Wildlife Intern

Expected Dates
August 26, 2019 to August 23, 2020
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Position ID
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a diverse, tropical desert on the international boundary and 60 miles from the Sea of Cortez. Summers are VERY hot and winters are mild. Interns will gain experience with wildlife inventory and monitoring and research, including work to conserve threatened and endangered species and other species of conservation concern. Tasks will be performed both independently and with others as part of a team. This would be an ideal position to prepare those interested in pursuing graduate school and a career in wildlife research.

Anticipated projects and tasks are as follows:
  • Wildlife Program: Data collection on a wide variety of wildlife takes place year round, all related to wildlife ecology, conservation, and research. Activities include setting up and taking down small animal traps, radio-tracking wildlife, operating trail cameras, placing acoustic monitoring equipment, and managing data collected in the field following specific protocols. Maintaining field equipment and databases are large parts of this position, and require work in the office and field. Candidates will learn to follow data collection protocols following a variety of sampling approaches to estimate abundance and occupancy of wildlife. 
    • Candidates will likely assist with inventory or monitoring projects for the following taxa: bird (point counts), mammal (small mammal trapping, camera trapping, and acoustic monitoring for bats), reptile (visual encounter surveys, line transects for tortoises, and pitfall/funnel trapping for snakes), and amphibian monitoring (acoustic and visual encounter surveys). Some surveys for arthropods may occur also. Disease surveillance will occur as part of field activities, including for White-nose Syndrome in bats and Chytridiomycosis in amphibians.
    • Cattle, burros, and horses occasionally enter the monument where they cause damage to soils and vegetation. Program activities including inspection and repair of the barbwire fence and the location and removal of trespass livestock.
  • Quitobaquito conservation project: Quitobaquito Springs is a unique desert oasis and habitat for the (Endangered) Quitobaquito Pupfish and Sonoyta Mud Turtle.
    • Tasks will include maintenance of aquatic and adjacent terrestrial habitats, annual population surveys, and maintaining a reserve pond for pupfish.

Compensation amounts:

  • $1,100 - one time RT travel allowance
  • $160 - weekly living allowance
  • $500 - one time PPE/work gear allowance
  • AmeriCorps eligible ($5,815 education award)
  • Housing

*All allowances subject to applicable federal, state, and local taxes

*Please include a 1-2 page resume as an attachment with your SCA application


  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located in a remote part of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. Park headquarters is located 34 miles south of the town of Ajo, Arizona, and 5 miles north of the international boundary with Mexico. Organ Pipe is a winter paradise and a surprisingly lush and green environment. Average daytime temperatures range from 108 degrees in the summer to 60-70 degrees in the winter. Local towns provide amenities that allow individuals to adjust to living in the desert; larger cities (Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma) are all a few hours’ drive away. In Ajo (population ~3,500) you will find: a medical clinic, a county library, a county park, swimming pool, ball parks and community center, and several national-chain stores for household goods, groceries, and electronics.
  • Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) units; field safety; identification of Sonoran Desert wildlife; standardized wildlife inventory & monitoring techniques; data entry & management. Additional opportunities may be available as time permits.
  • Educational: training in standardized sampling approaches for wildlife monitoring, T&E species conservation, and Sonoran Desert ecology.
    Rec: camping/hiking/running/gravel road biking/gym on site. Gulf of CA ~60 mi. away in Mexico.
  • No
Main Area of Focus
Wildlife Mgmt
Education, Training & Skills Expected
degree major or professional experience
some coursework or experience
Ecology & Restoration
degree minor or extensive experience
Bird Identification
some experience
Data Entry
some experience
Field Research
some experience
some experience
some experience