- Gain hands-on experience in the health and management of primates, psittacines (birds), and reptiles
- Watch and learn how veterinarians manage the care of wildlife in the field where resources are limited
- Assist in wildlife care at the rehab center, including exams, treatments, surgeries, and necropsies
Here is the testimony from Jasmine Hanson, class of 2022. Jasmine went on this program during the pandemic in May 2021.
"My time in Guatemala was exciting and the two weeks flew by. I would recommend it to anyone with a passion for exotics, wildlife, or even just traveling. While Spanish is not required for this rotation, it does make it easier when travelling, at TIKAL, and for speaking to some of the workers. I gained a lot of hands-on experience, especially with birds. For avians, I was able to restrain, observe behaviors, practice catching raptors, and give injections among various other things. Some of the highlights in other species were drawing blood, giving microchips, and practicing restraint on monkeys, crocodiles, and armadillos. I was also able to practice general skills like running bloodwork, monitoring sedation, and viewing radiographs. There was a strong focus on husbandry in this rotation, but I actually appreciated that because husbandry is the number one issue with exotic pets. Additionally, it helped me to learn normals for the species I worked with, several of which are found as pets in the United States. After getting into rotations at the school, I realized that the husbandry level was on par with in-hospital rotations. The cases seen are those that present normally for this rotation. As such, there can be a huge variance in procedures done, but they try to make sure all students get hands-on experience with a variety of animals. There is also an opportunity to visit TIKAL National Park. This allowed me to see animals in their natural habitat and better appreciate cultural differences. In addition, lectures were also presented on all the categories of animals they take in there (ie, we didn’t talk about dogs & cats) as well as conservation medicine as a whole and One Health. They try to tailor the lectures to who is present, and are equipped to work with vet students, pre-vets, research students and others."
- Visit the Banos Zoo & Wildlife Center and assist staff with exams & treatments for the reptiles
- Work in a spay/neuter clinic with experienced veterinarians and assist with surgeries
- Visit local farms and learn about their breeding programs
- Amazing excursions, such as hiking up the volcanos in the Galapagos Island, visiting the national park, rappelling down waterfalls, and many more.