By Luis Vasquez, Seasonal Animal Care Intern
If you are blessed with the time and opportunity and have a little voice inside questioning whether you should intern at CWC or not, DO IT. It is incredible how much you will take away. I interned at CWC for 10 weeks this summer and it was wonderful learning about how to care for injured or orphaned animals, the differences between species, and the overall importance of wildlife rehabilitation.
When animals come into CWC, wildlife technicians, with the help of interns, assess the patient’s condition and create a treatment plan. From there, patients are monitored every day. This includes feedings (meal prep, assisted feedings), medicating, and providing behavioral enrichment (to stimulate behaviors they would have in the wild).
As an intern, I had the responsibility of helping determine when the animals showed significant improvements to be moved out of isolated care to larger group enclosures, and finally to be released. For example, one American Crow came in as an orphan during my first week. Throughout the length of my internship, the technicians and I helped with his unfortunate digestive issues, parasites, and cough. He went from isolated care, to a fledge pen, to our fledgling crow aviary. Finally, after 9 weeks, he is a juvenile crow and is in Pelipen [a large flight aviary] with the rest of our orphaned juveniles, where he is strengthening his flight so that he can soon be released.
Personally, this experience has helped me develop a preference for working with wildlife versus domestic animals in the future. In addition, the people you get to work with are awesome. I treasure them. They owed me nothing, yet stood by me in light of my clumsiness, awkwardness, and mishaps in an effort to advance my knowledge of wildlife. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for letting me be part of the Center’s common denominator: assisting in the well-being of California’s wildlife.