Overview

Stand out from other candidates by gaining conservation experience in a one-of-a-kind habitat AND get career training from Conservation Careers!

An exceptional career starts with an exceptional internship. Travel to the last remaining primeval rainforest on the island of Nosy Be, home to rare, critically endangered species. Here, you’ll learn how real conservationists manage issues such as illegal logging and poaching and start to master wildlife conservation techniques that’ll set you up for a lifetime of success in the field.

Overview

In a competitive world, to get the job you want, you have to stand out. So why not start in one of the most outstanding places on earth, Madagascar. This is a conservation internship for those who are a little different, because Madagascar is a little different. Most of the species on the island can only be found here. This includes the famous lemur, the most endangered mammal on earth.

You’ll be working to conserve the sole remaining rainforest on Nosy Be island and its at-risk inhabitants in the protected area of Lokobe National Park. Some of the precious species that call this singular old-growth rainforest home are the critically endangered Nosy Be mouse lemur, also known as the Claire’s mouse lemur, one of the smallest primates in the world.

Through tracking, biodiversity surveys and camera trapping, you’ll help to gather data on these threatened species. Your work will also help to establish the baseline biodiversity of the forest.

Some of the most significant threats to wildlife in the area are deforestation and poaching. You’ll be learning from local conservationists how they prevent both and get involved where you can. You might discuss with them how they work against illegal logging or how they protect the panther chameleon, an animal frequently poached for the international pet trade. There might also be a chance to support indigenous plant nurseries.

Highlights

  • Gain conservation experience in one of the most biologically unique habitats on earth.
  • Learn how to track mammals such as lemurs through a dense rainforest habitat.
  • Find out how to set up and monitor camera traps.
  • Become experienced in conducting biodiversity surveys.
  • See first-hand how real conservationists counter illegal activities, such as poaching, in a National Park.

Our Award-winning Partner

Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).

Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with them as ‘life changing’. Their approval rate from over 20 000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.

A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join their programs. Opportunities include high impact volunteering from one week and up, internships for those looking for career development opportunities, Challenges that allow a one week adventure all for a good cause and a range of programs for school groups and younger volunteers.

If you register your interest below, we’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!

See all our Conservation Careers Internship and Volunteering opportunities.

Life on base

Our base is located on Nosy Be island, which, like the rest of Madagascar, is known for its abundant and unique biodiversity that can be found only here. Nosy Be means “big island” in the Malagasy language and is located off the northeastern coast of Madagascar.

Fieldwork on the conservation project may include trekking through the Lokobe Strict Reserve looking for signs of critically endangered lemurs or the great variety of bird, reptile, amphibian and butterfly species that call this rainforest habitat home. Some forest surveys are conducted in the morning or at night, which means you could catch a glimpse of spectacular sunsets and sunrises over the Indian Ocean. There are bound to be many photo opportunities during the course of your program.

Participants specialising in community development might support English language learning for young students in the morning and Lokobe park rangers and other adults in the evening.

The base is basic but comfortable with lots of space in which to take part in training workshops, carry out research or just relax after a busy day. We’re much like a big family on base and cooking and tidying duties are shared on a rotation basis among staff and participants. Evenings include debriefs on the day’s activities and enjoying a meal together.

Increasing Employability: Pre Departure Program Training

Our programs are not only life-changing experiences but are also designed to help participants increase their employability. We have developed a curriculum to be completed prior to arrival in the country in order to ensure that more time is dedicated to program work once you commence your volunteer program.

Eight weeks prior to your start date, you will complete the following online courses in preparation for your in-country program:

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION (1 hour)

PROGRAM SPECIFIC TRAINING (1 – 5 hours)

WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COURSE (10 – 15 hours)

LEADERSHIP COURSE (10 – 15 hours)

CAREERS COURSE (10 – 15 hours)

In order to obtain a certificate for the Wildlife Conservation, Leadership and Careers courses which are endorsed by the University of Richmond and UNC Charlotte, you will need to complete quizzes & assignments and will be given 4 weeks post program to submit your work.

