Intern with us

NOTE: We have not yet launched our internship program. If interested, please email us at

Whether you’re seeking experience in the field, exploring a new career, in between jobs, or simply love big cats, as an intern with us, you’ll leave inspired and informed. You can decide how long you want to stay and how far you want to advance – stay with us for a minimum of 12 weeks* and up to two years.

Interns provide essential support for our staff in caring for our big cats and the sanctuary. This includes preparing the animals’ meals, feeding them, and creating vital enrichments to keep them mentally and physically healthy. We are always looking for individuals from all over the world who want to join us. If you would love to stay at our sanctuary and help our big cats thrive, this is the perfect opportunity for you! 

Your time spent interning with us will be invaluable and life-changing. You’ll leave with a deeper respect for the animals you’ve helped care for and firsthand knowledge of why wild animals do not belong in captivity and should not be used for entertainment.

We’re accepting applications for positions throughout the year and beyond!

ADIWS Internship Program

We accept interns from all over the world on a rolling basis. Start dates will be determined by the availability of the applicant and the needs of the sanctuary.

Intern Requirements

In order to take care of our rescued big cats, you need to be: 

  1. Self-motivated and committed to providing the best care to animals
  2. At least 18 years old and possess a valid driver’s license or photo I.D.
  3. In good health with endurance for working outdoors in all types of weather; able to lift and carry at least 50lbs/23kgs, adequate vision and hearing
  4. Fluent in English both written and verbal
  5. Obtain a tetanus vaccination, as well as other necessary vaccinations in South Africa, at your own expense prior to participating in the program, which will be valid for the duration of the internship.

Level 1 Internship

All of our interns start at Level 1.  The ADIWS intern program will teach you about all the basic operations of running a sanctuary, then move into animal care training. All basic functions need to be completed, including housekeeping, maintaining supplies, roads, landscape, helping with fencing, building, daily chores, perimeter checks and various projects.

Intern Training also includes taking the following classes:

  • Orientation
  • Shared Household Management and Rules
  • Filming, Photography, Social Media
  • First Aid
  • Animal Emergency
  • Security Alerts
  • Fire Alerts
  • Guest and Community Relations
  • Animal Observation – respect for captive wild animals
  • Respect, observations and care of free-ranging wild animals on the sanctuary
  • Enrichment Class
  • Operant Training

Work Schedule

Interns must complete 600 hours of service during the 12-week internship. This is equivalent to working 50+ hours per week. The day typically begins between 7:30 – 8:00 AM and ends between 6:30 – 8:00 PM. The days are long and hard work, but you have the honor of providing service to our beautiful, intelligent and emotional rescued animals; providing a place of loving kindness to those who have suffered so much at the hands of humans. This will be the most rewarding experience of your life!

Additional Information

Travel to ADI Wildlife Sanctuary (ADIWS):  You cover your own travel costs, but if you fly or come by bus/coach, we will arrange to collect you.

What is provided?

Accommodation: Shared bedrooms, kitchen, lounge and bathrooms.

Food costs: ADI will cover R750 / $50 / £40 of your food costs each week. 

What costs will you have?

We will need a non-refundable R750 / $50 / £40 upon confirmation of your interview session, and a deposit of R4500 / $300 / £240 (to hold your spot and in case there are housing or property damages during your stay). Once you’ve finished our program and have passed inspection that there are no damages, your deposit will be returned.

Fun Stuff

When you’re not working, there are some fun activities planned.

ADIWS and ADI staff give periodical presentations on ADI’s work internationally. We also have a selection of films, from full-length theatre features, to educational videos and short fun productions.

Day trips including to local preserve available/by arrangement/additional cost.

Additional Policies

Animal Contact: ADI Wildlife Sanctuary is a strict no-contact facility. That means we never touch any of our cats. 

Animal Respect and Care: No mistreatment of animals of any kind will be tolerated, including shouting, teasing, and excessive disturbance of animals’ preferences (what they want to do) – all are grounds for immediate dismissal.

Remember that ADIWS is a high-security facility to protect the animals under our care. These animals must be protected from poachers and other gangs. Information published without thought of the consequences to the animals, could cost the animals their lives. Such actions breaching our safety and security will result in immediate dismissal.

ADIWS Rules – Overview of Safety and Security:

  • No part of your body — including fingers and hands — shall ever pass through the bars of any enclosure at any time.
  • No person is ever allowed to enter any habitat with a captive wild animal inside.
  • No person is ever allowed to enter the habitat of a captive wild animal, without direct permission and supervision from ADIWS staff.
  • No person shall walk around the sanctuary, unsupervised by ADIWS staff, at any time.
  • No person shall be near any captive wild animals, unsupervised by ADIWS staff.
  • Smoking is permitted in the designated “smoking areas” only.
  • Absolutely no alcohol or drugs are allowed on the property at any time.


This section covers the intern application process only. Please read all of the information on this page so that you are aware of the requirements of the intern program, including deposits and fees, and basic rules that apply to all interns, volunteers, and staff.

ADIWS can only accommodate a limited number of interns at any given time. Applications are accepted year round.

Currently accepting applications for positions for all of 2020!

If you would like to apply for the ADI Wildlife Sanctuary Internship Program:

Click here for an intern application