Internships & Volunteers

Exotic Cat Internship

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a no-kill facility dedicated to rescuing abused, abandoned and unwanted big cats. The refuge is located in NW Arkansas is seeking a full-time, 6 months Intern Keeper. The refuge is a non-profit facility of over 100 rescued exotic cats. Work is often physically demanding. Applicants must be self-motivated, with high desire to provide the best care available to animals. Applicants must also be observant and able to keep detailed records. The ability to work in a team environment or independently is important. A degree in Zoology, Biology or related field is preferred, but experience with exotic animal husbandry may be considered. Twelve positions are opened each internship. Internships run every six months. If you are looking for a full-time internship working around big cats you just may have found it.

Job Description:

  • Work in a Captive Animal Institution – Responsible for the daily care of Tigers, Lions, Cougars, Black Bears, Black Leopards, African Servals, Bobcats, Rhesus Macaque, and Hoof stock. Duties include animal husbandry, enrichment, record keeping of animal behavior, educational public tours, and customer service.
  • Prepare and Present Information to the Public – Responsible for greeting customers and guided tours throughout the facility. Educate the public about each resident species and the direction of the facility’s future.
  • Prepare and Maintain Animal Housing – Responsible for maintaining animal and customer safety through daily exhibit checks. This includes routine landscaping, clearing habitats of underbrush, and providing animal enrichment.
  • Prepare Diets and Monitor Feeding – Maintain food quality and hygiene standards or produce and meat. Prepare and diets and monitor every animal’s intake. Feed all animals and observe quantities of waste for diet recommendations. Record weight loss or gain for each animal.
  • Monitor and Maintain Animal Health – Maintain daily records of animal defecation and any loss of appetite to identify any abnormal behavior and signs of illness. Administer daily medications. Prepare and maintain quarantine areas for recent rescues.
  • Restrain and Assist in Moving Animals – Assist in relocating cats to more appropriate enclosures. Follow all safety procedures in loading and unloading and during transport of animals.
  • Identify Behavioral Needs and Improve Husbandry – Identify behavioral needs and provide approved enrichment for the animals which includes but may not be limited to environmental and scent enrichments.
  • Maintain Exhibits and Assist With Design – Assist with the design and construction of 1/2 acre enclosures. Maintain exhibits daily and detect and control pests. place power to control ticks and clear underbrush to prevent snakes.


Weekly cash stipend for food.
Housing is provided on the refuge.
Amenities: Heat, A/C, utilities paid, full bath, kitchen, washer & dryer, satellite TV, free long distance, internet access.


Fall Position begins: August 15th
Spring Position begins: February 1st

Deadline for fall internship applications: April 1
Deadline for spring internship applications: November 1

To Apply:

Send your Cover Letter and Resume to:

Emily McCormack
Curator/Intern Recruiter

** 2 Letters of Recommendation Prefered

Horticulture Internship

The Horticulture Intern will assist with the maintenance and improvement of the landscaped areas of the Refuge, including the planting, pruning and watering of trees, shrubs and perennials, spreading mulch on landscaped areas, labeling of plant displays, mowing; weed, undergrowth and plant litter removal. Also, responsible for the identification and removal of toxic plants; as well as the development of browse for environmental enrichment. This internship requires the completion of an Independent Project developed under the guidance of the Intern supervisor and will coordinate volunteers in support of project goal. Must be able to lift 50+ lbs. Requires the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Horticulture, Botany, or a related field involving horticultural and landscaping practices. One position is opened each internship. Internships run every six months.

Job Description:

  • Responsible for the routine horticulture, landscaping, and grounds maintenance activities at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.
  • Consults with Zoologist/Intern Supervisor regarding field changes and the implementation of landscape designs. Also, maintains general appearance of animal habitats as directed by Zoologists.
  • Plans, evaluates, and directs horticultural and landscaping activities, including the selection of plants, seeds, chemicals, horticultural displays, materials and equipment.
  • Diagnoses plant physiological problems caused by insects and diseases; develops and implements treatment plan. Identifies and removes toxic plants as needed from animal enclosures.
  • Determines annual plant needs; purchases plants, fertilizers, chemicals and other supplies for specific projects.
  • Provides technical information and answers questions regarding horticulture, landscaping, toxic plant life, and browse items for environmental enrichment for the animal collection.
  • Coordinates and directs volunteer gardening group activities; provides technical assistance, supplies and materials and maintenance support services for horticulture projects.
  • Operates automobiles service vehicles, and heavy equipment in the performance of essential job functions.
  • This position would also require that as part of the daily landscaping duties an intern will have to develop, plan, and execute (on their own) a major landscaping project as a condition of their internship.


Weekly cash stipend for food.
Housing is provided on the refuge.
Amenities: Heat, A/C, utilities paid, full bath, kitchen, washer & dryer, satellite TV, free long distance, internet access.


New Position begins: February 1
Deadline for fall internship applications: April 15
Deadline for spring internship applications: November 15

To Apply:


Send your cover letter and resume to:

Emily McCormack
Volunteer program
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
239 Turpentine Creek Lane
Eureka Springs, AR 72632


Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is always in need for volunteers. Individuals or groups will find their donated time very rewarding. There are many projects which need to be done that currently take time from our primary staff. If you or your group are looking for something to do with their idol time, call Ivy Cooper Tuesday-Saturday, 9am-3pm at 479.253.5958, or email her at

Thank you so much for your interest in volunteering to help the animals and the refuge. The staff and interns take care of over 100 big cats and all of these volunteer projects free the staff and interns to do other necessary tasks.

If you are interested in bringing a group here are a few of the projects that you can help with:

  • Painting
  • Clearing existing enclosures
  • Grounds maintenance
  • Construction
  • Highway cleanup
  • Habitat Construction – when materials are available
  • Special event volunteers ( 4th of July, Pow Wow, Halloween etc.)

There is no contact with the animals – but working around them, and must be 12 or older (accompanied by an adult if under 18).


If you are interested individual volunteer on a weekly or biweekly basis we need:

  • Grounds maintenance
  • Concession stand worker
  • Downtown store clerk

If you are interested in working from home we need:

  • Volunteer to call different companies and get items that are on our wish list donated
  • Volunteer to help pass out our informational fliers and brochures