Summer Intern Update: Wildlife Rescue Center

Melanie Walukonis

Biology/Physics of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences

Wildlife Rescue Center - Animal Care Intern

My name is Melanie Walukonis and I have learned many valuable skills and experienced more than I could ever imagine so far during my summer internship. I am interning at a Wildlife Rescue Center. It is a non-profit organization that works to provide rehabilitation and wound care to orphaned and injured wildlife species in Missouri. Many animals are offered care at this facility such as geese, mallards, squirrels, cottontail rabbits, opossums, skunks, foxes, and turtles. Taking part in this opportunity stemmed from my interest in veterinary medicine, and I hope to attend veterinary school in the near future.

As an intern at the Wildlife Rescue Center, no day is ever completely the same. At the beginning of each shift staff, volunteers, and interns work together to start infant feedings early on and make sure everything is set for the day. On a typical day, I will most likely feed and clean up after either opossum, squirrel, or mallard babies. Throughout the day, I not only get to provide general care for adult species, but also learn what goes on behind the scenes with intake and triage of patients. Whether an infant was abandoned, or an animal is injured by a human cause, there is always something new to learn when new patients come in. Most recently during my internship, I have been able to provide wound care and medications to several species, which I would consider to be my most valuable learning experience so far. Being able to provide any form of relief to suffering animals is what makes this position so rewarding.

I believe this internship has given me so many valuable experiences to take with me when applying for graduate school and other positions. It has been a privilege to work with wildlife species and learn about conservation efforts. I have enjoyed my time in this experience and am thankful that I have had the opportunity to grow from it.