Whooping Crane Chick Rearing and Release Internship

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is looking to fill 4 Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Internship positions for 2022.

Positions are between 6-8 months in duration; with start dates between April 1-15. 

Background: Since our inception in 1973, The International Crane Foundations (ICF) Internship program has focused on developing future leaders in their field. At ICF, interns learn through hands-on experience that are guided by seasoned professionals.  Many of our staff started in our internship program.  We hope you will join us. We promise to help you advance your skills.

The International Crane Foundation (ICF) is a leader in the conservation of the world’s 15 crane species and is dedicated to providing experience, knowledge, and inspiration to involve people in resolving threats to cranes and the ecosystems vital to their long-term survival. ICF’s world headquarters is located just outside Baraboo, WI.  ICF participates in captive breeding and rearing of Whooping cranes for release in the 2 reintroduction programs. For more information about our conservation programs, please visit our website at www.savingcranes.org.

Learning Goals: Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Interns (WCCRRI) will receive training and assist in the intensive care and management of raising endangered crane chicks, specifically whooping cranes for captivity and release and will:

  • Learn husbandry skills related to health care daily cleaning and feeding of the flock
  • Learn through participating in the management of birds in a zoological setting, and specifically for release
  • Acquire an understanding of captive propagation including participation in artificial insemination, egg incubation, chick rearing
  • Assist with routine set-up, maintenance & winterization of crane facilities both on campus & in the field
  • Learn and practice safe crane defense, handling and restraint techniques
  • Learn and follow strict isolation rearing protocols for raising chicks for release
  • Learn techniques in the proper costume parental behaviors when working with chicks, providing them with experiences to develop survival skills in the wild
  • Learn how to conduct behavioral observations associated with chick-rearing, breeding, or animal welfare assessments
  • Learn and use ZIMS for record keeping and communication among staff
  • Acquire knowledge of and participate in tracking cranes free roaming in WI
  • Learn about ICF project initiatives related to crane ecology, behavior and husbandry, field conservation and ecology; and ecosystem restoration techniques and processes
  • Our goal is for Interns to participate in projects with set goals and workplans. These projects are shared through a formal presentation and paper.
  • Part of internship will be completed on a USFWS Refuge

Besides regular duties, our interns have opportunities to participate in activities in other departments including:

  • Assist the Conservation Education Department with on-site visitor outreach through special tours
  • Have the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of professional staff at ICF
  • Participate in prescribed burns
  • Whooping Crane Chick Rearing Intern may help with all aspects of the captive flock and responsibilities will vary depending upon the timing and number of chicks hatching.

A taxable $800/month stipend including on-site housing is provided.  A typical work week is 5 days (40-50 hours) with 2 consecutive days off.  Interns are required to work weekends and holidays.  Some responsibilities require non-traditional work hours which may include early mornings, evenings or night checks.


  • Two years of college or equivalent practical experience required; 4-yr college degree or Associate degree in a relevant program preferred.
  • 6-months of animal care experience with a focus in avian biology or zoo-keeping preferred.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment with minimal supervision.
  • Well-developed communication skills including speaking to large visitor groups
  • Reliability, sound judgment, and ability to master tasks and comprehend concepts quickly and correctly.
  • This position is physically demanding. Applicants must be able to carry 50 pounds and be able to lift, bend, or stoop for extended lengths of time.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license.
  • Interns must be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus prior to starting employment or request a religious or reasonable accommodation.
  • Ability to abide by all WI state, local & ICF institutional policies regarding COVID-19.
  • Ability to abide by all USFWS policies when working on USFWS Refuges.
  • Must be able to commit to the minimum 6-month duration.
  • Ability to work outdoors every day in all weather conditions found in Wisconsin, but also indoors in an office environment.
  • Ability to work a varied schedule.
  • All applicants must be eligible to work in the United States at the time they apply.
  • Basic CPR & First Aid training is desired.
  • Knowledge of tracking, reading maps & GPS skills are a plus.

Application Procedure:  Applicants should send a one-page cover letter including start date availability, resume (no more than two pages), and contact information for three references to:  ICFinternships@savingcranes.org.  Please use the subject line “Whooping Crane Chick Rearing & Release Internship”.  Applications will be reviewed as they are received.

“The International Crane Foundation is committed to cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. We hire great people.

The International Crane Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.