Internships

Each year, we accept a small number of interns to Save the Elephants in Kenya. These internships comprise 1-2 month professional placements with one of our research projects in Kenya, designed for university students or graduates pursuing a career in conservation, with skills in scientific data collection and analysis. Structured round our four pillars, these internships harness the skills of interns, while involving them directly with projects. Interns contribute to our Long Term Monitoring work, behavioral studies, human elephant conflict or conservation education. Calendar: We accept applications for internships between January to June from the 1st September until 30th October, and then from 1st to 30th April for the July to November period.

The application window for the first half of 2018 is now open.  The dates for this application period are 1st of September to 30th of October. Please apply within this period if you would like an intern position between Jan-June 2018. Make sure you apply at the appropriate time *and not before or after* as your application may not be considered.

Save the Elephants also has a rolling position for a Samburu Film internship. Having begun in June 2016, STE takes on passionate, energetic wildlife filmmakers at the beginning of their career to aid in the conservation of elephants while also gaining invaluable experience in fastpaced film-making in the field. This position is open as of June 2017. If you would like more information on how to apply, please click here.

It is important to note that our programs are extremely competitive and if you are to make it through to the last round, you need to have a thorough read of our internship page, as well as the rest of our website. To apply, kindly send in a comprehensive Cover letter and CV to expound on your skills and interest in us. Please include at least 3 academic and professional references and their contacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for an internship?

Our interns are over 18 years of age and are selected by their academic qualifications as listed on their CV’s and cover letters explaining why they want to work for STE and, in particular, what skills they can offer our organisation. We normally expect our interns to be studying a degree at a reputable university in the fields of zoology, biological sciences, environmental sciences or geography and to be intent on pursuing a career in this field. We are also interested in accepting postgraduates and career-break interns who are trying to get more experience in the field of conservation biology and ecology or who may be interested in doing PhD research. The work available is conservation related, and not tactile or anatomical, thus we do not accept veterinary students. Occasionally, we do accept interns in our Nairobi Head Office who can help us with fundraising, marketing, website and office based projects such as managing our African Elephant Library. Such opportunities do not follow normal application cycles and thus will be advertised specifically when they arise. Interns have come to us from all over the world including Kenya, USA, UK, Australia, Netherlands and Germany. We don’t encourage school pupils or pre-university gap year students to apply.

How many internship positions are there each year?

We have up to 12 internships positions available at Save the Elephants every year and these are usually divided half/half between international and Kenyan interns. We have two intern seasons Jan-June and July-Dec, with the bulk of international applicants coming in between June and September. The application window is open for about a month and a half from March and then again from September as advertised above. We prefer applications to come through during this time, so if you apply outside of the window, please resend your application to ensure you are considered.

How long is the STE internship?

We require interns to commit to at least 1 month of work. Depending on the project work assigned to you, this may be spent in either Nairobi or our Samburu research camp, although primarily, work is done in Samburu which is our research facility. Most Nairobi interns will have an opportunity to visit the Samburu research camp during their time in Kenya. Typically internships last about 2 months. We have long-stay “interns” who are typically PhD students we have preselected who concurrently collect their data and supervise intern projects. These students stay for the period of their research which will extend through to a year, but this is not a position we offer through this site.

What will I be doing?

STE internships are highly competitive and therefore we only select the best candidates. We do our best to match interns with at least one main project that fits their experience, interest and skills base. This said, interns are to serve as assistants to field staff and researchers, and thus the projects you will be participating in will be part of on-going work, and only rarely do interns take a leading role in the project. The primary focus of intern project work is data collection (meaning going out to the field with the elephants and other wildlife) and crucially, entry/cleaning for Long term Monitoring of Elephants and Mammal Census. Those selected for relevant GIS skills will assist in digitizing human structures/features into a GIS database. It is possible to get a discreet project which fits into a wider one, but this varies enormously from year to year and from intern to intern. Have a read of our website and past interns’ experiences to learn more about the project work conducted at STE of which you could be a part of.

