I cannot believe my internship is actually over. This time has flown by incredibly fast, but I have learned so much. Two very exciting experiences come to mind when thinking back over the course of my internship and contemplating the learning goals that I originally set for myself. First of all, I was fortunate enough to go on the release of a wild adult bobcat. He had been sighted on a couple’s property multiple times, and the two landowners noticed that he was limping and was extremely skinny. They were able to trap the adult bobcat and bring him to our facility. During the initial intake exam our RVT announced that the bobcat had a very old fracture in his front right leg that had not healed correctly and he was extremely emaciated. The rest of the team at the FFAWC and myself cared for the adult bobcat and monitored his progress during the month that he was in our rehab facility. Once the bobcat gained weight and appeared to be putting more weight onto his right leg, we coordinated with the landowner to release him back onto the property from which he was caught. I was involved in the transport and release of the bobcat. Seeing that bobcat run out of the crate and out of site was such an incredible experience. I was able to see all of the hard work that was put into his rehabilitation pay off. Seeing the full cycle of rescue, rehabilitation and release was truly amazing. Several news channels even covered the bobcat release story – we made it onto CNN! Check out the link below to see the story covered on CBS News.
The second experience that comes to mind actually occurred during the beginning of the rehab process – the rescue. A fellow intern, Laura, has a part time job at K-Mart, where someone had left a days old baby bird in his or her locker. Being an intern at a wildlife rehab facility, Laura offered to take the bird home that evening after her shift and bring it to the center when it opened in the morning, which meant that we had to make sure that the bird was able to make it through the night. This experience forced me to use all of the knowledge that I have gained throughout my time at the FFAWC. What does a baby bird need? What can we do for it tonight to keep it safe, comfortable and alive throughout the night? Laura and I did as we were taught and the little bird pulled through and we were able to get it to our RVT for proper medical care in the morning.
This experience has taught me quite a lot about the field of wildlife rehabilitation. It has opened my eyes to a possible future career and I will definitely be pursuing further experience in this area. This internship has showed me that I may be interested in veterinary medicine. I spent lots of time with the RVT at the center and I felt that she really made a difference in the animals’ lives and in the running of the center. I would love to shadow a wildlife RVT or veterinarian, as well as either intern/volunteer at another wildlife rehab center where I can continue to learn about the practice.
I would definitely recommend taking on an internship to anyone who is considering one. An internship can be a fantastic hands-on learning experience and a great way to receive training in the field that you are interested in. At least, it definitely was for me.