Island Biodiversity Surveying Citizen Science Project in Seychelles
- Experiences | Vol and Intern
- Curieuse Island, Seychelles
1 month ago
Island Biodiversity Surveying Citizen Science Project in Seychelles
- Experiences | Vol and Intern
- Curieuse Island, Seychelles
1 month ago
Learn techniques for surveying tropical flora, fauna, and habitats while contributing to the sustainable management of Curieuse Island AND get career training from Conservation Careers!
Learn scientific techniques for conducting biodiversity surveys of Curieuse Island and its unique and threatened inhabitants Hawksbill sea turtles, giant Aldabra tortoises, and the Sicklefin lemon sharks, while contributing to data collection used by the Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority to sustainably manage the island.
The team living on the nationally protected Curieuse island assists the Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority with gathering information that helps the organisation sustainably manage the island. By joining this program you will participate in this ongoing citizen science project while learning biodiversity surveying techniques taught by experienced conservationists.
Volunteers on this program will be provided with an introductory presentation detailing why these biodiversity surveys are important for the conservation of the island. You will also be provided with a guide on the scientific methods used to survey each species, allowing you to fully engage with this important project. In the process, you will get the chance to observe and preserve the island’s endemic, iconic flora and fauna including Hawksbill turtles, the Aldabra giant tortoise, Sicklefin lemon sharks, and the mangroves.
- Contribute to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #14 Life Below Water and #15 Life on Land.
- Earn experience in conservation while learning about tropical island life from experienced and enthusiastic conservation staff.
- Live a sustainable lifestyle with other like-minded participants on Curieuse island’s famously beautiful Anse St. Jose beach.
- Visit the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site, on Praslin Island.
Our Award-winning Partner
Conservation Careers has teamed up with an award-winning, mission-driven organisation with a team of passionate experts across the globe who will make your experience a truly unforgettable one.
Founded in 1998, they run programs in 21 locations, in 13 countries around the world, each aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the objectives of local partners. They welcome participants from all around the world and help facilitate their development into global citizens. This is how they achieve their mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Their commitment to running high-quality sustainable development and experiential education programs has earned them recognition from numerous organizations such as Panthera, the Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority, as well as Stanford, NYU, Duke, and Ohio State.
If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!
To see all our Conservation Careers Internship opportunities, please click here.
Life On Base
The tropical paradise of Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters is a national park, managed by the Seychelles Parks and Garden Authority (SPGA). Our partner’s beach-front camp is located on the white sand beach of Anse St Jose and overlooks Praslin (the Seychelles’ second-largest island), a short boat ride away. With turquoise waters, lush jungle, and granite boulders all over, this remote private island has no roads, no infrastructure, and no shops.
Curieuse is home to around 150 Aldabra giant tortoises and many endemic and rare species, including the Coco de Mer palm, which is only grown in two locations in the world. While all of the tortoises roam freely, Obama the wild giant tortoise is a regular visitor to our base.
At this eco-friendly base, accommodation is in shared dorm rooms, and bathroom facilities are shared. There is cold running water available for showers, so expect fresh (cold) rainwater showers! Everyone shares base duties, including cleaning and other chores, which is all part of the experience. The base library and science room is not what you might expect – this one has a sand floor and is on the beach, just metres from the sea. Here, you can swap books and choose from an array of books – everything from novels to educational reading materials.
You’ll have access to long-distance communications whilst on the program. Make sure friends and family know how often they can expect to hear from you so they don’t worry if you aren’t in regular contact with them. Local SIM cards and pay-as-you-go credit can be bought in the Seychelles, and the signal is good in most areas.
Volunteers take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is basic but nutritious. Primarily vegetarian, optional fish or meat available is once or twice a week. Breakfast could include porridge with fresh fruit, eggs, or occasionally pancakes or cereal. Lunch and evening meals typically include pasta, beans, rice, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables. Fridays are BBQ nights on the beach.
Most of the year, the climate in the Seychelles is relatively agreeable for the tropics, although it can be very hot in the sun when out on fieldwork. There are essentially two main seasons. The southeast monsoon season (from around May to August) is cooler, with a steady breeze and little rain. The northwest monsoon season (between the end of November and March) is typically windy with occasional heavy rain – especially in December and January. Between the monsoon seasons (April and October) the weather is usually calm, hot, and dry – perfect for boat trips and swimming in the calm water. It’s usually only cold when it rains, so it’s worth bringing a rain jacket.
During “research season” specific species are more prevalent. Sharks and hawksbill turtles are monitored from October to March, and giant tortoises from April to September. Green turtles are monitored all year round. Beach profiling and cleanups are conducted throughout the year.
This program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.
FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS | ORIENTATION
Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing
Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.
Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically
Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.
Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals
Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.
Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact
Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.
FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS AT CURIEUSE
Community: Human Empowerment
Learn about our empowerment principles.
Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics
An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.
Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification
Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.
Marine Conservation: Pollution and Plastics
Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.
Marine Conservation: Coral Reefs
Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.
Invasive Species Eradication
Learn about how species like cinnamon, cocoplum, and rats cause damage to island flora and fauna and what is being done to remove these species.
Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys (seasonal)
Participants are shown how to correctly set up Baited Remote Underwater Video Surveys (BRUVs) with rigging, bait, camera, etc. Correct handling techniques are also taught for safe deployments and retrievals of the frames, and participants may be trained in fish identification to assist with video analysis. Please note that this is a seasonal activity, so participation depends on the time of year and the need for this data.
Record the rate of coastal erosion with our beach profiling surveys.
