Why intern with ALERT?
An internship with ALERT will provide students with on-the-ground experience of working in wildlife conservation in Africa. We offer interns opportunities to utilise their knowledge and skills to real-life conservation challenges, across a range of contexts extending from wildlife to community. There is plenty of scope to learn new theories and skills to address conservation matters whilst working in the field. Our responsible development approach to lion conservation means that we are multi-disciplinary in our work. The fields of science, social science, education and the humanities, are all relevant in tackling conservation issues effectively, and our internship engages with elements of them all as you assist us in protecting the African lion and people’s relationship with this iconic predator. We aim to offer groups of around 10 to 15 students a comprehensive experience, working as valued members of our conservation team and, in doing so, contributing to their studies, while enhancing their employability and networks within this competitive field.
What can students expect?
Long days! The working day typically lasts around 12 hours, with breaks for breakfast and lunch. Students are expected to work five days a week with weekends free to take part in on-site activities and to explore the local area.
ALERT has adopted a responsible development approach to protecting Africa’s vulnerable lion populations. This incorporates wildlife conservation, habitat protection and restoration, and the empowerment of communities who live alongside lions and other predators. Throughout their stay students will shadow and assist project staff in all aspects of this work, and in doing so obtain first-hand experience of working in lion conservation.
What will students be doing?
To experience our responsible development approach, students will have the opportunity to learn and develop existing research skills. Lion conservation is necessarily multi-disciplinary and involves the application of current conservation thinking and theory with practical application of concepts and techniques in the field. Students will be involved in providing assistance in the following areas of holistic conservation and community development:
Lion Husbandry - All aspects of lion husbandry will be covered, including meat preparation and feeding of captive and formerly captive (semi-wild released) lions, behaviour enrichment for captive lions, lion health monitoring and enclosure cleaning and maintenance.
Research - Collecting field data, and applying fundamental research principles such as establishing reliability and validity of data, scientific question-asking of a body of data (hypothesis generation), data coding, preparing data for analysis, descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, and scientific report writing. Lion research will include behavioural ecology including pride dynamics, the development of hunting skills, mane assessment, playback studies, territorial defence, and sociality (lions). Research also includes assessment of the welfare of the lions. Opportunities also exist for other wildlife species research such as entomological and vegetation surveys and mapping (using GIS). Students will be given the chance to learn basic software analysis packages, such as QGIS, UCINET and SPSS/R. Our work also involves the assessment of community attitudes to lions, predators and conservation. Students will be given the opportunity to develop and use surveying, interviewing and questionnaire techniques, and assess the effectiveness of community programs developed as part of our responsible development approach to lion conservation.
Community Outreach - Our outreach programs support those communities affected by lion conservation and offer incentives and benefits to protecting lions. As part of this mission, students will help our team with designing and delivering educational programs in local schools to provide teaching in English literacy and conservation education. This includes training in how to assess and address poor literacy levels in rural communities. We also deliver a basic life skills course to rural children, aged 3-15 years, through the provision of ‘Kids Club’. Kids Club focuses on key transferable skills for use in the home, education and workplace. The aim of this course is to empower rural children to improve their ability to participate fully in Zambian society and to have equal access to education and employment opportunities. These courses also provide children with much needed respite from the harsh realities of living in deprived circumstances. Students will help in the delivering of this course and assessment of its impact on the communities it serves.
Along with practical experience, students will benefit from talks covering topics such as:
- Historical and current status of wild lion populations, in situ and ex situ lion conservation efforts including the ALERT ex situ reintroduction program
- Language, history and culture of peoples in Zambia
- Practical cultural orientation into rural life in Zambia
- Bush habitat in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park
- From the textbook to the field: the practical application of conservation techniques
We offer a range of research opportunities and can accommodate the needs of most university courses. Please let us know what specific skills and techniques you and your students would obtain most benefit from, and we can tailor your programme to meet those specific requirements.
You can download our Student Internships brochure here.
What are we looking for?
To be considered for this internship, students must be studying a relevant course in the sciences, social sciences, education, and/or humanities and clearly have an interest in animals/wildlife, communities and conservation. Experience in your chosen field is useful as well, but not essential.
On a personal level, initiative and a positive attitude are a must! We are looking for students who are reliable and can do a good job. You will need to be able to think on your feet and learn to expect the unexpected - and above all, be prepared to have a go at all tasks.
While we are happy to accommodate accompanying academic staff members, this is not necessarily a pre-requisite of taking part in the Program. It is possible for groups of sufficiently responsible students to join us without supervision at ALERT’s discretion.
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An experience too good to miss, but don’t take our word for it. Here’s what some of our previous student interns have to say about taking part in the Program...
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for program fees. Upon confirmation of booking, a deposit of GB£300 / US$540 per person will be required, with the balance payable 120 days prior to travel. ALERT will liaise directly with individual students to organise administration of all bookings and payments.
The fee includes collection from the nearest airport to the project site, shared accommodation, three meals per day and memories to last a lifetime! Invoice amount is charged on a per day basis.
If you wish to intern with ALERT, you will need to obtain a Police Check. As an intern, you may be working closely with children or vulnerable adults to some extent during your stay; therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure that these people are adequately safeguarded. For applicants from the UK, we will arrange the check for you at a cost of £20, which will be added to your invoice and payable along with your deposit. For applicants from all other countries, please contact your local police department for advice on how to go about arranging your check. All participants on all of our programs are required to undertake a police check before their placement commences.
HOW TO APPLY
Initial applications should be made by a member of staff from the participating institution to email@example.com. We will require an approximate number of students and preferred dates/length of stay. Once the booking has been confirmed, each student will be asked to complete an individual booking form and medical questionnaire. The minimum age for this program is 18 years.