Rare Species Conservatory Foundation

Mentors: Paul Reillo and Karen McGovern

(located 1.5-2 hours north of FIU)

Individual East African bongo identification and monitoring

Using infrared camera traps and other secretive surveillance technology, interns will develop an identification scheme using the unique striping characteristics of individual bongo. Bongo are not bilaterally symmetrical in markings, and a combination of facial and stripe characters will enable animals to be tracked and identified. Methods will entail setting and tending to cameras, downloading and interpreting image data, building a identifier system and implementing techniques for daytime and nighttime (IR) sampling.

Red-browed Amazon parrot population management and studbook

Interns will learn population-management and studbook software (e.g., PopLink) to load and interpret pedigree and population data for South America's most endangered Amazon parrot. Students will interpret animal-records-keeping-system software (ARKS) to extract demographic and genetic data for all Red-browed parrots in captivity in North America. The original studbook, started in 1996, will be updated to include all living specimens at RSCF and partnering facilities, and aid in making critical management decisions, including breeding recommendations, calculating mean-kinship and relatedness, and for making recovery population projections. Students will also engage in the husbandry and life-support systems for the large Red-brow flock at RSCF.

Recording and interpreting pygmy marmoset vocalizations

Pygmy marmosets possess a broad vocabulary of vocalizations used for specific purposes (e.g., alarm calls, territoriality) and for distinguishing family groups. Interns will develop and employ a variety of video and audio-recording methods to capture pygmy vocalizations and develop an interpretive context and behavioral template. These tools will benefit pygmy husbandry and management at a critical time-- the pygmy marmoset population is plummeting.

Conservation media outreach and IT

Tech- and media-savvy interns will help develop novel media-gathering and disseminating approaches to connect conservation science with conservation education. Web-based, live-streaming video, social-media platforms and other information-packing systems will be used to enhance and engage U.S. and international audiences.

Grasshopper sparrow husbandry and management

Assist with daily care and hand-rearing of North America's most endangered bird. Learn, document and implement hands-on techniques, including artificial incubation, hand-rearing, diet preparation, data management, genetic tracking and disease assessment.

To learn more about the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, click here