Rescue / Rehabilitation
We have juvenile to adult sea turtles under our care, both at our floating sea turtle hospital and at our local partner university and hotel resorts. Interns will be trained by knowledgeable staff in sea turtle rescue, rehabilitation, and husbandry. Interns will assist our staff in administering medical treatments to our injured sea turtle patients, including IV fluid therapy, antibiotic injections, tube feeding, vitamin and physical therapy. Furthermore, interns will aid in the daily husbandry of sea turtles, including feeding, cleaning, hospital upkeep, and overall care for the turtles. They will have the opportunity to work with three species of sea turtles: Hawksbill, Green, and Olive Ridley, with the possibility of working with each species in different life stages. It is important for all interns to be knowledgeable and have a first hand account of the human imposed threats that sea turtles face, and what better way than aiding sea turtles in their rescue and recovery!
Requirements: Interest in wildlife rehabilitation; ability to swim; comfortable on the water; reliable and adroit worker
Preferences: Past experience in wildlife rehabilitation; studying animal science; pre-vet; marine biology; conservation; environmental science or related fields
Research / Aquaculture
To further sea turtle conservation, conducting research in all aspects of the biology of sea turtles is important to the scientific community, management agencies, and conservation organizations throughout the world. Interns will assist our staff in marine turtle tagging and satellite telemetry tracking projects. Interns will be trained in research techniques, including blood sampling and tissue biopsy for DNA analysis and genetics research. Interns are encouraged to design new research projects; they also have the opportunity to work on current research projects with graduate students and professors at the local university.
Our sea turtle hospital is literally floating on the ocean water, in a Chinese floating fishermen village, where the main source of income is the aquaculture of fish, crustaceans and shellfish. Our sea turtle hospital is set up similar to that of aquaculture fish farms that surround us, with sea water free flowing through netted enclosures. This setup is very different than aquariums or other sea turtle rehab centers that house their turtles in indoor tanks with a complex filtration system to mimic the marine environment. We rely on the natural tidal cycle to circulate fresh sea water for our sea turtles; thus, there are many research opportunities that interns can investigate into about sea turtle growth and maintenance in this unique oceanic setup.
Since our hospital is set up similar to fish farms, many aquaculture techniques are used to provide the most suitable habitat for the turtles under our care. For example, we raise several species of fish that aid in the cleaning of our sea turtles in order to replicate the natural environment as close as possible. Many species of sea turtles have a symbiotic relationship with fish; in the wild, fish clean the algae and other epibiota that grow on the turtles. Interns would utilize their knowledge of aquaculture to raise fish, on a small scale, and maintain the sea turtles' habitat. Additionally, interns could utilize their skills and knowledge to introduce new or “Western” aquaculture techniques to help fishing families find an alternative source of income, rather than sea turtle farming. This will better our relationship with the local community and make it easier to spread our message of sea turtle conservation.
Research interns will design their own research project in any area of interest to them and in benefit to the organization and the betterment of sea turtle conservation. Research can be worked on and completed at any of the facilities available to Sea Turtles 911, including the sea turtle hospital, a local sea turtle farm, and local university. By Week 3, a research proposal will be submitted to the Director for approval.
Requirements: An intern must be self-motivating, willing to research and consult with experts in the field, and then apply the knowledge and techniques learned toward projects that benefit sea turtles, the community, or marine conservation in general.
Preferences: Student of or experience in research, marine biology, aquaculture, fisheries science, molecular biology, genetics, captive breeding, marine toxicology or related field; proficient knowledge of marine aquaculture techniques
We have established partnerships with some renowned hotel resorts, such as The Ritz-Carlton. They house our rescued turtles while providing us with a podium for our message of sea turtle conservation to the public. An intern working in this area would help develop education programs and events at each resort location, while improving our public relations. Depending on the resort, this could include making sea turtle conservation presentations, planning sea turtle release events, marketing ecotourism packages, and coordinating sea turtle kids camps. Interns will also work with tour agencies to create ecotourism itineraries for visitors to our floating sea turtle hospital, as well as for Chinese tourists traveling abroad. We encourage interns to advance our tourism partnerships with new ideas of ecotourism.
Requirements: An intern must be an adept public speaker and/or writer; have experience in teaching; and have an interest in ecotourism
Preferences: Past experience in project/program development; studying environmental science, conservation, tourism, journalism, public relations, or hotel management
Education / Public Awareness
This is a broad topic and covers many facets of interest. Our ultimate goal is to change the perception of sea turtles from an animal to be made into a product to a valuable living creature worthy of conserving! Thus, we are working to gain public attention through education to show people how important sea turtles are to their lives. We do this through many methods, from bombarding tourist traps with sea turtle brochures to standing on a crowded street in a sea turtle costume. By using sea turtles as a flagship species we hope to spread marine conservation throughout China. Marketing the image of a sea turtle can be useful to advancing conservation awareness. This could be achieved by getting a corporation to adopt a sea turtle as their logo, or having a Chinese celebrity promote sea turtle conservation in China. Interns will gain experience working with local schools, hotels, and the news media, to promote our environmental conservation message to the general public. Since communication is essential to public education, interns will have the opportunity to learn Chinese by working with local English teachers while developing their own method for public education. This could be anything from speaking at local universities to garner chinese student body support, teaching English with a focus on marine conservation to fishermen families, writing a children’s book about sea turtles, fabricating children’s sea turtle games, online social media marketing, to creating promotional brochures or videos.
Education interns will participate in any and all scheduled educational programming, including school field trips, ecotourism programs, English education, resort educational programs, and university meetings.
Interns will contribute to all aspects of the Sea Turtles 911 education programs, including development, presentation, awareness, and promotion. In particular, each intern will create a focus project in each of the areas of development, awareness, and promotion that they will work on during the duration of their internship. The development project can include the creation of new or the improvement of current educational program activities and materials in use by Sea Turtles 911. The awareness project will involve the exposure of sea turtle conservation issues in China locally, domestically, or internationally. The promotion project will improve the visibility of our education programs either nationally or internationally, and cultivate interest in school participation in China. All project ideas will be designed by the intern, and discussed with their supervisor at the beginning of Week 3 for final determination by the end of the same week.
Requirements: Imagination and enthusiasm to save sea turtles
Preferences: Studying a field in education and/or teaching, photography, videography, artist, graphic designer, writer, or strong public speaker