If you are looking to travel in less than 8 weeks from now, you will still complete the course however this will be done in country and all content will need to be downloaded before arrival.

Health & Hygiene

The work we contribute to across the globe remains important and new measures allow our participants to continue to join our programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. Changes to our existing protocols have been made by our health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities. Please inquire for more information on the protocols.

Your impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or 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.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Lokobe is the only remaining primary forest on the island of Nosy Be. It’s also a rainforest, recognised as a nationally protected area by the government of Madagascar and defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a Strict Nature Reserve.

Critically endangered species

The area is home to one species of endangered lemur, the black lemur, and two species of critically endangered lemur, the Nosy Be sportive lemur, also known as the Hawks’ Lemur, and the Nosy Be mouse lemur, also known as the Claire’s mouse lemur. We track these lemurs and carry out behavioural surveys. We also set up and monitor camera traps.

Biodiversity data

We also carry out tracking, camera trapping and surveys of other animals in the park, including insects, amphibians and reptiles, both in the day and at night. This helps us determine the bioindicators of the park. The park has not been rigorously surveyed since the 1990s and knowing the health of the park can help local conservationists, governments and international organisations make better decisions.

Preventing poaching and the illegal wildlife trade

While the panther chameleon is considered of least concern, it is a highly poached and trafficked species as part of the illegal pet trade. We monitor panther chameleon numbers in the forests to keep track of what naturally occurring numbers in the forest look like and ensure that the population remains sustainable.

Preventing deforestation and illegal logging

Habitat loss poses one of the greatest threats to all species. This is no exception in Madagascar, which has lost significant swathes of forest. We assist local park rangers and other organisations with maintaining endemic plant nurseries that will later be planted out into the forest. We also support other activities related to sustainable agroforestry and protections against deforestation and illegal logging, where possible.

The main United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) that Nosy Be contributes towards is Goal 15, Life On Land.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

Nosy Be | Wildlife Hub | Long-term Objectives:

1. Establishing the baseline biodiversity of Lokobe National Park, which hasn’t been rigorously surveyed since the early 1990s.

2. Reforestation, sustainable agroforestry, and working towards the prevention of the illegal logging and deforestation of Madagascar’s National Parks.

3. Monitoring and protection of endemic species heavily poached for the pet trade, such as the panther chameleon, one of the most poached and heavily trafficked chameleon species in the world.

Exploration

Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.

Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.

Weekend trips

Mount Passot

Mount Passot is the highest point on Nosy Be island at 329 metres above sea level. You can either hike up the mountain or take a taxi to the top, if you aren’t feeling very energetic. It’s also a great place to enjoy a 360-degree scenic view of the island and watch the sun go down over the Mozambique Channel.

Whale watching

June to September is humpback whale watching season. During this season you can book a responsible and ethical tour provider and head out to stand a chance to spot some, if you’re lucky. During certain seasons there might also be an opportunity to spot other kinds of whales, such as the incredibly rare Omura whale.

Diving

Book a recreational dive to experience the variety of Indian Ocean marine life up close. Among the vibrant corals, you can spot a variety of tropical fish. Some of the species that call this location home include stingrays and manta rays.

Beaches

Visit one of Nosy Be’s many palm-lined stretches of golden beach, such as Andilana, Ambondrona, Madirokely and Ambatoloaka, to enjoy a relaxing day swimming in the warm waters or simply soaking up the sun.

The Sacred Tree

Go see the Sacred Tree, located close to Mahatsinjo village, on the western side of Nosy Be island. This huge banyan tree was planted by the queen of the Sakalava people in 1836 and is a favoured spot of the local black lemurs who can sometimes be seen in its high branches.

Lokobe National Park

We’re based right on the edge of Lokobe National Park which holds the last remaining preserved primitive forest on the island of Nosy Be. The forest is bordered by a beach and is home to three species of lemur, including one of the smallest primates on Earth.

Further Travels

South Africa

South Africa is a mere three-and-a-half-hour flight away from Madagascar. Fly to Johannesburg and book a safari tour through the famous Kruger National Park and experience the beauty of the coast by planning a trip to Cape Town or Durban.

