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Regulating harvest, health, and enhancement of wildlife populations

ODFW Wildlife and Fish Health Veterinary Externship Opportunities

About our program

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) - Wildlife Health and Population Lab Program has two primary functions:

  1. To provide fish and wildlife health support to all aspects of the agency and its’ more than 1,000 employees as part of the agencies mission to protect and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations of Oregonians. 
  2. To provide support to field biologists by processing tissues for characterizing population and age structure of harvested animals. 

The goal of the ODFW veterinary student externship is to introduce 4th year veterinary students via a clinical rotation, to the profession of agency-based wildlife veterinary medicine and provide a hands-on understanding of the types of tasks and activities our wildlife veterinarians engage in including:

  1. Disease outbreak investigation
  2. Training biologists in safe wildlife capture and sampling techniques
  3. Wildlife disease surveillance
  4. Participating in large captures of various wildlife species for translocation events, wildlife health evaluation, or research     

Eligibility for the Externship:

  • Must be a senior student in good academic standing from an accredited college of veterinary medicine. We accept up to 6 students annually for 3 -6 week rotations.

How to Apply:

  • Submit a cover letter and resume or CV and  Letter of Recommendation from veterinary faculty
    • Your cover letter should include the dates you are interested in and would like us to consider.  Please provide multiple possible dates if available as we allow only one student at a time with no overlap of externship periods.
    • Please address material to Dr. Julia Burco and send to or fax to (541) 757-4252 or send by post to:

Dr. Julia Burco
Oregon Dept. Of Fish and Wildlife
Wildlife Health and Population Lab
7118 NE Vandenberg Ave.
Corvallis, OR 97330

  • Applications are due anytime but no later than April 15th to be considered for an externship within the following calendar year
  • Externships with ODFW must be pre-approved by the student’s dean / college.  Externship approval forms required by the veterinary school will be provided to ODFW veterinarian staff prior to the externship and may require up to 2 weeks to complete.  Students should plan accordingly.

Terms of the externship:

  • Externship duration—3-6 weeks
  • Students must provide their own transportation to and from the lab/office which is located about 8 miles north of Corvallis in a rural setting.  This will require arriving with or renting a vehicle  (Due to the access highway and regional weather conditions, bicycling to the office is not advised.).
  • Students must arrange and provide for own housing and accommodation

Possible activities:

  • Capture Events (deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, harbor seals, sea lions, etc.), wildlife disease outbreak investigation, health checks/ disease sampling on game birds such as grouse, pheasants and quail that are being moved to augment other populations, working at Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) check stations during deer and elk hunting seasons, caring for orphaned wildlife,  performing fish health checks at hatcheries, and  population laboratory wildlife tooth age and reproductive tract processing.*
  • Students may conduct a project during their externship involving researching a current Oregon wildlife health topic for presentation to staff or posting on our website*

*The timing and occurrence of potential activities listed above are subject to change due to many factors including weather, task priorities, emergency outbreaks, etc...
 Humane euthanasia of injured wildlife or invasive species or as part of management activities is conducted routinely by our veterinary staff. 

Wildlife Health and Population staff

  • Dr. Colin Gillin; state wildlife veterinarian
  • Dr. Julia Burco; wildlife veterinarian
  • Richard Green; population lab manager/ biologist
  • Greg Reed; wildlife health and population lab technician/ biologist

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4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE   ::   Salem, OR 97302   ::    Main Phone (503) 947-6000 or (800) 720-ODFW [6339]

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