Pinniped Research/Training Internship

Organization: Vancouver Aquarium (AZA Member)
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Job or Internship: Internship

Pinniped Research/Training Internship

Mission Statement of the Vancouver Aquarium: The Vancouver Aquarium is a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research, and direct action.

Marine Mammal Department

An integral part of the Aquariums mission is the display of marine mammals for education, interpretation and research. The Marine Mammal department at the Vancouver Aquarium cares for and trains 30+ individuals of 6 different species, some of which include Pacific white sided dolphins, Beluga whales, Harbour Seals, sea otters, fur seals and Steller sea lions. We are dedicated to providing the best care possible for each of our animals. Our training is based on positive reinforcement.

Pinniped Research Internship Program Description

The Vancouver Aquarium along with the University of British Columbia have joined forces to investigate the decline of the Steller Sea Lion and Northern Fur Seal. This internship program will give an unique opportunity to become involved with the aquarium’s research department focusing on the two species and being involved in a dedicated team looking at the dynamics of these animals.

The program will initially involve the same structure as the other internship but will then branch out into more research, observational based, assisting trainers and technicians with the day to day operation of two facilities.

Resumes will be accepted for a winter/spring internship (Jan 2nd to April 25, 2014) in the marine mammal department. This internship is designed to introduce practical experience in husbandry skills and the basics of training in combination with the many skills that are associated with being an excellent marine mammal trainer. This goal will be accomplished by working closely with our marine mammal staff under the supervision of a mentor. Regular evaluations, both formal and informal will allow for a productive and fun learning experience. This is an unpaid 40 hours per week, three to four month position. During the placement period you will experience all aspects of marine mammal care, including but not limited to, facility cleaning, diet preparation, public presentations, interactive programs, and animal training/husbandry sessions.

Essential Responsibilities

During the early stages, interns will spend a large portion of their time cleaning exhibits and preparing animal diets. Daily animal observations, training tutorials, record keeping, participating in the department’s enrichment program and observing and assisting in the training of the Aquariums marine mammal collection will help complete the day.


Applicants must be currently enrolled in a community college or university, or a recent graduate and intending to pursue a career in marine mammal care and training. Must be a highly motivated self-starter. No previous marine mammal experience is necessary for the position.


All candidates are expected to find their own accommodations in Vancouver. For more information on accommodation and maps, please find resources like the “Student Guide for Living in Vancouver” on our intern webpage

Application Deadline and Number of Positions

Two unpaid internship placements are available for each time slot. Applications are due by Sept 30, 2013. Selections made by Oct 22rd, 2013. Please note these dates are subject to change.

How to apply

Please send resume, letter of interest, and one reference letter to or by mail to the attention of Marine Mammal Department, Marine Mammal Training Internship, Vancouver Aquarium, PO Box 3232, Vancouver BC V6B3X8. Your letter of interest should include your availability, what experience you have, what you hope to gain from the placement, how you heard about the placement and your career goals. Successful applicants will be contacted.

Good luck to all our applicants. Thank you for your interest in the Vancouver Aquarium’s Internship program.