Seychelles

Visit the many islands of Seychelles. From the main island of Mahe, you can catch a boat to many of the other islands. Visit Curieuse, Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity, and Sister islands.

Mainland Madagascar

Visit the mainland to see a greater variety of species and experience other distinct cultures of Madagascar. See ring-tailed lemurs in Isalo National Park, hike the stone forests of Tsingy De Bemaraha National Park and walk the Avenue of Baobabs.

Neighbouring island visits

Madagascar is surrounded by many islands and islets. From our location on Nosy Be island, you can visit the neighbouring island of Nosy Sakatia, where you might be able to spot green or hawksbill turtles depending on the season and your luck. You can also visit Nosy Komba, known for its sacred lemur population, and Nosy Iranja, two islets connected by a long stretch of white-sanded beach.

Cultural immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but 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 is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in 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 diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.

Wildlife

As a result of the island’s long isolation from neighbouring continents, Madagascar is home to endemic flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. The most well-known and popular of these are lemurs. The island of Nosy Be is home to three species of lemur, including one of the smallest primates in the world. Nosy Be is also known for a famous variation of panther chameleon and one of the smallest chameleons and frogs known to exist.

Marine life

The warm waters of the Indian Ocean surrounding Madagascar are home to a variety of marine species such as clownfish and manta rays. Depending on the time of year, and your luck, you might also be able to spot green and hawksbill turtles, humpback whales, whale sharks and the incredibly rare Omura whale.

Crafts and produce

Many of Madagascar’s cultures have long standing artisanal craft traditions. Some of these include intricate embroidery and brightly coloured baskets. Madagascar is also the primary supplier of an estimated 80% of the world’s natural vanilla. The island of Nosy Be itself is known for its production of ylang-ylang, an essential oil used in many popular perfumes.

Festivals and celebrations

The most notable festivals on the island of Nosy Be are dedicated to music. The Nosy Be Jazz Festival is held in April and the Donia Music Festival is held towards the end of May and the beginning of June.

Languages

Most people in Madagascar speak Malagasy, a language with many dialects. The dialect that is most commonly spoken in the area in which we are based is Sakalava. Due to the influence of French colonialism, French is also frequently used throughout Madagascar.

BONUS! Kick-starter online training for Early Career Conservationists (worth £295)

conservation careers logoFeeling lost in your conservation job hunt? Want to work in conservation, but don’t know where to start? Get your career on track with the Kick-starter online training for Early Career Conservationists designed to help you understand the job market, to navigate your career options, and to get hired more quickly.

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.

This unique online course has been designed to increase your chances of success, and is being specially organised and run by Conservation Careers.

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 our course when you get back from your placement.

Included in the course is a year’s full-access membership of the Conservation Careers Academy, which includes access to over 8,000 jobs, 1,500 training courses, live training events and many more career-boosting options.

Duration, dates and costs

Start dates are as follows:

  • 2021: 24 Jul; 07 Aug; 21 Aug; 04 Sep; 18 Sep; 02 Oct; 16 Oct; 30 Oct; 13 Nov; 27 Nov; 11 Dec; 25 Dec
  • 2022: 08 Jan; 22 Jan; 05 Feb; 19 Feb; 05 Mar; 19 Mar; 02 Apr; 16 Apr; 30 Apr; 14 May; 28 May; 11 Jun; 25 Jun; 09 Jul; 23 Jul; 06 Aug; 20 Aug; 03 Sep; 17 Sep; 01 Oct; 15 Oct; 29 Oct; 12 Nov; 26 Nov; 10 Dec; 24 Dec

The costs are:

  • 4 weeks: £3,145
  • 6 weeks: £3,795
  • 8 weeks: £4,445
  • 10 weeks: £5,095
  • 12 weeks: £5,745
  • 18 weeks: £7,745
  • 20 weeks: £8,395
  • 24 weeks: £9,695

What’s included

  • 24-hour emergency desk
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What’s not included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • COVID-19: Health and Hygiene Fee
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Reserve your place or ask a question