WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Help conserve species found nowhere else on earth
The project's 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 ranks three species of lemur, including the diminutive mouse lemur (Microcebus), which is the smallest primate on earth. Reptiles include rare turtles, snakes, geckos, including the superbly camouflaged leaf-tailed gecko (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, teresterial, 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 local Malagasy communities
You will be surveying the flora and fauna of the region through biodiversity surveys of mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians. 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 ideas as to how communities can 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 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 mapping vegetation and studying 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, such as 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 as you develop your experience of field work.
You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages, usually between 18 and 25, although 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 many of whom may have volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.
This project looks to utilise skilled interns to develop and grow their experience along with the achievements of this project; please speak to a Frontier travel advisor for more information on the kind of skills and experience required of interns. A relevant degree is essential and some field work experience is necessary.