Behavioral Observation Internship

The current application period is for an internship running from January 28 – May 17, 2021. Applicants that are local or regional, and that can commit for the entire internship period will receive preference, but individual circumstances will be considered. Interns working at the zoo must commit to wearing designated PPE (personal protective equipment) at all times as assigned, such as masks and gloves, while working inside and outside in all kinds of weather.

Interested in learning more about animal behavior? Come join us at the Virginia Zoo! We are currently looking to fill our next round of behavioral observation internships with the Animal Services department. The Behavioral Observation Intern will work with staff to collect and provide observational data that will contribute to the evaluation and assessment of animal behavior and welfare. 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. The next round of this internship open to new candidates runs from January 28 – May 17, 2021 and requires at least 15-20 hours of time devoted to the internship weekly.


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


  • Be a current undergraduate or graduate student or recent graduate.
  • Coursework in animal behavior, psychology, anthropology, biology, or ecology is recommended but not required
  • Proficient with Microsoft Excel
  • Experience with conducting 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 and using the app will occur at the zoo and a tablet will be provided)
  • Have reliable transportation to and from the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk, VA

How to Apply

Applicants should submit a resume, 3 references and a cover letter to:

Please include “Behavioral Observation Internship” in the email subject line and indicate this specific internship in your cover letter. No phone calls or in-person inquiries please.