Alouatta Sanctuary near David, Panama provides a limited number of internship opportunities for those seeking first-hand experience in the fields of primate rehabilitation, tropical forest conservation, and environmental education. Don’t have enough time to intern with us? Consider a conservation clinic or volunteer to contribute what you can.
Alouatta Sanctuary is the only wildlife rehabilitation site in Panama currently specializing in the rehabilitation of primates, with an emphasis on mantled howler monkeys. As such, it serves an important role in conserving animals critical to tropical forest ecosystems, and educating the public about primate biology and rainforest conservation. Successful applicants will participate in primate rehabilitation efforts, contribute to educational programs, assist with ongoing research projects, and support the day-to-day functioning of the facility. Training is available in the fields of wildlife rehabilitation, environmental education, primate behavior and ecology, tropical forest biology, field sampling procedures, and data processing techniques (including GIS).
Current openings are available for interns interested in the following:
Wildlife Rehabilitation: Alouatta Sanctuary specializes in the rehabilitation of mantled howler monkeys. However, we also accept other mammals and birds in need of aid. Interns assist in the daily care of rehabilitated animals and monitor newly released individuals, documenting feeding preferences and interactions with free-ranging howler monkey groups.
Tropical Forest Conservation: Alouatta Sanctuary has been strategically reforested to form part of a corridor between two intact primary forests. As a result, the property functions as critical wildlife habitat for a variety of species (mantled howler monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, night monkeys, ocelots, peccaries, coatis, and many others). Interns are needed to conduct wildlife censuses using line transects and remote camera traps, as well as to conduct behavioral observations of primate habitat-use. Opportunities may also be available to assist in further reforestation efforts.
Primate Cognition: Mantled howler monkeys do not thrive in captivity. There are extremely few in zoological institutions in the Americas, Europe, or Australia, and as a result, few opportunities to study howler monkey cognitive abilities. At Alouatta Sanctuary, interns help to conduct a series of cognitive experiments in the form of foraging challenges that address howler monkey knowledge of the physical world. These experiments provide important enrichment opportunities for the primates we rehabilitate and yield new information for the scientific community as to primate cognitive abilities.
Primate Bioacoustics: Vocalization studies not only provide a valuable window into an animal's behavior and ecology, they can also serve as a powerful conservation tool. Here at Alouatta Sanctuary, we study primate vocalizations in order to improve auditory survey methods and individual identification techniques, as well as to better understand vocalization context and meaning.
Environmental Education: Education forms a critical component of our conservation efforts. Interns give lectures on mantled howler monkey behavior and conservation, lead short nature walks, and contribute to the development of educational materials. The opportunity to assist our environmental education specialist in presentations at local primary and secondary schools may also be available.
Funding, Qualifications and Application Instructions:
We are currently accepting applications for the following programs:
GREAT OPPORTUNITY!! Due to a last-minute cancellation, we will open our Fall Internship program to a short term intern in August/September (2 week minimum). Applicants available for 2-6 weeks between the dates of Aug 1-Sept 20 will be considered (start date flexible). All other Fall internship positions have been filled.
Short Winter Internship:
Dec-Jan (2 weeks, dates flexible); requests for longer stays during this period will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Jan-June (3 month minimum stay)
June-August (3 month minimum stay)
Flexible Start Dates & Lengths
SALARY/FUNDING: Long-term interns (at least three months) will be provided with housing at Alouatta Sanctuary, but are unpaid and will be responsible for providing their own airfare to David as well as $800/mo in fees to cover training and food. In addition to airfare, short-term Winter interns (2-weeks) must cover their room, board, and training at a rate of $850 per person per short-term internship. Accommodations are shared but comfortable (hot water, electricity, internet). We are located roughly ½ hour from David, Panama, a modern city with all the amenities (an international airport, hospitals, supermarkets, hardware stores, movie theatres, etc). The sanctuary’s location also provides an excellent base to explore the best nature Panama has to offer (cloud forests, beaches, marine parks) during time off.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: All applicants must be physically fit, have excellent communication skills and the ability to work with people of all ages and from different cultures. Applicants must be able to provide proof of a negative TB test (Mantoux or x-ray) and Hepatitis (A & B) vaccinations, and must purchase current international health insurance while in Panama. For longer term internships (Spring, Summer, Fall) experience traveling to the tropics or living in remote conditions is a plus, as is coursework or work experience in primate ecology or environmental education. Short-term August or Winter internships are open to those without prior experience or training or coursework in conservation/biology.
To inquire about internships, contact us via email at :