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Interns Get 'Jungle' Experience in North Carolina

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PITTSBORO — What did you do on your summer vacation? Some college students in North Carolina had an experience which is sure to top most summer adventures.

They have been to the jungle and back without ever leaving the state.

Capturing an exotic animal in a net is not part of your typical summer internship, but working at theCarnivore Preservation Trustin Pittsboro is anything but typical.

Students said they got the kind of hands-on experience which is hard to find anywhere else.

Interns helped Dr. Mike Gorra examine a caracal.

They checked the heartbeat, took blood and checked the ears. They learned a lot.

"We learn how to interact with them and how to feed them and compound maintenance," said intern Jennifer Phillips.

Jennifer Ousely hopes to work with exotic animals some day.

"One of the main things I needed was animal experience of any kind. These are the animals I want to work with, and that's especially important," said Ousely.

Also important is protecting the animals from extinction.

"Even though they're such beautiful and such aggressive animals sometimes, they're being hunted and killed. Places like this are the only thing that can keep them around," said intern Sathya Chinnadura.

The students hope the big cats will still be around when they graduate.

The program has been so successful this summer that the Carnivore Preservation Trust hopes to launch a similar internship for high school students this fall.


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