More about Internships




Penguin Nursery
Internship

Programme description
This programme has been developed to equip you with chick husbandry skills and focusses on penguin chicks from 1.5kg until they are ready to start to swim.

Length of Penguin Nursery internship: 3 or 6 months
Hours of work: 8am-5pm (lunch 1pm–2pm) *
Mentor: Seabird Hand-rearer
Cost: R4000 for 3 month internship
R5000 for 6 month internship

*Working hours may be longer in the busier periods or in crisis situations

Intern job description

  • Handling and feeding African penguin chicks (over 1.5kg)
  • Maintaining a high level of hygiene and cleanliness within the Penguin Nursery
  • Weigh chicks and calculate feeds based on weight
  • Calculating and updating medication amounts for individual birds under
    supervision of the Veterinarian
  • Record keeping for individual birds
  • Work independently as well as part of a team in the Penguin Nursery
  • Basic training of other interns
  • Identifying behaviour in chicks to determine health status
  • Temperature control
  • Identify problem areas and report them immediately

Characteristics required

  • Trustworthy
  • Have a systematic approach
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong sense of initiative
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Compassionate, gentle and caring
  • Ability to follow SANCCOB’s protocols
  • Ability to multi-task and perform tasks in order of importance and priority
  • Work under pressure
  • Previous experience working with birds desirable though not essential
  • Ability to direct other interns and delegate tasks

Each intern will receive a training plan that will include an outline of the internship, with goals, action dates to complete these goals and action points to be completed over internship; this will be done with the support of the Seabird Hand-rearer who will be your mentor; and the Volunteer  Coordinator.

Training
The Penguin Nursery Internship is split into two phases: basic and advanced.

Basic Phase
Week 1: The first week of the foundation phase will take place in the main rehabilitation facility; you will work in selected areas to gain an idea as to how the facility is run.

  • Mats and Crates cleaning
  • General work (making penguin formula, defrosting fish, laundry, preparing fluids etc.)
  • Cleaning and food prep for seabirds
  • Cleaning and helping in the penguin pens

Week 2-4: For the first 3 weeks in the nursery, you will work closely with the Seabird Hand-rearer. You will be trained on all aspects of the nursery to equip you to work comfortably in the nursery.

  • Hygiene and cleanliness: interns will learn the cleaning routine and the method of top to bottom cleaning, chemical ratios and how to clean the different areas in the nursery. Routine cleaning includes chemical (medisure clean) air-conditioner cleaning etc. Interns will also learn
    the importance of personal hygiene and will be trained on proper hand
    cleaning techniques.
  • Preparing chick enclosures: interns will learn how to correctly prepare the different areas in which the chicks are kept (crates and pens).
  • Handling and feeding chicks: interns will learn the safest way to handle the chicks and different ways in which to feed chicks at different weights.
  • Food calculations for chicks: a vital part for caring for chicks is to know how much food to prepare. Interns will learn how to calculate food quantity for different ages/weights of chicks.
  • Food selection and preparation for chicks: interns will learn how to determine what type of food should be prepared as well as how to prepare the food.
  • Medication: interns will gain an understanding as to what medications are used and for what purposes, as well as how to administer medication (oral) and how to update medication in accordance to weight gain, under the supervision of the Veterinarian.
  • Chick behaviour: interns will learn how to identify chick behaviour, to determine illness, temperature requirements and what to do when a chick is sick or showing unusual behaviour

Advanced phase (Supervising Nursery)
During the advanced phase; chick husbandry skills are refinedand the level of responsibility placed on the intern is increased. Interns will learn how to give injectable medication as well as how to give subcutaneous fluids. The intern will assist the veterinarian during weekly bird checks and will start to supervise/work independently.

Depending on how busy it is, you may be working with another intern, or on your own.

