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ACES Research Internship

Experience life in Belize while studying crocodilians and their wetland habitats. One on one, you train alongside Field Biologist & Expert Croc Wrangler, Chris Summers, while assisting with evening croc eye-shine surveys and crocodile conservation in Belize. 

Intern with ACES

ACES Research Internship provides you with the unique opportunity to enjoy Belize while assisting with crocodile conservation. Interns assist with evening croc eye-shine surveys, tagging, crocodile rescues, relocations, care, and community outreach. You will learn crocodile biology; behavior; proper handling methods of various sized crocodiles; and accurate scientific data collection procedures, including measurements, hands-on sexing techniques, and kind crocodile tagging. Programs are individually designed and tailored to meet each intern's personal goals and research interests. 

Email Christina at saveacroc@gmail.com for additional details and information on how to apply!

Partnering with ACES, Sandbar Beachfront Hostel gives ACES Interns fabulous discounts for extended stays. With hostel rooms starting at $15 USD per night, Sandbar Beachfront Hostel is the best value in town for clean, comfortable, and safe lodging. Amenities include FREE Wi-Fi, beach access, swimming pool, deck over the ocean with loungers and floaters, free use of snorkel gear, a bilingual staff, an onsite concierge coordinator for local adventures, as well as delicious food served at Sandbar Restaurant. ACES Interns choosing to stay at Sandbar Hostel receive 10% off room, food, and drink during their stay.

Meet ACES Interns

Ciaran O'Mordha is a student of Biology at Maynooth University in Ireland with a passion for conservation. As his overall goal is to work in the field, assisting communities to achieve harmonious coexistence to protect and preserve species for generations to come, he came to ACES to learn more about crocodiles and life as a conservationist. "I learnt more about the biology and behaviour of both species, Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus moreletii, and more importantly their niche as an apex predator in their habitats than all the wildlife books and documentaries I have watched since childhood. 

Working closely with the ACES team I dealt with a variety of dynamic situations ranging from communication with locals on crocodile education, to preparing snares, bait and traps designed to humanely capture, relocate and re-release crocodiles, in addition to crocodile husbandry. Throughout my internship, the ACES team was always very helpful, constantly teaching and inspiring me and I hope going forward to return to ACES and continue to gain invaluable experience for my career in wildlife conservation."

Raven Schuman is a student of Wildlife Health at the University of Tennessee. She came to Belize on a study abroad program and fell in love. She participated in a 2 week Internship with ACES to see if her fascination with crocodiles was something she would be interested in pursuing as a career. "My experience made me more passionate about conservation than I already was and influenced me to change my major to from Animal Science to Wildlife Health". Raven has already returned to volunteer with ACES since her internship completion, and is even conducting her very own crocodile research project in Belize!

Amaury Devagar Mellier is a French student in biology who came to Belize to be trained by ACES team for the first time in 2014. He heard of ACES work thanks to a French association called Conserv’action which was in touch with ACES in recent years. "I learned about all the physiology, ecology and morphology of Crocodylus acutus and practiced exercises of behavior monitoring in both south and north of San Pedro."

Amaury came back to Ambergris Caye again to volunteer in 2017 for one month to improve his knowledge of crocodile management, reconnect with ACES team, and enjoy the beauty of the island. Amaury plans to continue volunteering with ACES in the coming years to better prepare himself for a career and future projects in the field of crocodile conservation.

Evan Sims is a graduate of the University of Montana where he obtained a Bachelors of Science in Wildlife Biology. After college Evan joined the Peace Corps for a short stint, where he lived in the Philippines volunteering as a Coastal Resource Management Extension Worker. Evan has also had a wide variety of jobs in the wildlife field, working with snowshoe hares, jackrabbits, goshawks, and desert bighorn sheep. However, for the last two seasons, he has worked in the field of tourism and recreation, where he worked with a local fly-fishing company. Evan was able to apply not only his degree, but his knowledge and work experience with various other types of wildlife, to aid ACES in our mission.

Viviane Heily, Olivier Mathiaund & Chelsea Canon, France & New Mexico

Three students from around the World studying to become Veterinarians Intern at ACES together for five days in Ambergris Caye. Viviane and Olivier from France, and Chelsea from New Mexico, learn crocodile biology, behavior, and scientific data collection techniques, including safe crocodile handling, sexing, tagging, and release. Besure to watch Belize Channel 17 OpenLearningTV this September on "Adventures with Jungle Ron" to meet Chelsea, Viviane, & Olivier and see them in action learning with ACES! Watch the girls use their training as they assist with a crocodile relocation.

Special thanks to The Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic.

Anthony Pine, Founder of The Tomistoma Fund, California, USA

Anthony trained at ACES January thru March 2012. He gained important insight, experience, and training in crocodile research and conservation methods to apply to his charitable nonprofit organization, The Tomistoma Fund, to help protect endangered Tomistoma overseas.

While at ACES, Tony organized and presented a series of educational lectures for the schools on the island and covered the importance of science, conservation, and crocodiles in a fun and unique way. He also assisted with a mangrove restoration project and provided several activities for the children to take home, in hopes to create greater awareness and appreciation for animals and conservation in Ambergris Caye.

After ACES, Tony spent two weeks in the Philippines introducing his organization to the Crocodile Specialist Group 2012 meeting in Manila.

Chris Summers, previously a Croc Enthusiast and now Lead Field Biologist and Expert Croc Wrangler, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England

That's right! Chris Summers, ACES Daily Operations Manager, started his croc career by volunteering! 

Chris is a long-time Belize resident with native ties. After volunteering his time and labor to ACES for over four years, he became an official part of ACES’s Team and employee, in 2014. Trained by ACES Founders, Vince & Cherie, Chris is highly skilled in crocodile wrangling, behavior, biology, scientific data collection, and safe crocodile handling techniques. Today, Chris in charge of all crocodile rescues, relocations, and official croc training in Belize; as well as, ACES Captain and Lead Field Researcher.

Rachel Ithen & Dillion Plunket

Volunteering with ACES/ American Crocodile Education Sanctuary for the entire month of August in 2011, Rachel and Dillion's work with ACES was an immense asset to crocodile conservation in Belize. Always willing to learn new skills, such as captaining a skiff for daytime croc surveys; reading a refractometer to monitor salinity levels of crocodile habitats; and even handling wild crocodiles during croc rescues; this dynamic duo was a tremendous asset to ACES in collecting pertinent scientific data for research on the American crocodile population, distribution, and habitat viability. 

Whether painting or collecting garbage from the environment, Rachel and Dillion always worked with enthusiasm and dedication to complete the job, even when it meant spending grueling hours on night croc eye-shine surveys covered in mosquitos and helping to build the new wildlife refuge while dripping wet from the heat and humidity.

Brandon Sideleau, Wildlife Photographer, San Bernardino, California, USA

Specializing in Crocodilian photography, Brandon's goal is to photograph all 23 species of Crocodilians in the wild. He first visited ACES in Jan. 2011 primarily to photograph both species of crocodiles found in Belize, the American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, and the freshwater Morelet's crocodile, C. moreletii. He also interview us for Australian Zoologist and Croc Expert, Adam Britton's podcast "CrocLog" on Adam's Croc Blog (2011, Episode 4). 

Returning later in 2011 as an Intern, Brandon learned safe crocodile handling skills and assisted on several crocodile rescues. He additionally interviewed us second time for Adam's "CrocLog Podcast (2012, Episode 9). 

Brandon currently is a co-creator of CrocBITE, the worldwide crocodilian attack database.