Chelonian Internships

Turtle Survival Center Internship Program - Cross, South Carolina


The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is offering a unique opportunity for self-motivated people to gain hands-on experience with the day to day operations of a non-profit chelonian conservation center. The TSA is seeking applicants for full time internships at the TSA's Turtle Survival Center (TSC) in Cross, South Carolina.

About the Organization:

The TSA's mission statement is: Transforming passion for turtles into effective conservation action through a global network of living collections and recovery programs. The Turtle Survival Alliance Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, an action-oriented global partnership, focusing on species that are at high risk of extinction, and working in turtle diversity hotspots around the world. Widely recognized as a global catalyst for turtle conservation based on its reputation for swift and decisive action, the TSA has made a bold commitment to zero turtle extinctions in the 21st century. With projects or programs in Belize, Colombia, Europe, Madagascar, and throughout Asia, the TSA is a recognized force for turtle conservation globally.

In 2013, the TSA centralized its base of operations by opening the Turtle Survival Center in South Carolina. In just six years the TSC has become recognized as a world-class turtle conservation center, complete with a greenhouse, veterinary clinic, quarantine facility, and multiple indoor/outdoor enclosures. This center is the TSA’s first and only U.S.-based conservation center,
and is home to a growing collection of more than 700 turtles and tortoises, representing 30 of the world’s critically endangered species, and cared for by a staff of five full time employees.

Responsibilities and Expectations:

Volunteer interns are expected to work independently and with TSC staff in a team setting to fulfill the operational needs of the center. All interns will assist with the general day to day operations of the TSC. Responsibilities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing high standards of animal husbandry to a diverse group of critically endangered chelonians
  • Monitoring animal health
  • Keeping accurate records
  • Maintaining cleanliness of animal areas
  • Propagating chelonians, including egg care and incubation
  • Assisting with veterinary care procedures
  • Performing basic animal medical treatments  
  • General maintenance of facilities, upkeep of grounds and buildings
  • Horticulture/gardening, particularly in animal areas
  • Assisting with enclosure design and construction
  • Interacting with other interns, volunteers, students, visiting biologists, and guests
  • Participation in outreach events as well as guest tours of the facility
  • Ensuring security of the facility


  • A positive and flexible attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to adapt to a changing work environment
  • Hold or be pursuing a degree in biology, ecology, conservation, zoo keeping, exotic veterinary medicine, or related field
  • Demonstrated interest in wildlife and conservation
  • Experience with animal husbandry (particularly reptiles) preferred
  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to live in on-site housing throughout the duration of the internship
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license and a personal vehicle is required
  • Must be able to pass a background check
  • Must be in good physical shape (capable of lifting 50 pounds)

Work Environment:

  • Team oriented environment in a remote location
  • Expect an irregular work schedule consisting of days, weekends, and holidays. Some
    workdays may exceed 8 hours.
  • Ability to work outdoors in heat, humidity, and around biting insects
  • On-site housing is available, which may be co-ed, and which may require sharing a room
    with another intern of the same gender. No pets are allowed.


Dates can be flexible but applicants must be
able to apply for a minimum of two (2) months. Extensions for internships are on a case by case


This is a volunteer internship position. Successful applicants will pay their own travel expenses to
and from the Turtle Survival Center and a program fee of $500.00 per month. This program fee
covers on-site housing while at the TSC. Applicants are encouraged to pursue funding and/or
academic credit with their host institution for participating in this internship. If there are any
special requirements for an applicant to receive academic credit for an internship, please let us
know in your application so we may determine if the TSA can accommodate any requests.

Application Process:

Please email a letter of interest and CV or resume to the TSA’s Chelonian Keeper, Clinton Doak
(, and include a date range of availability.

"The experience I had at the TSC this past summer was unforgettable for a multitude of reasons. One of which was the chance to work behind the scenes of the front line to prevent chelonian extinctions. A lot of work and dedication goes into maintaining assurance colonies, a term I wasn't very familiar with until my internship. This was incredibly valuable to me as an undergraduate student in Wildlife Science. I also was introduced to many species not native to the United States, which increased my repertoire of knowledge. I got a lot of tactile work experience that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else. The internship really provided me with a better idea of the path I want to take after grad school, and I personally think it might be the best thing a student interested in turtles can partake in.”

-Lyndsi Gilbert, TSA Intern 2017

Lyndsi Gilbert Manouria emys
Interns 2018