During the course of the internship mentor meetings will be held between the VolunteerCoordinator, Seabird Hand-rearer (mentor) and the Mentee (intern). These are short assessment meetings to assess the training plan and progress made. Assessment meetings will take place:

  • 4 weeks – at the end of the basic phase
  • 8weeks
  • Monthly thereafter

Extra information:
Should the Nursery not have any birds, you will be assisting in other areas of the rehabilitation centre. Other areas could include working with different seabirds of different ages and basic maintenance around the centre.

To apply for one of our internships, download the application form
and send it, along with your cv and motivational letter, to volunteers@sanccob.co.za.

If you have any further queries or concerns, please contact Marguerite Du Preez by emailing volunteers@sanccob.co.za.

Seabird Chick Rearing Internship

Programme description
This programme has been developed to equip you with chick husbandry
skills and egg management skills for a career in captive breeding or seabird chick rearing. The Seabird Chick rearing internship is not as physically demanding as the other Seabird internship programmes; however you need to be focussed, self-motivated, compassionate, and highly observant. Be aware that the environment you will work in is quiet and solitary by nature.

Length of course: 6 months (minimum)
Hours of work: Shifts (morning 05:30-14:30 or afternoon 13:30-21:30), 5 days per week (including every second weekend)
Monthly stipend: R2000.00 paid to intern
Reporting to: Chick rearing unit supervisor

Intern job description

  • Maintaining a high level of hygiene and cleanliness within the Chick rearing unit
  • Weigh chicks and calculate feeds based on weight
  • Calculating and updating medication amounts for individual birds under supervision of the Veterinarian
  • Record keeping for individual birds
  • Handling and feeding African penguin chicks (all ages)
  • Admit and monitor eggs during incubation and hatching (weighing, candling, measuring and egg buddy)
  • Work independently as well as part of a team in the Chick rearing unit
  • Basic training of other Chick rearing Unit interns
  • Identifying behaviour in chicks to determine health status
  • Temperature control
  • Identify problem areas and report them immediately

Characteristics required

  • Trustworthy
  • Have a systematic approach
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong sense of initiative
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Compassionate, gentle and caring
  • Ability to follow SANCCOB’s protocols
  • Ability to multi-task and perform tasks in order of importance and priority
  • Work under pressure
  • Previous experience working with birds desirable though not essential
  • Ability to direct other interns and delegate tasks

Each intern will receive a training plan that will include an outline of the internship, with goals, action dates to be completed over the six months; this will be done with the support of the CRU supervisor who will be your mentor; and the Volunteer Coordinator.

To apply for one of our internships, download the application form
and send it, along with your cv and motivational letter, to volunteers@sanccob.co.za.

If you have any further queries or concerns, please contact Marguerite Du Preez by emailing volunteers@sanccob.co.za.

Veterinary Experience

Programme description
This programme has been developed to expose participants to a career in veterinary medicine. While SANCCOB is not a typical veterinary practice, participants will nonetheless benefit from the opportunity to observe the clinical veterinary work in this world renowned seabird rehabilitation centre.

Participants will be required to work during normal business hours, i.e. Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

The programme involves daily supervision and instruction from a qualified clinical veterinarian. Due to the nature of our facility, the veterinarian may on occasion engage in activities which do not constitute clinical veterinary care. During those periods participants will have access to veterinary textbooks, research papers and veterinary SOP’s for self-study.

Only one participant will be accepted into the programme at any given time, to ensure the most beneficial experience for our volunteers.

This programme does not accept participants from the beginning of October until the end of December each year.

Areas of instruction

Participants will be exposed to hands-on experience in a variety of areas, including:

      • Clinical evaluation of basic treatment of seabirds
        1. Physical evaluation (body condition, hydration, chest assessment, presence of wound etc.)
        2. Discussion of drug choices and different treatment options
        3. Taking blood sample
        4. Intramuscular injections
        5. Subcutaneous injections
        6. Lab evaluation (decision making involving blood results and faecal smears)
      • Microscope work
      • Post mortems
      • X-rays
      • Anaesthesia
      • Wound care
      • Advanced surgery: endoscopy, fracture repair, enucleation*

