At a glance
- Work at the forefront of rainforest conservation in Madagascar. Work beneath lush, green canopies, explore the forest trails and identify beautiful wildlife along the way.
- Discover the endemic flora and fauna, over 90% of Madagascar’s animal species and 89% of its plant species are found nowhere else in the world.
- You’ll stay in the small town of Andasibe. This is the ideal location for wildlife conservation work as it’s located close to a large wildlife reserve.
Completely flexible datesSee Dates
Anyone aged 16 or over can join
Is rainforest conservation work in Madagascar right for me?
This conservation volunteering project is ideal for you if you’re eager to use your own two hands to protect the planet, and experience living abroad in a rainforest environment.
You don’t need previous experience or qualifications to join. Our local team will guide you through your tasks and support you during your trip. They’ll teach you to identify different species and how to take specialised measurements. All you need is a passion for the environment and animals, and a willingness to work hard to protect the endangered animals in Madagascar.
If you’re looking to pursue a career in animal conservation abroad or at home, this project is a great way to build your experience. With a balance between hands-on work and research, you’ll learn a range of skills. It will add value to your CV which will help you stand out in applications or interviews.
This project is available all year round, so you can join any time of the year. The minimum duration is one week, but we recommend staying longer to have an even greater impact.
What rainforest conservation work will I do in Madagascar?
You’ll help support wildlife conservation in Africa and work in an under-resourced national park. By providing manpower, you’ll help keep the park running and protect the diverse species that live there. Here are some of the tasks you’ll do:
- Conduct plant and animal surveys to monitor different species
- Build hides to camp out deep in the rainforest
- Care for and plant trees as part of a reforestation initiative
- Remove invasive alien plant species
- Collect litter during park and community clean-ups
Your work will focus on these main areas:
Plant and animal surveys
A large portion of your time will be spent conducting plant and animal surveys. This involves identifying different species, mapping their locations, and recording details about them. We’ll use this data to write reports about species distribution in the park. This research plays an important role in informing conservation policies in the reserve.
Build hides for night surveys
There are all kinds of interesting species that are out and about at night, like bright yellow Madagascan moon moths. To monitor species at night, you’ll build hides, which are high structures from which you have a 360 degree view of the forest around you.
You’ll spend some nights camped out there, taking turns sleeping and keeping watch for nocturnal creatures scurrying around in the dark.
You’ll also help out in our tree nursery, where we plant indigenous seedlings. Once seedlings are large enough to survive on their own, you can assist with planting them in the park.
The national park where we work doesn’t have enough staff to carry out large scale reforestation initiatives. As an animal volunteer abroad, you’ll provide a much-needed pair of helping hands for this work.
Man-made development and natural disasters like floods and fires threaten rainforest vegetation. Not only do trees counteract carbon emissions, but they are a habitat for many of the endemic species in Madagascar.
Remove alien plants
As part of your project work, you’ll also help remove alien plant species from the reserve. You’ll map where you find them and remove them before their seeds spread. Local guides will take you through plant identification lessons to make sure you can distinguish between indigenous and invasive vegetation.
You’ll be involved in cleaning up the national park and nearby communities. You’ll also promote proper waste management by speaking to local people about recycling and building rubbish bins to place around the communities.
Effective waste management is an important part of wildlife conservation volunteering. Rubbish can have a devastating effect for animals and it also affects the Madagascan tourism industry. You’ll play an important role in lessening this impact.
Where in Madagascar will I work?
This environmental sustainability project is based in Andasibe, a small town in central-eastern Madagascar. The communities here are less developed than you’re used to. You’ll find plenty of rustic-looking structures connected by dirt roads. This is an ideal setting to connect with nature.
Your project work will take place in a local national park. This park is filled with lush vegetation and a variety of different animal species.
During your free time, you can relax on one of the island’s beautiful beaches or visit Tsingy de Bemaraha, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a chance to learn more about Madagascar, you can visit the Museum of the Gendarmerie.
A typical day as a volunteer protecting rainforests in Madagascar
A typical day on this Madagascan Conservation Project will start at around 7am. You’ll finish your work at about 4pm, with an hour break for lunch. Project work will run from Monday to Friday, with your weekends free.
You might start your day with an early morning bird census. You’ll hike through the reserve, identifying and recording the bird species you see.
After this, you’ll help local community members with picking up litter. You might also work together with volunteers on building and painting a rubbish bin.
In the cooler afternoons, you can work on removing alien plants. If there’s time, you can do another census, surveying creatures like lemurs or reptiles.
You’ll have your evenings free, giving you the chance to connect with other volunteers. At your guest house, you can enjoy a tasty dinner, followed by a game of cards, while you listen to the sounds of cicadas chirping in the warm night air.
What are the aims and impact of this Rainforest Conservation Project?
The aim of this rainforest ecosystem project is to protect the endemic plants and wildlife of rainforests in Madagascar.
Madagascar has one of the highest percentages of endemic species on the planet, so your wildlife conservation efforts make a big difference. The island is home to nearly 103 species of lemur, the most endangered group of vertebrates on the planet.
You’ll monitor the wildlife and vegetation through surveys. We share this data with the park’s management to inform their conservation policies. The park is under-staffed, meaning volunteer support is crucial to ensuring accurate data is collected.
The wildlife of the island is under threat from deforestation, invasive species, and poor waste management. You’ll help tackle these issues by planting indigenous trees, removing alien plants, and participating in clean-ups.
To ensure we’re always working towards a long-term vision, we’ve outlined four main goals in our Conservation Management Plan for Madagascar. These are:
- Restore natural ecosystems
- Protect local wildlife
- Monitor habitats
- Raise awareness of the importance of protecting the environment
Join this African conservation project and help protect the unique plants and animals of the Madagascan rainforest.
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Food and accommodation
You'll share accommodation with other Projects Abroad volunteers and interns during your stay in Andasibe. This is a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers and interns, share experiences, and explore your surroundings in your free time together.
The accommodation is safe, clean, and comfortable. Your programme fees include three meals a day.
Find out more about our accommodation.
Leisure activities and free time
Madagascar is synonymous with unique plants and animals. With leaping lemurs and swaying chameleons, the country has a lot of interesting sights for nature lovers.
While you’re there, be sure to visit one of the many national parks. You’ll get to see some of the wildlife that call this island nation home. The Avenue of Baobabs is also a must-see. These towering trees, with their unusual trunks, are known as Africa’s tree of life.
You can see the jagged cliffs and interesting rock formations of Tsingy de Bemaraha. Madagascar borders the third largest coral reef system on the planet, making it a great location for snorkelling and scuba diving.
We run a number of different projects here, so there will likely be other volunteers in Madagascar during your project. So you can travel independently or spend your free time with a group of like-minded, passionate volunteers.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Madagascar
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