Wildlife Conservation Adventure

Wildlife Conservation Adventure
From £595 - 2945
Duration 7 - 140 Days
From £595 - 2945
Duration 7 - 140 Days
This project's aims are to contribute to the current understanding of the local environment and help monitor the spectacular array of wildlife found in Madagascar.

Help conserve species found nowhere else on earth

The projects aims are to contribute to the current understanding of the local environment and help monitor the spectacular array of wildlife found here. Madagascar has been isolated for over 84 million years, creating a biodiversity resource of global significance, with over 80% of species found nowhere else on earth! Nosy Be’s fauna includes three species of lemur, including the diminutive mouse lemur (Microcebus), the smallest primate on earth! Reptiles include rare turtles, snakes, geckos, including the superbly camouflaged leaf-tailed gecko’s (Uroplatus), skinks and an array of chameleons.

There is spectacular bird life on the island, with the highest levels of endemism of any similar sized area in the world, as well as some elusive tenrecs – a group of small mammals that are incredibly diverse, filling niches in aquatic, terrestial, arboreal and fossorial environments, and resembling everything from otters to hedgehogs.

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 as the human population continues to grow. The forests are cut down to provide nutrients and land for agriculture, as well as being used as hunting grounds in the more remote and poor communities.

Empower Malagasy communities

You will be assessing the local flora and fauna of the region through biodiversity surveys of mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians, with the aim of informing and educating the local government and communities. It is our goal to leave a lasting impact in the region and to help the local communities appreciate and conserve their local environment and avoid the pitfalls of exploitation. You will interact with the community by providing environmental education days. This will enable you to evaluate the impact of the human population on the wildlife and help to develop ideas allowing the community to lead more 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 the effects of human disturbance, which may take several forms. We hope to gain insights into how each species or family of animals is responding to human induced habitat modification and other anthropogenic stresses. It is our aim to discover which species are able to adapt and cope with human interaction and which species may be intolerant to any form of disturbance. By helping us to find out which species are most vulnerable to human disturbance, we can help design specific conservation action plans for better conservation management in the future and inform the relevant national and local entities with responsibility for managing the forests.

Our current projects involve carrying out extensive surveys of the local mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that exist in the surrounding forests. These surveys are conducted in a variety of habitat types, ranging from primary forest to plantation type habitats along a gradient of human disturbance. Our survey techniques range from setting up canopy or pitfall traps, active searches during both the day and night and behavioural surveys to collecting morphometric data on chameleons and snakes and learning how to record birds by identifying their calls. In addition, we will also be mapping vegetation and assessing disturbance and resource use in the area to build up an accurate picture. For more details on our specific projects and methods as well as our results so far please see our most recent science report.

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, although no age limit applies, and experience, 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.

Sample Itinerary*

06:00 – breakfast; bread, sandwiches or cebada

06:30 – bird survey

08:30 – active search for reptiles/amphibians or lemur survey

11:00 – butterfly survey

12:30 – lunch: rice and beans!

13:30 – active search for reptiles/amphibians or lemur survey

16:00 – revision or presentations

18:00 – dinner: rice and beans or option to eat out in the village

19:00 – night walk – active search for amphibians/reptiles

*This itinerary should only be considered as an example of the kind of activities and timescales to expect.  Actual itineraries may vary depending on the season and the requirements of the project.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 : Wildlife Conservation Adventure

The magical Island of Madagascar is famous for its bizarre assemblage of wildlife, its dramatic landscapes and its unique and varied ecosystems. No other island or place in Earth boasts such a combination of species richness and endemism! For example, every native terrestrial mammal species found on this huge island is endemic, and found nowhere else on Earth! Most famous of all of its inhabitants though are the Lemurs, primitive prosimians whose name, derived from the Roman Lemures, or ‘spirits of the dead’ exemplify the islands biological wealth, yet also its fragility.

There are currently 103 recognised Lemur species on the island, all of which are believed to have evolved from a single colonising ancestor, who reached isolated Madagascar some 50million years ago! Sadly however, recent assessments made by the IUCN now show that the Lemurs are now the most endangered group of vertebrates in the world, with 94 species being classified as threatened with extinction! However Lemurs are not the only group of animals in need of help! The Amphibian fauna of Madagascar is considered to be one of the greatest on Earth, with 238 recognised species and with another 182 candidate species currently awaiting classification! Madagascar has sadly already lost over 90% of its original forest cover though, and this has put increased pressure on all of the endangered species who live here.

Madagascar is also the centre of diversity for chameleons, with almost half of this old world fauna being found exclusively on the island! Including both the largest, and smallest species in the world! In Madagascar, there are weird, unique and wonderful forms of life everywhere that you look, and the more you discover about each of them, the more amazing they become! This sentiment was summed up perfectly by the 18th century French doctor and explorer, Joseph Philibert Commerson in a letter to his tutor in Paris:

“Of Madagascar I can announce to naturalists that this is truly their promised land. Here nature seems to have created a special sanctuary whither she seems to have withdrawn to experiment with designs different from any she has created elsewhere. At every step, one meets more remarkable and marvellous forms of life”

Despite these tantalising early accounts, Madagascar is still an island shrouded in mystery, and remains relatively un-studied to this day! Myths and legends abound in Madagascar, and remain deeply embedded in the collective imagination, adding to the sense of magic surrounding the island!