Sicklefin Lemon Shark Monitoring
Help us track down sicklefin lemon shark pups for our catch-and-release project, gathering population and growth rate information on this understudied species.
Tortoise Population Census
Assist in our annual census of the island’s Aldabra Giant tortoise population and keep tabs on the growth rates of hatchlings and juvenile tortoises in the nursery
Mangrove Mapping (seasonal)
Investigating seedling recruitment and mortality, and further determining species distribution across the mangrove forests. Please note that this is a seasonal activity, so participation depends on the time of year and the need for this data.
Sea Turtle Beach Surveys
To study nesting success in Hawksbill and Green turtles, collect data such as tag numbers, carapace (shell) measurements and the number of eggs laid or carry out nest excavations to measure hatching success.
A presentation highlighting the issue with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.
Participants receive presentations detailing each of our projects. These presentations include background information, Curieuse-specific information, methodologies, the importance of data collection, future plans, etc.
Boat and snorkelling orientation
Detailed lessons on the boat procedures, including knot tying, entry and exit procedures, emergency plans.
Coconut husking lesson
Participants are shown the correct techniques and have the opportunity to practice husking a coconut to eat or use in a beverage.
Domestic Duties Orientation
Training is given on the domestic duties around base, including how to cook for large groups, and a fun lesson on how to make bread.
A monitoring induction by our staff on the techniques and best practice for conducting research in the field.
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
During your program, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience tailor-made adventure and wellness activities. These have been specially designed to further immerse you in the diversity and richness of the habitats and cultures around you.
- Learn to cook Seychellois Creole cuisine
- Experience traditional moutya dancing on the beach
- Stargaze and learn the southern constellations
- Hike to the top of Mount Curieuse
- Stand up paddleboard at sunrise
- Visit Vallée de Mai in Praslin National Park
- Spend the day at a secluded beach
- Sleep under the stars on Mount Curieuse
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.
On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.
Our partner’s island conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the island of Curieuse. Both the island and its surrounding waters are a national park, managed by Seychelles Parks and Gardens Authority (SPGA). On Curieuse, you can experience true island culture, as the island has very few inhabitants compared to most of the other larger islands, making its natural habitat very well preserved. This beautiful coastal area consists of unique habitats including mangroves, wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
The island is notable for its bare red earth mountains and was originally named “Ile Rouge” due to its red-coloured soil. In 1768, the French claimed possession of the island, renaming it after the schooner, “La Curieuse”. Over the years, the island faced severe soil erosion following several fires. The first significant fire was in 1771, and its scars can still be seen today.
The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the east coast of Africa, consisting of 100 islands. The main, or so-called inner islands, are made of granite. Researchers believe that they used to form part of the Indian subcontinent. The granite attracted corals and most of the outer islands of the Seychelles are based on coral. The islands are famous for their unique biodiversity and are home to literally thousands of unique land and underwater species. The waters of the Indian Ocean are a haven for coral conservation efforts, making the Seychelles a sought-after diving destination.
There are festivals throughout the year, the most notable being the Seychelles International Carnival of Victoria in February, which celebrates the cultures that helped shape the Seychelles. There is also the La Digue Festival in mid-August and the Creole Festival in October. For those interested in the natural world, there is the SUBIOS Underwater Festival on Mahe’s main beach in October, which celebrates underwater conservation.
Seychellois Creole is spoken by the majority of the native Seychellois ( 95% of the population). Because the island country was once a British colony, English is the language officially used in government and business dealings. Some French is also spoken on the islands.
BONUS! Conservation Career Kick-Starter online training programme (worth £295)
Do you want to spend your career helping wildlife to flourish, but are feeling a little lost, confused or disillusioned?
Start your career in wildlife conservation with a unique programme of training, support community & jobs from Conservation Careers!
The Conservation Career Kick-Starter is a proven step-by-step system to get clear, get ready, and get hired as a professional conservationist.
Whether you’re at university and planning your next steps, a graduate in the job hunt or working in an unrelated job but interested to switch into conservation, this course is designed to help you.
After going through the course, you’ll have created a personal career plan which will give you confidence in your job hunt and will make everything quicker, simpler and more fun!
All you need to do is register your interest in the project below, and if you choose to make a booking we’ll save a place for you on the Kick-Starter when you get back from your placement.
Included with the Kick-Starter is a year’s full access to the world’s biggest conservation job board with over 15,000 jobs, plus access to our private online support community, CC Pro.
Duration, Dates & Costs
Duration of fieldwork: 1 – 12 weeks
- 2023 – 27 May; 10 Jun; 24 Jun; 08 Jul; 22 Jul; 05 Aug; 19 Aug; 02 Sep; 16 Sep; 30 Sep; 14 Oct; 28 Oct; 11 Nov; 25 Nov; 09 Dec; 23 Dec
- 1 weeks – £2,345.00
- 2 weeks – £2,695.00
- 3 weeks – £3,045.00
- 4 weeks – £3,445.00
- 5 weeks – £3,795.00
- 6 weeks – £4,195.00
- 7 weeks – £4,895.00
- 8 weeks – £5,245.00
- 9 weeks – £5,595.00
- 10 weeks – £5,945.00
- 11 weeks – £5,945.00
- 12 weeks – £6,295.00
- 24-hour emergency desk
- 24-hour in-country support
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All project equipment
- Food (except on long-term internship placements)
- Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
- Group introductory call
- Welcome presentation
- Endorsed Leadership Course
- Sustainable project work
- Leadership responsibilities
- PDF reference – upon request
What’s Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- COVID-19: Health and Hygiene Fee
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal items and toiletries
- Police or background check
- Visa costs