Can I do a Masters project as an STE intern?
Having realized the research constraints plaguing us in this regard, we prefer not to take on MSc students who want to pursue their own projects. We may not have the supervisory personnel necessary to guide a student through a project, and do not have the infrastructure in terms of free research vehicles and equipment that a student may need to collect data with. It may however be that at certain points STE has projects that could act as a discreet MSc project for a student to do. When such a case arises, we will advertise the opening on this page. In exceptional cases, if we do take a student on with their own project that we feel we can support, the student should provide us with their course details, the structure needed for their research project and the topic area. In this regard, we would only support MSc projects that fit within STE’s research aims at the time of the student’s application.
How much do I have to raise for an internship?
Overseas interns will have to raise funds to pay for their international flight to and from Kenya and for a return flight from Nairobi to Samburu. This internal flight is 1.5 hours and usually costs around US$290. Interns working at the Samburu Research Camp need to raise a minimum of US$35 per night that they stay at the camp. This is a heavily subsidised contribution towards your food, drinking water, accommodation, laundry, security, internet access and any equipment that is used to collect data. Interns usually manage to raise an extra donation on top of their daily camp fee to support the ongoing work of STE but this is not compulsory. US$5 from your daily camp fee is put into a fund to support the costs of Kenyan interns who apply to Save the Elephants but who are not able to raise the funds. This fund enables us to fully subsidise one Kenyan intern for every 2-3 overseas interns that we accept. Kenyan applicants who are financially unable to pay our subsidised camp fee should apply in the usual way with a CV and cover letter but explaining your financial constraints.
What should I bring?
We will send you a more comprehensive list of equipment once you are accepted as an intern. However, you should expect to bring a laptop with wireless internet capabilities, a good camera with zoom lens, a pair of binoculars and a comprehensive first aid kit. Please note that interns with any kind of medical or physical condition must inform us with full details during the application process.
What outputs am I expected to produce?

Every intern is responsible for writing a report to the wardens of Samburu and Buffalo Springs Reserve describing the activities undertaken. This report should consist of a useful set of information that can help the conservation and management of the park. This should be submitted before leaving the reserves. It is a critical part of the internship as the park waives a large amount of fees for interns coming to stay with STE, and thus need something substantial in return for the betterment of the park. For STE, the main responsibility of the intern is to complete the tasks assigned in the time given, including reports where they arise. For the STE website, interns are expected to produce 1-2 blogs per week detailing their work and experiences, complete with relevant high resolution photos. In addition we ask many interns to prepare an A1 poster on his or her project work and to submit a small paragraph for our Annual Report, which is published every September. Though it is a rarity, any interns carrying out MSc research who have been accepted should submit a draft of their work before leaving camp as provided for in the research guidelines they will sign, and should later post us a full copy of their complete thesis with appropriate acknowledgements.

Are there any added benefits to an internship with STE?
Interns often help our long-term researchers with data analysis or collection. Occasionally we will publish papers or reports on this data and there may be a chance for exceptional interns to be listed as authors or acknowledged on research papers. Several interns have returned for a second year after successful completion of a first internship. We are very grateful for interns who go on to help us with fundraising activities in their own countries once they return home.

Required Forms and Documents once Applicant has been Accepted to the Program

Application Letter & CV
The application consists of a 1-2 page cover letter explaining your interests, qualifications and reasons for applying to intern at STE, appended to the applicant’s CV and emailed to interns@savetheelephants.org
Signed Indemnity Form (sent to successful applicants by STE)
This is a form signed by all researchers and interns (once accepted), showing one acknowledges the realities of living inside a national park, and accordingly does not attach the organization to ensuing liabilities.
Medical Form (sent to successful applicants by STE)
Once accepted, interns are required to fill this form to share necessary medical details with STE which may be relevant to your internship with us.
What to bring
All you might need is included in the STE Standard Kit list.

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The fate of elephants is in the balance. The record price of ivory has attracted organised crime, rebel militias and even terrorist groups, fuelling a surge of poaching across the continent. Without the outstanding support and generosity of our donors, STE would not be able to continue securing a future for the elephants. We urgently need your support, while there is still time. You can be of vital assistance by donating to either our core funds or to any of our projects.

Spread the Word

The fate of elephants is in the balance. The record price of ivory has attracted organised crime, rebel militias and even terrorist groups, fuelling a surge of poaching across the continent. Without the outstanding support and generosity of our donors, STE would not be able to continue securing a future for the elephants. We urgently need your support, while there is still time. You can be of vital assistance by donating to either our core funds or to any of our projects.

Elephants are Africa’s gardeners and landscape engineers, planting seeds and creating habitat wherever they roam.

Without urgent action to save their species, elephants could be gone from the wild within a single generation.

100,000 elephants in Africa were killed for their ivory in just three years between the years 2010 & 2012.