The Wilds

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The Wilds is situated on nearly 10,000 acres of reclaimed surface-mined land in southeastern Ohio. We are a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support conservation through innovative education, breeding and research programs that emphasize the protection and intensive management of our wildlife resources.

Veterinary preceptorship positions are available at the Wilds on a competitive basis to senior veterinary students within the United States, Canada, and internationally. Applicants should demonstrate a genuine desire to continue their professional career in the zoo or wildlife field and will be required to spend at least a six week period with the Wildlife and Conservation Medicine Department at the Wilds. The preceptorship program at the Wilds is designed to provide veterinary students with exposure to the fields of wildlife, exotic animal, and conservation medicine. This experience will help students to make further career and educational decisions.

The animal programs division at the Wilds is composed of the Department of Wildlife and Conservation Medicine and the Department of Animal Management and Health. Facilities include 2 separate veterinary facilities, including laboratory, surgery and treatment areas, necropsy and research laboratories and unique hoofstock handling systems.


Associate Veterinarians and special expertise available

  • Dr. Rae Gandolf, Senior Veterinarian & Director Of Conservation Medicine; Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine
  • Dr. Julie Ter Beest, Veterinary Resident (ACZM accredited residency); Masters’ degree in wildlife
  • Dr. Barbara Wolfe, Chief Science Officer at the Wilds and The Columbus Zoo, Preventative Medicine/ One Health Faculty at OSU; PhD in reproductive physiology, Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine

Educational Resources

  • texts
  • journals and reprints


Students are encouraged to become actively involved in procedures ranging from basic animal management to field immobilization procedures and associated laboratory techniques. The preceptor will assist in the daily management of all animals, including the evaluation and treatment of any clinical cases. This participation involves assisting with chemical and physical restraint procedures, becoming familiar with drug usage and dosages, maintaining records (both written and MedArks), becoming familiar with equipment and drug delivery systems, and performing post-mortem examinations. Students develop proficiency in current in-house laboratory procedures such as parasite diagnostic techniques and are expected to assist with various routine duties such as the upkeep of instruments, equipment, and the clinic area.

"Down time" should be used for required reading which consists of technical and research literature, and for using available resources to research relevant topics. Students are also expected to take on a small project in their area of interest that can be completed over the course of the preceptorship or take an active role in an ongoing project within the department.

There are certain constraints that students should be aware of prior to the submission of a formal application. The Wilds has a remote location and is approximately 20 miles from Zanesville, the nearest city. As a non-profit organization, the Wilds is presently unable to offer a stipend or other expenses for visiting students. Students chosen for this program must also provide proof of medical insurance.

Evaluations will be sent to students and/or institutions at the request of the student following completion of the program. Preceptors are required to complete an evaluation of their experience at the Wilds so that we may continue to improve our program for future students.

Student Supervision

Students should be prepared to work between 45 and 60 hours per week. This generally will include weekend duties, however night duties will be limited to the occasional emergency. All work is supervised.


On-site shared housing is available for $75/ week, and students are required to stay onsite unless other arrangements are approved prior to stay.

Practice Information

Department of Wildlife and Conservation Medicine
The Wilds
14000 International Road
Cumberland, OH 43732

Ph: 740-638-5030
Fx: 740-638-2287

Email: rgandolf [at] thewilds [dot] org

Miscellaneous Information


Preceptorships are available to students finishing their 3rd year, or in their 4th year of veterinary school. Preceptorships are typically offered between March and October each year.  To apply, please submit (1) a letter of intent detailing your background and career goals, (2) resume, (3) list of 3 professional references, and (4) a prioritized list of three 6 to 8 week blocks of time that would be suitable for you. Applications are accepted on a continuing basis.

Please include appropriate contact information so that we may easily reach you.

Updated: 09/04/2013
Signature on file: Dr. Rae Gandolf