2023 Marine Mammal Veterinary Preceptorship

Marine Mammals of Maine (MMoME) is now accepting applications through February 12th, 2023, for marine mammal veterinary preceptorship positions. The preceptorship begins on May 15th, 2023, and extends through August 15th, 2023. Applicants must be able to commit to the full preceptorship as partial terms are currently not offered. MMoME is a non-profit organization federally authorized to respond to live and dead marine mammals and sea turtles between Kittery and Rockland, Maine, covering some of the busiest seal stranding activity on the East Coast. MMoME also operates a unique triage and rehabilitation center which provides critical care to sick and injured pinnipeds from all over New England. Additionally, our mission heavily encompasses marine mammal research and education.

We are seeking actively enrolled veterinary students to assist with the upcoming 2023 harbor seal pup season. Preceptors, interns, and volunteers are critical in fulfilling our mission and are given the unique opportunity to participate in a variety of activities. On a day-to-day basis, preceptors work under the supervision and direction of MMoME staff and join our marine mammal veterinarian for regular patient rounds and a mentored project. Additionally, preceptors work daily alongside non-veterinary interns as a team leader to accomplish our broad scope of work during our busiest time of year. Preceptors will learn marine mammal field health assessment, handling, husbandry, and clinical care of pinnipeds, as well as data collection, necropsy, and sampling of deceased marine mammals. The preceptorship is based out of Midcoast Maine (town of Brunswick), though travel throughout our response region and New England will be necessary. Preceptors will be required to dedicate a minimum of 50 hours per week (4-5 days/week), and will include holidays, weekends, late nights, early mornings, and overnight care for critical patients as needed. This opportunity is unpaid, though many seasonal job opportunities are available in the area. Housing is not provided but staff may be able to assist with sourcing options.

Key Tasks and Responsibilities

Shared Among Preceptors and Non-Veterinary Interns

Stranding Response

Respond to live and dead cetacean, pinniped and sea turtle strandings to collect Level A data, perform health assessments, and monitor, relocate, and collect for humane euthanasia or rehabilitation. Carcass collection for disposal or necropsy will also be required.

Patient Care

Assist with all aspects relating to the care of sick, injured and abandoned pinnipeds (primarily harbor seal pups) undergoing short, or long-term care at MMoME’s center. Tasks include primarily cleaning, but also meal prep, tube-feeding, assisting with medical procedures, animal restraint for exams, running lab samples, medical record maintenance, and animal transport to other long-term care facilities.

Necropsy

Transport carcasses to necropsy or compost sites, assist staff with necropsy of fresh dead pinnipeds and cetaceans, archive necropsy samples, and maintain and clean necropsy equipment.

Education and Outreach

Give presentations to the public about the organization, attend outreach events, and help create educational materials.

Other Tasks

Additional time will be spent on data entry, fundraising, extensive cleaning, and other tasks as needed.

Veterinary Preceptor-Specific Responsibilities

  • Collect and process biological and diagnostic samples from stranded marine mammals, as well as from pinniped patients in MMoME’s care. For example, blood samples from live marine mammals for diagnostic health evaluation, mucous membrane swabs from live and dead marine mammals for disease monitoring for organizational use and with partner research labs, culture samples from live and dead cases, necropsy tissue samples for histology or PCR testing, etc.

  • Regular clinical patient rounds with MMoME’s veterinarian.

  • Assist staff and veterinarian with, and carry out clinical procedures such as IV, IM, or SQ injections and fluid therapy.

  • Provide more advanced medical care to critical patients with direction from staff at the late-night feed when needed (IV fluid administration, blood glucose monitoring, checking vitals, etc.)

  • Provide after-hours medical care of triage or rehab patients in need of extended critical care as needed, and as directed by staff and veterinarian.

  • Generally responsible for ensuring daily workflow in animal care room follows feed and treatment schedule created by staff and veterinarian.

  • Conduct a project mentored by MMoME’s veterinarian (case study, nutritional study, etc.) to be completed during the preceptorship and presented to MMoME staff, veterinarian, and community. Research opportunities may be available depending on student interest, time, resources, and permitting.

Preceptorship Requirements

  • Must be actively enrolled in a veterinary program pursuing a DVM or similar degree. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year domestic and international students encouraged to apply.

  • Must be available to start May 15th, and no later than May 16th, 2023, and must be able to commit to the full preceptorship extending through August 15th, 2023. Preference given to those that can start prior to May 16th. These dates may be flexible +/- a few days, but shorter time periods are not permitted.

  • Must have demonstrated experience with physical restraint of animals in a clinical setting. Wildlife handling is preferred, though not required.

  • Must be able to work well as a positive team member with other non-veterinary interns, volunteers, staff, and veterinarian; work well with limited supervision; and be adaptable to a changing and unpredictable workday.

  • Must be able to lift at least 50 pounds and be in good physical shape.

  • Must have a valid driver’s license, a good driving record, a reliable vehicle, and willing to drive a full-size truck in urban and rural areas.

  • Preference given to applicants with wildlife husbandry experience and a demonstrated interest in marine mammal or conservation medicine.

  • Proof of rabies vaccination or current titer.

How to Apply

Please send a letter of interest which addresses the following questions: why you would like to be considered for this preceptorship, how you meet the requirements, what your expectations are, what you think MMoME’s expectations of preceptors are, what you hope to gain from this opportunity, and the start and end dates you can commit to. Your application must also include a resume, one professional letter of recommendation, a copy of your current transcript, and proof of rabies vaccination or current titer.

Completed applications must be sent to info@mmome.org by 11:59 PM EST on February 12, 2023. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

We look forward to your application for this exciting experience!

At this time, Marine Mammals of Maine's internship and veterinary preceptorship opportunities are limited to the summer months. Our organization does not currently offer fall, winter, or spring internships or preceptorships.