license required. All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply. Candidates without a work visa must obtain one before they will be considered for an internship.

Please send a cover letter and resume with three references to [email protected] with “Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship” in the subject line.