Cairns Tropical Zoo, Queensland, Australia - (Avery Skelton)

Avery Skelton

Avery - "This internship was absolutely the best decision I have made since deciding to attend UVM.  It offers a chance to participate fully in the daily tasks inherent with running a zoo of this size."

Cairns Tropical Zoo is the largest and most diverse wildlife attraction in Tropical North Queensland whose philosophy is that personal interaction with animals encourages a greater understanding of native wildlife and promotes the need to preserve their natural habitats.

Avery's goal was to gain an understanding of what it takes to work with wild animals, especially wild animals she is not familiar with.  She also wanted to become familiar with what goes on "behind-the-scenes" in a zoo.  From this experience Avery hoped to learn about how to handle and care for many different types of wild animals.

Avery completed 3-week rotations through three departments at the Cairns Tropical Zoo:  Birds, Reptiles, and Mammals.  During each rotation she learned how to care for various species of animals.  Her responsibilities centered around cleaning exhibit areas, diet preparation, behavioral observation, etc.

"Since the Cairns Tropical Zoo is rather small, it allows interns to be challenged and have the opportunity to do everything they are capable of. Knowledge is acquired through working hands-on as well as spending hours upon hours with zoo staff."

"In addition to the experience at the zoo, the internship brought me to another country and I found myself immersed in another culture."

"Living with Australians and working forty or more hours a week with wildlife not found in the US, was a great glimpse into the breadth of opportunities available to one in the field.  It was the most enjoyable real-world learning experience one can have!"

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