Wild Sun Externship
a veterinary externship like no other
Our 4 week vet student externship focuses on the veterinarian’s role in conservation medicine. Follow our vets as they treat injured wildlife and give support to 2 very different yet interrelated conservation initiatives. You will participate and learn from a wildlife rescue center and a Scarlet Macaw reintroduction program on the same site. Our goal is to inspire you to be a voice for conservation and to show you how, as a future veterinarian, you can make a difference in saving wildlife and their habitats in all corners of the world.
We have specialized tracks for 1st & 2nd year vet students and 3rd & 4th year vet students. We also have a Pre-Vet Internship for those preparing to apply to vet school.
Wild Sun Rescue Center
At the rescue center, in addition to practicing animal husbandry and rehabilitation in the ICU, students will assist in necessary surgeries and emergency procedures. Students may practice proper restraint techniques for mammals, birds and reptiles, perform physical exams and hands-off evaluations, identify and treat parasites, administer fluids, perform necropsies, practice syringe and tube feeding techniques as well as suturing, wound care and identifying stages of healing. Patient rounds will be conducted often along with topic discussions and presentations. There will be onsite labs and demonstrations, evaluation and feedback meetings and execution of specialty projects that could include nutrition research, proper use of medications, or even enclosure design.
Among other things, students will gain a deeper knowledge of what conservation medicine is and how it differs from exotic and zoo medicine, what role a veterinarian plays in conservation, and when and how animals can return to the wild. Animals that we often have in care are the Mantled Howler Monkey, White Faced Capuchin, Collared Anteater, White-nosed Coati, Kinkajou, Agouti, Lowland Paca, Spotted Skunk, Northern Raccoon, Nine-banded Armadillo, White-tailed Deer, Variegated Squirrel, Mexican Hairy Porcupine, Woolly and Common Opossum, and a variety of birds. When possible, we will also participate in spay and neuter campaigns to help control the local dog and cat population, which threatens wildlife daily. These clinics happen 3 times a year.
If you’re a 1st or 2nd year vet student, our program will give you valuable practice and hands-on experience with various and exciting exotic species. For 3rd and 4th year vet students, our 4 week externship will count for out-rotation credit in your college of veterinary medicine.
Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction
As students you will learn how to care for these birds and the process it takes for a species reintroduction program to be carried out. Among other tasks, when applicable, you will help micro chip and extract blood for DNA testing. You may even be asked to monitor the health of recently released Macaws.
We’ll also take the time out to take advantage of some of the natural wonders of Costa Rica! Be they waterfalls, ocean voyages or beautiful sunsets, adventure awaits. Students will get to visit the Montezuma Waterfalls, Isla Cabuya Cemetery Island, go horseback riding or zip lining through the jungle, dip into a cliffside infinity pool with a swim up bar and view wildlife while hiking Cabo Blanco- Costa Rica’s first national park, amongst other outings.
All photos courtesy of Wild Sun Rescue.