SANCCOB Internship Programmes 2019

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is an international organization dedicated to the rehabilitation of seabirds. It is a non-profit organization that looks after the protection and conservation of South African seabirds, particularly endangered species, for present and future generations.

SANCCOB is the only one of its kind duly recognized by the South African Veterinary Council. Established in 1968 to put a stop to increased incidents in oiled penguins brought about by high tanker traffic, this organization has saved more than 85,000 seabirds ever since.

This non-profit organization is headquartered in Rietvlei Wetland Reserve in Table View, South Africa.

SANCCOB Internship Programmes

SANCCOB offers a number of seabird internships that will help equip university students, volunteers, post graduates, graduates, and employees with essential skills in the fields of animal science, care and welfare, husbandry, and other related fields.

Penguin Nursery Internship

This internship programme is designed to provide students with chick husbandry skills – specifically penguin chicks 1.5kg until old enough to start swimming. The program will last anywhere from three to six months. During the internship the candidates will learn the following:

  • Taking care of African penguin chicks (weighing over 1.5 kg)
  • Weighing chicks and calculate feeds based on the weight
  • Calculating and updating medication amounts for individual birds under Veterinarian supervision
  • Working independently and also as part of a team in Penguin Nursery
  • Keeping up a high level of hygiene and cleanliness within the Penguin Nursery
  • Keeping records for individual birds
  • Identifying behavior in chicks to determine their health status.
  • Carry out basic training of other interns
  • Controlling temperature
  • Identifying problem areas and also immediately report them.

A proper training plan will be provided to each Volunteer. It will include an outline of the internship, the goals, and the deadlines for the purposes. This will be done with support from Seabird Hand-Rearer. He will also be your mentor and the volunteer coordinator.

The volunteer should be able to work from 8 AM – 5 PM. It will have a lunch break of 1 hour (1 PM to 2 PM).

The cost for The Penguin Nursery Internship are:

  • Three months internship – R5000
  • Six months internship – R6000

The internship is divided into to two parts; basic and advanced. The basic internship will run for three months, while the advanced internship is six months.

Seabird Chick Rearing Internship

This internship programme is designed to provide the student with chick husbandry and egg management skills. These skills are are useful to people interested in raising seabird chicks and captive breeding. It is not a physically demanding programme compared to other SANCOBB intership programmes. However, you will need to be deeply motivated, observant, compassionate, and highly focused to be effective in the course.

The candidates must need to develop and learn the following skills during the schedule.

  • Maintaining the high level of hygiene and cleanliness within chick rearing unit
  • Calculating and updating the medication amounts for individual birds under the supervision of the Veterinarian
  • Weighing of chicks and calculating the feeds based on the weight
  • Record keeping for individual birds
  • Handling and monitoring of eggs during incubation and hatching (weighing, handling, measuring and egg buddy)
  • Able to do the work individually as well as part of the team.
  • Assisting in basic training of other interns
  • Identifying behavior in chicks to determine health status
  • Maintaining the adequate temperature control in the chick rearing unit.

Length of the internship is three months (minimum). The working hours starts with morning shifts from 05.30 AM – 02.30 PM and Afternoon shift from 01.30 PM – 09.30 PM. Also, you will get a lunch break from 1 PM to 2PM and you will work for five days a week.

Veterinary Experience Programme

The purpose of this programme is to prepare participants interested in pursuing a career in bird conservation and rehabilitation. The internship includes working with various bird species.

The programme runs for three to six months and will equip interns with intermediate to advanced training on seabird rehabilitation techniques. Moreover, the programme is led by a qualified clinical veterinarian who provides daily supervision and instruction to the candidates. Participants can read the veterinary books, research papers, and Veterinary SOP during the training. Only a single participant admits into a programme at a time.

The participants will learn and gain experience in a variety of area like:

  • Clinical evaluation of primary treatment of seabirds which includes physical evaluation, discussion of drug choices and different treatment options. It also includes taking blood samples, Intramuscular injections, Subcutaneous injections, Lab evaluation ( decision making involving blood results and faecal smears).
  • Anesthesia
  • Postmortems
  • X-rays
  • Microscope Work
  • Wound care
  • Advanced surgery: endoscopy, fracture repair, and enucleation (case dependent)

Career Options

The majority of people who participate in SANCCOB’s internship are mostly seabird and penguin keepers, aquarists, education staff at a zoo, veterinarians, aquarium and bird park keepers, university graduates, and animal rights, activists to name a few.

Requirements or Eligibility

For Penguin Nursery Internships, the institute requires applicants to posses the following characteristics:

  • Trustworthy
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Great communication skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Can multi-task and do tasks in terms of importance
  • Can work according to SANCCOB’s protocols

For Seabird Chick Rearing, an applicant must have the following characteristics:

  • Commitment and willingness to work beyond expectations when needed
  • Physically fit
  • Able to follow SOPs
  • Reliable  and trustworthy
  • Compassionate toward animals

Each intern will receive a training plan with goals and deadlines for completion of the goals. The goals need to be done with the chick-rearing supervisor’s support who will be your mentor.

For Veterinary Experience Programme, this programme welcomes international and local participants. The availability of plan is decided as per your veterinary experience.

Local Participant – should be South African citizen and having an age of 17 or above.  They must have interest in veterinary sciences. If they want to pursue veterinary science as their career, they can apply for one week programme. Local applicants do not have to pay the cost for the veterinary experience.

International Participants – who are in their preclinical year of Veterinary science studies or wants to choose veterinary science as their career may have to add a week to their programme to take part in the veterinary science experience.

Cost of joining the programme for International students is as under:

  • 1-week programme – R1250
  • 2-week programme – R2500

How to Apply

If you are looking into participating in any of the SANCCOB internship programmes mentioned above, download their application form by clicking on the link below:

SANCCOB Internship Application Form

Fill out the application form and send it together with your CV and motivational letter to

Other documents to include (Only for Penguin Nursery Internship):

  • A certified copy of latest academic results (if you are still a student)
  • A letter from the university which indicates you are accepted into a course. (If you have just finished high school and will study in the very near future)
  • A letter stating the type of work you’ve done and also the amount of hours you have worked with seabirds from your volunteer organization (if a volunteer/returning volunteer)
  • Certified copy of highest qualification (if you are a post graduate/working professional)
  • A research application form. (If you are applying to complete a dissertation/research project as part of any of the 6 month internships)
  • Relevant or all training course application form(s) (if you are applying for any additional training courses offered).

Important: All new interns will need to pay R2000 to secure their spot in the programme. The fee is refunded back upon completion of the internship.

Opening and Closing Date

SANCCOB invites candidates each month from the month of September 2018 till December 2019 for the Seabird Chick Rearing Internship 6-month programme. Check the below schedule for further details.

  • September 2018 – February 2019
  • October 2018 – March 2019
  • March 2019 – August 2019 x 2
  • April 2019 – September 2019 x 1
  • June 2019 – November 2019 x 1
  • September 2019 – February 2010 x 2
  • October 2019 – March 2020 x 1
  • December 2019 – May 2020 x 1

The Veterinary Experience Programme accepts applicants all year round except for the period starting from October to December.

Contact Information

SANCCOB Table View

22 Pentz Drive, Table View
Cape Town 7441
PO Box 1116
Cape Town 7443
Phone: +27 21 557 6155

We are here to provide you an overview of all the latest internships, bursaries, apprenticeships, graduate programmes, learnerships and jobs opportunities that are available for application in South Africa.

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