Research and Internships


Purpose: The Safari West Research Committee initiates, approves and supports research studies occurring on the Safari West property.

Mission: The Safari West Research Committee provides a platform for mission-focused research to occur at Safari West and ensures that research goals are consistently met, which include a hypothesis, analysis and impact evaluation. The committee’s mission will advance scientific knowledge in zoological facilities, improve the wellbeing of the animals in our collection, and provide a better understanding of native wildlife that lives on the Safari West property. The Research Committee will utilize and share information gained to promote conservation and environmental education. This will be accomplished through the knowledge brought about by studies conducted on property and in collaboration with other facilities and universities.

Vision: To collaborate, educate and advance scientific knowledge of husbandry, behavior and native wildlife living adjacent to or amongst the collection.

Thermographic Imagery of a Southern White Rhino

Safari West is a 400-acre wildlife preserve housing over 1000 animals. Many of our animals are housed in large mixed species exhibits allowing us to have a unique and naturalistic facility. Our staff is always looking for opportunities to better understand our residents, enrich their lives and provide progressive animal welfare. We cherish the drive and curiosity of researchers to aid in our comprehension of these complex animals. Such research has offered insight into social patterns, health, reproductive behavior and exhibit structure. The student projects that take place on our property are student driven but require the oversight and involvement of a departmental advisor. Through collaboration with universities and our animal staff, we are able to come up with innovative research questions to explore. We always welcome new project proposals that are applicable to the species we house in our collection, as well as the native species that inhabit our property. Our staff is devoted to obtaining a solid grasp of all aspects that go into caring for exotic wildlife. Any undergraduate or graduate students, professors or university departments who are interested in research opportunities are encouraged to contact Erika Defer at