Red River Zoo

Zookeeping Internships

The Internship Program at the Red River Zoo is designed for dedicated individuals that have at least 2 years of college courses completed or college graduates in an animal related science. The internship is unpaid, but college credits may be earned.


  • General understanding of the Red River Zoo’s dedication to fostering awareness and appreciation for wildlife.
  • General understanding of the Red River Zoo’s commitment to advancing public education on the need for wildlife conservation and preservation.
  • General understanding of the importance of zoos regarding endangered species survival and habitat preservation.
  • General knowledge of animal husbandry and animal behavior.
  • General knowledge of enrichment and operant conditioning.


Under supervision and direction of the Red River Zoo staff, interns will learn skills and techniques necessary to provide care for the animals at the Red River Zoo. They will participate in the upkeep of exhibits/ enclosures, as well as zoo grounds, and interact with the visiting public during operating hours. The following duties and responsibilities are typically associated with the internship program. However, an intern may be called upon to do additional tasks not listed.

  • Exhibit/enclosure maintenance: Learn the proper techniques for cleaning/disinfecting animal exhibits and holding areas.
  • Food preparation and distribution: Become familiar with the nutritional needs of the animals at the Red River Zoo and will learn proper food preparation/distribution.
  • Animal observation and documentation: Learn about normal animal behaviors and how to recognize behaviors that deviate from the norm. They will also learn how to document and record behavioral observations.
  • Animal handling: Learn proper and safe animal handling/restraint techniques used when necessary for animal transport, medical examinations, and routine husbandry procedures. They will also become familiar with capture and restraint equipment.
  • Animal enrichment and training: Learn how to implement enrichment for animals based on their natural history. They will also learn about positive reinforcement training.
  • Interaction with the public: Learn about the zoo’s animal collection, so they are equipped to interact with guests by providing general information.


Keeper internships are physically demanding. Interns may be working in small spaces or in awkward positions that require bending or stretching. Interns must be able to safely lift 50 lbs. Keepers work in extreme weather conditions, so interns must be able to tolerate heat, cold, snow, wind and rain. They must also be able to tolerate strong odors such as hay, dust and animal hair/fur/dander.

Interns should have a current tetanus vaccination and be willing to have annual TB screening done.

Applicants must have completed at least 2 years of college and have an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher.

Interns must have a strong desire to learn and be able to accept constructive criticism. They must have a basic, positive interest in animals and have good interpersonal skills.

Interns are expected to attend weekly seminars on special topics including: zoonotic disease prevention, animal nutrition, and USDA/AZA standards.

Keeper internships consist of a scheduled work week to be determined by the supervisor and intern. Internships are generally 16 weeks long. A minimum commitment of 30 hours per week is required (considerations may be made for students attending classes). Interns must be flexible with their schedule and have the ability to work weekdays, weekends and holidays.

All positions are unpaid with no housing provided.

How to Apply

Fill out the application.
Attach a cover letter, resume, transcript, and two letters of reference.
Send to:
Red River Zoo
4255 23rd Ave S
Fargo, ND 58104

Applications must be postmarked by the following dates for the following sessions:

  • Summer (May-August) – April 1st
  • Fall (September-December) – July 15th
  • Winter (January-April) – November 15th


If you have questions about our Zookeeping internships or your application, please contact Erin Tervaskis at [email protected].