Weekly health check and set up of plan for individual cases

* case dependent

Level of involvement

Week One

  • Observe during clinical evaluation of basic treatment of seabirds
  • Microscope work (practice smears) depending on the level of experience/background
  • Assist during Post mortem evaluation
  • Assist during taking X-rays and evaluation
  • Observe anaesthesia (2nd person as monitor)
  • Observe wound care (evaluation, procedures and bandaging)
  • Observe advanced surgery: endoscopy, fracture repair, enucleation (depending on cases)
  • Discuss weekly health check and set up of plan for individual cases

Week Two

  • Assist during clinical evaluation of basic treatment of seabirds (incl taking blood sample, Intramuscular injections, Subcutaneous injections)
  • Microscope work (practice + pen 2 smears) – depending on the level of experience/background
  • Assist during Post mortem evaluation
  • Assist during taking X-rays and evaluation
  • Assist basic procedures under supervision of clinical veterinarian
  • Assist during wound care (evaluation, procedures and bandaging) under supervision of clinical veterinarian
  • Observe advanced surgery: endoscopy, fracture repair, enucleation (depending on cases)
  • Discuss weekly health check and set up of plan for individual cases
  • Prepare a presentation on an interesting case/area of seabird veterinary work observed at SANCCOB

Programme types and costs

The degree of veterinary experience of each candidate will determine the programme available to them.

International Participants
International volunteers who are in their pre-clinical year of Veterinary science studies or are interested in a career or studies in veterinary science may elect to add an additional week to their volunteer package in order to participate in the veterinary science experience.

Qualified veterinarians, vet nurses or technicians and students in their clinical years of study may also apply for our two week veterinary experience.

Cost:
1 week programme – R1000
2 week programme – R2000


Local Participants
South African citizens, aged 17 years or older, who have an interest in veterinary sciences and intend on pursuing a career in this field may apply for our one week programme

There are a maximum of six positions available throughout the year and the programme will be run during school holidays. No experience is necessary. To apply, applicants should complete a volunteer application form and send it, along with a motivation letter, to volunteers@sanccob.co.za

Local veterinary students in their final year of study may apply for our
two week veterinary experience. There are a maximum of four slots available per year.

Cost:
There are no costs applicable for local applicants of the veterinary experience.

If you have any further queries or concerns, please contact Marguerite Du Preez by emailing volunteers@sanccob.co.za. We look forward to welcoming you to SANCCOB.

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE SANCCOB EXPERIENCE

“This is the first penguin release I have been a part of on my adventures to South Africa and it will be a memory that I will cherish forever. To be part of the bigger picture and knowing that we are doing our part to help this endangered species is more than I could have ever imagined.”

– Tracy Camp, senior penguin and pinniped trainer at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, USA

“The range of birds I’ve been able to work with is quite staggering. I’ve hand-reared tiny African penguin and Hartlaub gull chicks. I’ve helped to rehabilitate seabirds ranging in size from the delicate Swift Terns to massive pelicans and giant petrels. I’ve even learned to handle (and been bitten by cormorants). I’ve also had the opportunity to observe species I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see without a trip to Antarctica, such as the Shy Albatross and the Skua.

As well as rehabilitation work I’ve learned about common diseases and problems in seabirds, and attended a number of releases – which is what makes the whole rehabilitation process worthwhile, long hours, heartbreak and all. There is nothing so rewarding as watching those precious little babies who we all pour so much love, time and effort into, taking their very first dip in the ocean, or being restored to health to get back to where they’re supposed to be.”

– Fran Bell, SANCCOB intern and penguin mommy

“The experience I gained was second to none and I believe this was the best possible experience I have ever gained in my career as an animal scientist. SANCCOB is a world leader in coastal bird rehabilitation and whilst there you can see why. The staff is amazing and knowledgeable, offering help and advice whilst answering any question.

I managed to help with veterinarian procedures and assist in treatment that just wouldn’t be possible anywhere else.”

– Richard Smedley, Plymouth University