Island Conservation Supporter

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Coordinator | Project
Coordinator | Project
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Learn to manage a protected area, developing hands-on activities such as maintenance, clean-ups and more
Work with endemic and endangered species such as lizards and seabirds
Monitor seabird colonies and learn about the different threats they face
Conduct flora census to assess the status of different endemic plants
Explore the island of Sal by doing surfing, kitesurfing, or even diving during your free time!
With this programme, you will work in natural reserves in Sal Island, learning how to manage these areas and detect different threats they face, and help fight them. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
The islands of Cabo Verde, on the west coast of Africa, are home to rich biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. Their beaches welcome the largest population of the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) in the world, and their cliffs and islets are breeding ground for up to 9 species of seabirds, 5 of them endemic. When it comes to its flora, Cabo Verde has many endemic species of trees and shrubs.

With five Nature Reserves and ten other Protected Areas, Sal Island is no different: it has the largest colony of the red-billed tropicbird (Phaethon aethereus) of the whole west coast of Africa, four other breeding species of seabirds, and a resident population of ospreys that nest during winter; we can find 20 endemic different plant species, some of them critically endangered; many migratory birds use Sal as a wintering area or as a stopover on their migration; and two different species of terrestrial reptiles that are exclusive of Sal Island. All of these in a variety of ecosystems and beautiful landscapes: white sand beaches and sand dune systems, seasonal wetlands, salt mines, an offshore islet, and steep coastal cliffs.
The iconic red-billed tropicbird nest in hard-to-reach areas, such as steep mountains and cliffs. The nesting season is throughout the whole year, with the high reproductive season from December until February. Although decreasing in the last years, poaching is still a big threat for
this species in Sal. Introduced species such as stray cats and dogs also impose an increasing problem, once these attack their nests. 
The osprey or fishing eagle (Pandion haliaetus) is a cosmopolitan species with a resident population in Cabo Verde. Many threats, such as poaching of the eggs and chicks by humans, reduced considerably the population in most islands of the country. In the last decade, thanks to many conservation projects and the increase of environmental awareness in the local community, the population started increasing and it is now stable. The breeding season for this species in Sal goes from December to May.

Unfortunately, over the last decade, unregulated activities within the protected areas have put the island’s ecosystems at risk. The growing of uncontrolled coastal development poses several threats, with activities such as illegal sand removal, destruction of the dunes due to touristic excursions, poaching of protected species, and pollution.

Project Biodiversity has been working since 2015 to increase the protection of these key biodiversity areas (KBAs), implementing a monitoring programme for the seabird, plants, and reptile’s species, organizing beach clean-ups and, more recently, developing a participative programme of the Natural Reserve of Costa da Fragata alongside the authorities and local stakeholders.

Up to date we have recorded more than 500 nests, ringed more than 1.200 birds, and monitored 6 different populations of seabirds on the island. We have also collected tons of trash from beaches, dunes, and underwater clean-ups. Alongside the local authorities, we have delimited several kilometres of paths within the Natural Reserve of Costa da Fragata for the safe use of touristic excursions. We have also conducted 12 flora and fauna censuses, where we have recorded over 80 species of plants, birds, and reptiles.

During their stay, volunteers will conduct different activities in Protected Area, and work with a variety of plant and bird species, many of them endemic to Cabo Verde or even the island of Sal. Under the supervision of a coordinator or field technician, volunteers will take part in diverse tasks, which are vital to the recovery of the ecosystem:
  • Monthly census of both fauna and flora;
  • Replanting of endemic species;
  • Delimitation and signalization of paths and sensitives areas within natural reserves;
  • Signs Maintenance within the natural reserves;
  • Beach and dunes clean-ups;
  • Monitoring and following the colonies of seabirds and osprey;
  • Ringing of seabirds and osprey chicks;
  • Deployment of GPS, geolocators, and camera traps on different bird and seabird
  • colonies;
  • Help in the collection of samples (blood, fat, diet) from different bird species;
  • Inform local and international visitors about biodiversity and how they can help to protect it.
This is a unique experience where you will learn about ecosystem recovery techniques and work side by side with experienced conservationists while enjoying an amazing landscape. You will also work with threatened species that can only be seen in very few places and will have the opportunity to make a real difference to their survival in Sal Island.

Typical day

The typical day will vary depending on the season of participation (as different bird species are found in different seasons) and on the length of the stay.
  • 6:30 AM - 1 PM: bird colonies monitoring; or
  • 7 AM - 2 PM: flora census; or
  • 7 AM - 2 PM: fauna census; or
  • 9 AM - 3 PM: data entry.

Free-time activities

In your free time, you can enjoy the day by the beach or explore the town of Santa Maria.

You can also go on a day trip to explore the island or even go diving or surfing! 
We have partners all over the island who offer discounts for our volunteers.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/
Snorkling
Climbing
Hiking
Riding

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by Project Biodiversity
Volunteer contributions cover accommodation, utilities such as water and electricity. Meals are not provided. Volunteer contributions also provide critical funds needed to support the basic but essential needs of the project, allowing us to conduct more work in different protected areas, and thus, protecting, even more, the biodiversity of Sal Island.
Accommodation
You will be provided with a shared room in an apartment with shared bathrooms and living areas. You are responsible for your own meals. You are responsible for keeping the apartment clean and tidy and will be charged for any damaged or missing items, the apartment will be checked daily and a fee will be requested if it is not in order. You may be charged for excessive use of water or electricity and you are responsible for any damaged or lost project equipment. You will be asked to pay a €100 security deposit upon your arrival which will be returned to you before you leave if not used.
Bedroom (Double)
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Amilcar Cabral International Airport (SID) in Sal. We assist you to find cheap flights to Cape Verde.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Cape Verde provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Cape Verde you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Cape Verde.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

  • The programme runs from January 15th until December 15th;
  • Volunteers can apply throughout the year;
  • The time of the flight is irrelevant;
  • Volunteers will be picked up at the airport by someone on our team;
  • The departure date is irrelevant.
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
1 - 48 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$353
2 weeks
$444
3 weeks
$523
4 weeks
$588
48 weeks (max. stay)
$1,610
Average fees
$193 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Project Biodiversity will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Project Biodiversity during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Project Biodiversity cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Project Biodiversity.

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Island Conservation Supporter

With this programme, you will work in natural reserves in Sal Island, learning how to manage these areas and detect different threats they face, and help fight them.

$174/week

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