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Wildlife Research and Conservation

The island of Nosy Be, Madagascar

Agency | GoEco

We need volunteers who help us to research the biodiversity on the island and detect the disturbance and resource usage by humans.

The Program
The island of Madagascar is famous for its strange collection of wildlife, its landscapes, and its unique ecosystems. It's a fact - no other place on Earth has such a unique blend of species!

This program aims to evaluate the biodiversity in this area and compare different habitat types. You will be compiling a species inventory which will involve carrying out surveys of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in the surrounding forests. Additionally, you will be mapping vegetation, levels of human disturbance and resource usage. You will learn surveying techniques and have a chance to contribute to the local community through education outreach days.

Your Contribution
Following training, your focus will be on surveys of plant and animal communities. This will include:  

  • Active searches for amphibians and reptiles. Survey the research sites both day and night, typically searching for chameleon, gecko, and snake species. Volunteers will be given morphometric data collection training as well as have the opportunity to handle all species found, and pin snakes. It is especially important to bring a high quality flashlight with batteries and cheap gardening gloves for these surveys.  
  • Pitfall and Sherman trapping. The program uses two live trapping techniques to sample terrestrial and arboreal small mammals and terrestrial frogs, snakes, and lizards. Pitfalls commonly catch frogs such as Stumpffia pygmaea, one of the smallest frogs in the world, and also the bizarre Rhombophryne testudo frog.  
  • Timed species counts for birds. Volunteers are trained in bird identification through training sessions using sound recordings and photos. Binoculars are optional but extremely useful, although the majority of birds are identified by call.  
  • Lemur behavior and surveys. In this phase you will determine different population behavior in varying forest types. The study will focus on the black lemur which you will observe them and record behaviors at six different sites. Responses to alarm calling from both individual and groups of lemurs will be compared using recordings. Additionally, the program will conduct both daily and nightly transects, listening for the territorial calls of cathemeral and nocturnal species found in the area.  
  • Casual collections. Casual observations of conservation target species, such as lemurs, have proved to be an important boost to the species list and previous volunteers have found the impromptu searches and sightings particularly rewarding.
The Location
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world with a landmass as large as Spain and Portugal combined. It is considered one of the most ecologically-rich countries because of its incredibly diverse landscape and numerous species of flora and fauna not found anywhere else on the planet. This is mainly due to the island's isolation from the African continent for millions of years.

From May to October, temperatures typically range from 25-30°C during the day and 20-25°C at night, which can feel a bit chilly once you've acclimatized. The wet season is November to April and during this time the climate is very hot and humid.

Typical day

During the initial weeks of the program you will learn basic ecological principles and methods, how to gather data, and become oriented with the camp area. This period will include both theoretical and practical work including a series of informative lectures, tests, opportunities to practice identifying species, and instruction on research techniques. Once all the volunteers have become familiar with data collection and the scientific reasoning, they will have the opportunity to design new programs.

The work schedule will usually consist of a trip into the forest in the morning and the afternoon, with Saturdays off. There will be many early mornings and late nights in order to sample a variety of species and avoid working in the heat of the day. The work load will be divided up amongst the group for variety.

During the program you will hike each day, along with other volunteers and staff, from the main campsite on the beach to remote locations in the forest to conduct your field work. You will directly contribute to important research, aiming to inform local government about how to manage the remaining forests and conserve their invaluable natural assets. 

Details on Arrival

Free-time activities

Located in the northwest corner of Ambalahonko, the program takes place in the peaceful village which is home to only 40 households. