Bird Research and Conservation Internship in South Africa

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Contribute to the conservation of the ground hornbill.

Here’s an exciting opportunity to get field experience in wildlife conservation in Africa. As an intern, you’ll venture to a South African game reserve and join a nonprofit organization dedicated to the ground hornbill, an iconic African bird that is in danger of going extinct.

Your role as an intern will be varied and hands-on. Depending on your experience and interests, you can expect to get involved in collecting data from the field, analysing findings, assisting with various research projects, and monitoring rescued chicks. You might also get involved in monitoring and evaluation work and conservation education programs in local communities. Either way, you can expect to roll up your sleeves, and gain diverse work experience while helping fight the threats that ground hornbills are facing.

This wildlife conservation internship is an excellent opportunity for students of biology, wildlife sciences, or related disciplines, who are looking to gain practical experience. There are also opportunities for doing specific research projects, so if you have something specific in mind, do get in touch and we can discuss it.

  • Learning outcomes of this wildlife conservation internship;
  • Experience in field-based research, including data collection, mapping programs, behavioral analysis
  • A thorough understanding of the many aspects of conserving a species
  • Experience in conservation education programs
  • Insights into of the day to day running of a nonprofit organization
  • International work experience

ORGANIZATION

The Ground Hornbill Project is dedicated to ensuring the survival of the ground hornbill, an iconic bird that is classified as ‘endangered’ in South Africa. The threats to this iconic bird are multiple; their habitat is decreasing, they suffer from secondary poisoning, and they get electrocuted by transformer boxes. Moreover, ground hornbills are killed for traditional medicine, and sometimes targeted because of their territorial behavior.

To fight the drastic decline of the ground hornbill populations across Southern and East Africa, the Ground Hornbill Project has taken a multi-faceted approach that includes research, the provision of artificial nests, and the complex rearing and reintroduction of redundant second-hatched chicks that would naturally die of starvation. To fight misconceptions about ground hornbills, and reduce incentives for killing the birds, the nonprofit also runs education campaigns in local communities.

The Ground Hornbill Project is based in Mabula, a game reserve north of Johannesburg, but its work spans across the African continent. It’s the only organization fully dedicated to the preservation of the ground hornbill.

TASKS & REQUIreMENTS

Responsibilities

As a wildlife conservation intern, your tasks may vary depending on your skills and the needs of the project, but they will likely include some of the following;

  • Assist with mapping and monitoring ground hornbills in the field
  • Collect data for behavioral analysis
  • Assist with the rearing and reintroduction project of rescued chicks
  • Collect feathers and egg shells for analysis
  • Monitor disease outbreaks and help test vaccines
  • Assist with GIS spatial analysis
  • Interview local community members on their sightings and conceptions of ground hornbills, both to assist with mapping efforts, and to refine conservation education materials
  • Assist with conservation education sessions in local communities
  • Assist with any specific research projects that are happening at the time

Requirements

  • A relevant academic background
  • Strong research and analytical skills
  • A passion for the work the Ground Hornbill Project does
  • Driver’s license (you will do some driving (stick, no automatic) and will have to take a small test upon arrival)
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to take on a variety of tasks
  • A go-getter attitude

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

During this internship, you’ll get to live and work in a game reserve, surrounded by wildlife. You might wake up to elephants roaming past your room, lions roaring in the distance, and monkeys playing on the roof. The nearest town, Bela Bela, is about 45 minutes from the reserve.

Your accommodation is a five minutes drive from the office and you will have your own room, access to the common room, shared kitchen (where you can prepare your meals) and a swimming pool.

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before yor internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. You are not located in a malaria risk area, so the people who live here do not take malaria medication. If you have traveled to a country with yellow fever risk, be sure to have a yellow fever certificate as this can be needed upon arrival.

Communication

Communication

You will be able to use your mobile phone in South Africa if you enable international roaming before you leave home. A cheaper alternative is to buy a local SIM card if your phone is unlocked for international carriers. You can go to most shops with your passport to buy a local SIM card (MTN and Vodacom are the main carriers). You can buy prepaid airtime at many smaller and bigger shops and then convert airtime to a data bundle if needed.

Meals

Meals

Your accommodation has a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals (or team up with other interns/volunteer for a meal). Usually the grocery shopping is worked around the project town trips (when supplies need to be picked up or the vehicles are due for a service). If you need groceries or toiletries urgently, there is a small Superette shop at the Reserve’s main lodge.

Location details

Location details

During this internship, you’ll get to live and work in a game reserve surrounded by wildlife. You might wake up to elephants roaming past your room, lions roaring in the distance, and monkeys playing on the roof. The nearest town, Bela Bela, is about 45 minutes from the reserve.

DATES & RATES

Fee Breakdown

Internship start and end dates are flexible and will be discussed with your during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (2024 rates)

8 weeks USD 2,162

12 weeks USD 2,809

16 weeks USD 3,456

20 weeks USD 4,104

26 weeks USD 5,074

Inclusions

  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Accommodation in a single room.
  • Airport transfers from Johannesburg airport (OR Tambo) upon arrival and departure
  • Wifi access
  • Housekeeping service
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • An orientation program with your host organization
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship

Exclusions

  • Flights
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
SCHOLARSHIP & FUNDING

FAQs

Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in South Africa.

What can I expect from a NGO internship in South Africa?

During your internship in South Africa you can expect to meet people from around the world, as well as indulging yourself into the culture of this beautiful country! If you want to know more about what to expect, make sure to check out our top 7 reasons for an internship in Cape Town.

Will I have time to explore South Africa during my internship?

Yes! We partner with various activity organizers that can offer discounts exclusive to Roots Interns, for example, a road trip through the Garden Route and bungee jumping off the world’s largest natural bungee. You may also explore the country on your own and we are happy to give recommendations.

Am I able to do an internship while on a study program in Cape Town?

Yes! You are able to do a part-time internship with certain organizations so that you can continue your studies, while also gaining valuable work experience.

Will I receive a stipend of any kind during my internship with Roots?

Unfortunately, no. When working with a nonprofit organization, your internship will be unpaid, but there are many ways to fund your internship. Your experience will bring a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth that are invaluable!

QUICK FACTS

LOCATION: Bela-Bela, South Africa
PROGRAM FOCUS: Bird Conservation NGO
TASK FOCUS: Field research, Mapping, Data collection, Education
LENGTH: Min. 12 Weeks
COST: From USD 2,809

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gain field-based experience in wildlife conservation
  • Strengthen your research skills and learn to interpret data
  • Use your knowledge and skills to contribute to the conservation of an iconic African bird
  • Contribute to conservation education efforts in local communities
  • Get an understanding of the day to day running of a wildlife conservation project
  • Be part of a passionate and driven team of biologists and conservationists
  • Live and work in the African bush, surrounded by a wealth of wildlife and stunning nature
ENQUIREAPPLY NOW

HOW TO APPLY

If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:

APPLY

Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.

GET STARTED

SPEAK WITH AN ADVISOR

We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.

INTERNSHIP MATCHING

If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.

PAYMENT

If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.

CONFIRMATION

Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

NEED TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY FIRST?

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!

RELATED PROGRAMS

RELATED BLOGS

Value of Internships Abroad
April 17, 2024

What is a Micro Internship?

Micro-internships, meaning short-term work experience lasting anywhere from a few days to a month, take many forms. However, they typically consist of project-based assignments or a program of seminars, workshops,…
Value of Internships AbroadPeru
April 12, 2024

7 Best Internship Opportunities In Peru

When you hear ‘Peru’, what comes to mind? The ancient Inca history of Machu Picchu? Unique natural settings like the Rainbow Mountains and the Amazon River? Or do you think…
Finding your internship
April 3, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Post Grad Internships

For fresh graduate students, the leap from academia to the professional world often feels like a daunting leap into uncharted territory. Among the myriad pathways available, entry-level jobs and internships…