Vacancy: Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Adventure
Reference Number: MGF
Category: Conservation Projects (Conservation projects, Rainforest, Wildlife)
Cost : from £925
The magical Island of Madagascar is home to some of the world's most spectacular and least explored wildlife and ecosystems. Journey with us to northern Madagascar a mysterious land unlike anywhere else on earth. Places on this ancient, exotic island have vegetation and wildlife so strange that at times you'd even think that you were on another planet! Here you can find almost all of the world's 63 kinds of lemurs, dozens of species of chameleon including the world's smallest and largest, and strikingly beautiful fossa, a close relative of the mongoose.
The landscape is full of strange and unusual plants including bulbous baobab trees, exotic orchids and cactus-like vegetation, interspersed with pockets of lush riverine tropical forests and all combining to a produce a dramatic wilderness landscape of steep cliffs and volcanic massifs.
On the Frontier-Madagascar wildlife conservation project you’ll discover the huge variety of Madagascar's exotic species as you trek through remote regions of this hugely exciting island. Working alongside other dedicated volunteers, you’ll monitor the distribution and abundance of species, assessing their use of the wilderness habitats and ecosystem and evaluating the impact of human populations on the Wildlife.
Recover from your trekking and bush-camping with a final few days resting and relaxing on the Frontier beach camp at Nosy Be where you can snorkel in the crystal clear waters and sunbathe on the fantastic white sand beaches.
WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Spot species found nowhere else on Earth
Madagascar has been isolated for over 165 million years, creating a biodiversity resource of global significance, with over 80% of species found nowhere else on earth, including leaping Sifaka Lemurs, Lesser Mouse Lemurs or even the elusive Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur. Reptiles include tortoises, snakes, iguanas and a vast array of chameleons, including both the smallest and largest in the world. There is spectacular bird life, and over three-quarters of the flora are endemic, with palms and more orchids than in all of mainland Africa.
This incredible flora and fauna, unique in its ability to resist the region's aridity, has led naturalists to describe Madagascar's forests as "the eighth wonder of the world".
Desertification & hunting
Madagascar's human population has doubled since 1960, leading to increased deforestation and overgrazing, which in turn has caused massive soil erosion and desertification. Only one tenth of the original forests remain, and this situation is rapidly deteriorating.
Empower Malagasy communities
You will be surveying the flora and fauna of the region through biodiversity surveys of mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. Madagascar is also one of the few places you can learn to handle snakes without fear of being bitten. You will learn about friendly Malagasy culture from working with local university students, and you will interact with communities to survey their resource use and conduct environmental education days. This will enable you to evaluate the impact of human populations on the wildlife, and help to develop areas where communities can lead sustainable lifestyles.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The main aims of the programme are to assess the biodiversity in this little-studied area and compare different habitat types and altitudes. Compiling a species inventory will involve carrying out extensive surveys of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in the surrounding forests. This means setting up several trap sites to collect species in buckets, canopy traps and from leaf-litter extraction as well as surveys of lemurs and night walks. In addition we will also be doing mapping of vegetation, disturbance and resource-use in the area to build up a GIS map.
If this is your first time doing conservation work, don't worry! It will only take a short while for you to feel totally at home on camp and confident with the science work. Although the work is intense you'll find that living in such a beautiful and inaccessible environment alongside friends who share your passion for conservation will be the experience of a lifetime!
You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages (usually between 18 and 25, though no age limit applies), and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and saving endangered life. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field and many may have volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.