Behavioral Observation Internship

The Behavioral Observation intern will work with staff to observe zoo animals and provide observational data that will contribute to the evaluation and assessment of behavior and welfare of the zoo’s animals. The intern will learn about conducting, recording, and evaluating behavioral observations for a variety of species. Duties will include observing animal behavior, developing and evaluating enrichment, assisting with educating zoo visitors, and training volunteers on observation methods. The internship is unpaid, but there are many other benefits that will afford interns valuable experience in conservation, research, and education.

The current application period is for an internship running from February 13 through June 1, 2020.


  • Develop enrichment for a variety of zoo animals
  • Assist with evaluating enrichment usage of zoo animals
  • Document observations of animal behavior relating to exhibit usage, behavior, con-specific animal interactions, and/or other similar welfare indicators
  • Assist with training volunteers on observation methods


  • Be a current undergraduate or graduate student or recent graduate. PhD candidates would also be strongly considered.
  • Coursework in animal behavior, psychology, anthropology, biology, or ecology is strongly recommended but not required
  • Proficient with Microsoft Excel
  • Experience with conduction ethograms on zoological animals preferred but not required
  • Be available for at least 15-20 hours per week for the duration of the internship period
  • Available on weekdays and weekends
  • Able to use smartphone or tablet to input data via ZooMonitor app (training on data input will occur at the zoo and a tablet will be provided)
  • Have reliable transportation to and from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, VA


Applicants should submit a resume, 3 references and cover letter to   Please indicate which area you are applying for in the subject line of your email (you may include more than one area if interested in several areas). No phone calls or in-person inquiries please. Due to the volume of applicants, only those selected for an interview can be contacted.