Madagascar is home to all of the world's remaining Lemurs, with over 100 species currently described and with new discoveries being made seemingly each year! Madagascar also has a huge diversity of chameleons, including the world’s smallest and largest, many endemic birds and the spectacular fossa, a cat like carnivore which is actually related to the mongoose family. The landscape is also full of strange and unusual plant species including bulbous baobab trees, exotic orchids and sprawling cactus, interspersed with pockets of lush riverine tropical forests and all combining to a produce a varied and wild landscape of steep cliffs and volcanic massifs.
The Frontier-Madagascar wildlife conservation project is 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 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 help to monitor the distribution and abundance of many groups of animal, assessing how they use their forest habitats and the important roles they play within the ecosystems. You will also help to evaluate the impacts that humans are having on the wildlife and the forests, and will contribute to the conservation of this rich and special land.
On the Madagascar Wildlife Conservation N.G.O Internship you’ll discover the huge variety of Madagascar's exotic species as you trek through remote regions of this hugely exciting island. Working alongside Frontier field staff, 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 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?Help conservice 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 Lemurs (Microcebus), the smallest primates on earth! Reptiles include rare Turtles, Snakes, Gecko's including the superbly camouflaged Leaf-tailed Gecko's (Uroplatus), Skinks and an array of Chameleon's.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, teresterial, arboreal and fossorial environments, 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 local 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 habitat types suffering from different levels of human disturbance. Compiling a species inventory will involve carrying out extensive surveys of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in the surrounding forests. Behavioural studies are also carried out on the Lemur populations. In addition we will also be doing mapping of vegetation, disturbance and resource-use in the area to build up an accurate picture of how land use changes over time. As an intern, you will have additional responsibilities which contribute to the overall running of the project, for example, teaching species ID to new volunteers. If this is your first time doing wildlife conservation work in the tropics, 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 on the coast in between the ocean and the forest alongside friends who share your passion for conservation will be the experience of a lifetime and develop your experience of field work! 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.