2 - 12 weeks
2 - 12 weeks
What's the project about?
The wildlife centre is Malawi’s only animal sanctuary, with a focus on rescue and rehabilitation. Working alongside a resident team of expert wildlife vets, participants on the veterinary internship have a unique opportunity to gain work experience in animal care and nursing and learn new skills from qualified local staff. Animal care work will encompass the whole rehabilitation spectrum, from rescue, examination, ongoing supervision and final release.
How will I be contributing?
Veterinary interns assist the on-site veterinarian when any clinical work arises, including incoming examinations of new arrivals, treatment of minor trauma, ongoing health checks and routine diagnostics. Get to grips with the wild side of veterinary science as you assist with the treatment of some unusual wild animals! Interns will also join sanctuary volunteers with general animal husbandry duties and animal reintegrations.
What makes this project ethical?
Join an organisation internationally recognised for its work to protect Malawi’s wildlife. Then sanctuary is focused on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, and is widely reputed to be one of the best facilities in Africa for responsible wildlife care and rehabilitation. You can be confident that your veterinary internship is part of an ethical, high impact project, where you will learn best practice from highly qualified conservation and veterinary experts.
Get involved in a wide range of veterinary activities and assist with clinical health checks, diagnostics and community outreach veterinary work. This programme is ideal for those looking to gain broad, real-world experience of sanctuary-based vet work that also includes other aspects of animal rehabilitation, as per the responsibilities of the sanctuary volunteer.
Hands-off wildlife policy
This project prides itself on its hands-off approach to animal care, so that wildlife stands the best chance of successful release. However, when volunteers look after baby and young orphaned animals, your skills as a surrogate parent will undoubtedly be called into play!
Note that during periods of quieter veterinary activity, interns will join wildlife sanctuary volunteers in their daily activities.
Vet interns assist the on-site veterinarian when any clinical work arises. All veterinary activities will be under the supervision of an experienced local veterinarian. This work may include:
- Incoming exams, minor trauma and routine diagnostics
- Assist the on-site vet in basic surgical procedures on all sorts of animals from hedgehogs to lions and barn owls!
- Assist with vaccinations and health checks for new arrivals
- Learn from experts in wildlife veterinary science
- Orphan care including feeding and potentially hand rearing
- Observe sick and injured wildlife
- Rehabilitation including integrations and observations
Please note that veterinary work may not be everyday, and when there is no clinical work to be done, interns will participate in the Centre’s other on-site animal care work. Animal care activities will depend on what animals and orphans are at the sanctuary at the time.
Volunteers play an essential role in the daily care of the sanctuary’s animals and may get involved with some or all of the following activities:
- Prepare meals for animals on a daily basis, and feed during the day (and night!);
- Learn about successful rehabilitation and release methods;
- Clean out enclosures and feeding pens;
- Help settle newly rescued animals into groups or into their rehabilitation enclosures;
- Quietly observe sick, distressed and injured wildlife who need close monitoring;
- Orphaned babies may also need intensive care such as bottle feeding, observation and interaction.
Behaviour and habitat enrichment:
A critical volunteer role is to enrich the lives of the animals who cannot be released, enable them to live as natural a life as possible, and behave as closely as they would in the wild.
- Build activity centres for baboons and primates to enable them run, jump and climb
- Make toys for the baboons to stimulate foraging
- Work with animals who are not current candidates for release due to mental or physical issues
Rehabilitation and release:
Releases done by this sanctuary have been highly acclaimed, thanks to the expertise and effort which goes into the rehabilitation process and subsequent release. Volunteers are crucial to this process from rehabilitation, through monitoring and subsequent release.
- Help with pre-release monitoring to ensure animals are fit to be released;
- Settle new arrivals and rehabilitated animals into new groups and monitor their progress.
Activities around the sanctuary and game reserve:
- Monitor free-roaming animals within the 400 acre reserve (on foot, by vehicle and on horseback);
- Build and repair enclosures and fences;
- Dig new waterholes, build and maintain roads and paths, make signs and other building work around the sanctuary.
Volunteers are encouraged to spend time with local people, helping children understand the importance of protecting the wildlife and their environment.
- Help with guided tours and show children animals they may have never seen before;
- Visit rural communities and engage with them about wildlife;
- Get involved with tree planting projects;
- Help with community development initiatives such as fuel briquette projects to reduce the loss of animal habitats from the selling and burning of firewood.
Take a look at the sister project to this internship, the Rescued Animal Conservation Programme, for more details of daily life as a sanctuary volunteer.
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