Current Tufts student Sarah Lok shared the following about being a Summer Intern at Three Ring Ranch Exotic Animal Sanctuary …
What did you do as an intern at this organization?
Alongside two other summer interns, we were responsible for the sole management of the sanctuary and care of all resident animals, ranging in species from zebras and monkeys to ostriches, bison, flamingoes, horses, parrots, and alpacas. We cared for all routine and emergent needs of the animals, including daily nutrition, enclosure maintenance, enrichment, medication, exercise, behavioral observation, rehabilitation, and veterinary treatment.
How did you find this internship?
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
Working with animals has always been my life passion, so the opportunity to spend several months with that as my sole occupation was extremely rewarding, as we came to know and love each of the resident animals. It was also gratifying to be trusted with such a high responsibility of being in charge of the ranch for a month, and taught us an incredible amount of organization, dedication, and communication in order to keep everything running.
What did you find challenging?
This internship is extremely dense– over 400 hours packed into 7-8 weeks, because we work 7 days a week for 8-12 hours/day. This is because when the directors leave for a month, the residential interns are responsible for making sure everything is done, with only the help of 1-3 volunteers in the morning. Thus, it was very physically and mentally demanding to be working without significant breaks for long periods of time.
What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
Push yourself to take on scary and challenging opportunities, yet remember your own humanity! I was so excited to move to Hawai’i and work with animals, that I almost forgot how terrifying and difficult that could be. I was alone on an island far away from people I knew and loved, and was tasked with hard manual labor for days on end– there were definitely times I had break downs or needed to step away. Give yourself a break and a pat on the back when you take on incredible experiences like these!
About the Organization
Founded in 1998, the Three Ring Ranch is a private, non-profit, exotic animal sanctuary located on five acres above Kona. It is home to zebras, nene, hawks, owls, flamingos and reptiles, as well as many other rare, endangered and exotic creatures.