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Meet the 2022 Interns: JJ Cruz

I'm excited to introduce WDC’s first ever Marine Animal Rescue and Response intern, JJ! He may be new to the marine mammal response business, but his natural curiosity and sense of adventure have been on display with each field response. JJ’s extensive experience with wildlife videography and photography has already been put to good use, creating trainings and outreach videos that will ultimately aid in the conservation of marine mammals.

WDC Marine Animal Rescue and Response Intern, JJ Cruz, measures a deceased harbor seal under authorization from NOAA

Meet JJ!

Hometown: Guatemala

Favorite food: Spinach lasagna

Song that pumps me up: Sail, Awolnation

Movie I can always rewatch: Lord of the Rings trilogy

First concert: Hardwell and Nervo

Tell us the story of what sparked your interest in the environment, conservation, and/or whales and dolphins 

I would say that my interest in wildlife was always there. Even as a kid, I spent a lot of my time watching wildlife documentaries on BBC, Discovery, and Natgeo. Every chance I had to go to the field, I took it. I also spent a lot of time doing research on the different species we had in our area and the places I could find them.  

As part of my last school semester, I had to find a job related to what I wanted to study at university. I managed to find a scuba diving center that took me as an intern, and I worked there for 4 months. During my time working there I had the opportunity to dive a lot and I think that is what got me set in study wildlife biology and then get a master’s in marine biology or conservation. 

Why did you want to be an intern with WDC? 

I saw it as a great opportunity to start my career in wildlife conservation and mix 2 of the things that I really enjoy doing - working with wildlife and making videos for education - while being paid to work without direct experience in the field of marine biology, which is not common in conservation internships. While studying biology I got really interested in big mammals, but never had a chance to work with them hands on. Getting this job would give me the chance to learn and the hands-on experience I was looking for. 

What are you most excited to learn/do during your internship? 

I am really exited to learn about what it takes to run a rescue and response program (logistically) and the conservation actions that are being worked on plus what it takes to make them work efficiently. 

What is your favorite fact about marine mammals? 

My favorite fact is that sperm whales have different accent depending on their location and clan. Scientists can use this to identify a clan just by the clicks on the sound they make and can also determine if the numbers of individuals are going down by studying each clan after ID’ing it with their unique accent. 

We are excited to have JJ on our Marine Animal Rescue & Response team!

To support WDC's paid internships and the Marine Animal Rescue and Response program, please consider making a donation so we can continue to host young professionals like JJ.

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