So journey with us to our current location in Northern Madagascar, an area which represents a transitional habitat between the floral communities of both the East and West, an area renowned for its high species diversity and high levels of endemism! One of the most threatened forest habitats in Madagascar – The seasonal humid forests of the Sambirano biome.

The Madagascar wildlife conservation project is currently based on the ‘scented island’ of Nosy Be, famous for its vanilla, ylang-ylang and mangoes! Whilst on the wildlife conservation project you’ll discover a huge variety of Madagascar’s exotic species, as you trek through rugged and remote regions of this hugely exciting island. Working alongside other dedicated volunteers, you’ll help to monitor the distribution and abundance of many groups of animal, and help assess how they are responding to human induced stress factors such as deforestation, habitat fragmentation and other forms of anthropogenic disturbance.

On this project you will directly contribute to important research, aiming to inform local government about how to manage the remaining forests and conserve their invaluable natural assets. You will learn an array of surveying techniques and have a chance to contribute to the to the local community through our education outreach days. But of course it is not all work, and after a hard days trekking and exploration you can always take advantage of the camp’s beach front location and relax on the golden beaches, snorkel in the crystal clear waters or play football against the local village!

 

Experience Volunteering
Region Africa
Country Madagascar

StudentUniverse

StudentUniverse has been supplying the best flight, hotel and tours deals to students around the world for years now and we're delighted to be the preferred travel partner of gapyear.com and to make your travel experience even more amazing. We have a great team of travel gurus that understand what a gap year is all about just waiting to help you, and since we are part of the Flight Centre Trave...
See all products from StudentUniverse >
Profile picture of

Interested in Wildlife Conservation Adventure? Ready to enquire?

Here are some of the ways to get in touch with our experts…

Find similar experiences

Search

Tanzania Teaching Aid & Beaches

from £395

7 - 14 days

Tanzania

Your teaching aid assignment will integrate you into your host community. You'll help teach students basic English and other subjects...

Island Conservation Expedition

from £1145

14 days

Seychelles

Contribute to terrestrial conservation efforts and experience in the unspoilt island paradise of the Seychelles!

HIV/AIDS Education and Counseling in Tanzania

from £100

2 - 4 days

Tanzania

HIV/AIDS is a serious challenge and if left uncontrolled, complications will continue to arise. Collaboration with local groups and organizations...

Living with Lions

from £500

7 - 84 days

South Africa

Work alongside some of the most beautiful animals in South Africa, including the lions, and get to experience an animal...

Fantastic Morocco, Spain & Portugal

from £650

14 days

Morocco, Portugal, Spain

From Marrakesh to Madrid this fantastic tour visits three countries over 14 days. From couscous to tapas and from desert...

Early Childhood Development

from £787

10 - 84 days

South Africa

Live and work in the world's most beautiful city - Cape Town - and play a vital role in enriching...

Veterinary Internship in Malawi

from £1

14 - 84 days

Learn from experts in their field and gain valuable veterinary experience in animal care and wildlife rehabilitation at Africa's top...

Physiotherapy Placement in Madagascar

from £445

7 - 140 days

Madagascar

This exciting programme will challenge you and open your eyes to the reality of working as a medical professional in...

Environmental Internship in Kruger National Park

from £670

14 - 84 days

South Africa

If you're passionate about ecology, wildlife conservation, predator research and reserve management, this internship is for you!

The Great Gorilla Project

from £2995

13 days

Uganda

Come face-to-face with the enchanting gorillas of Southern Uganda.

Find similar experiences

Search

Best of Ethiopia

from £3095

Travel to Ethiopia and discover a beautiful country, barely touched by modern society. It’s an incredible combination of history, tradition,...

Ultimate African Overlander

from £1640

Introducing the grandest of all African safaris. From big skies and big plains to big game and big smiles, everything...

Best of Spain

from £1793

Kick off this colourful Best of Spain tour in Madrid and let your imagination unfold on a journey through the...

Madrid to Berlin

from £2865

Discover European class and grandeur on this journey from Madrid to Berlin. Enjoy all things arty – from Madrid’s inspiring...

Kilimanjaro – Rongai Route

from £2285

See Africa from a different perspective – from the peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro. Approach the striking mountain from the north...

Cycle Northern Spain

Encounter the beauty of Catalonia's countryside and its rustic towns on this active bike trip. Designed for the weekend cyclist,...

Ethiopian Highlands Northbound

from £1720

Travel to Africa and tour Ethiopia on a trip from Addis Ababa to Gondar. Discover fascinating places and beautiful scenery...

Zanzibar Spice Islands Sailing Adventure

from £1295

The Zanzibar archipelago is a stunning collection of 40 islands sprinkled across the Indian Ocean, each with a dazzling array...

Discover Morocco

from £1715

Discover Morocco, the land of contrasts - soaring mountains, lush valleys, the vast, unforgettable Sahara Desert and often missed pristine...

Kilimanjaro – Marangu Route

from £1885

This classic Tanzania trek is the most popular route to Mt Kilimanjaro and the only one serviced by mountain huts...

More inspiration and advice

Search
[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]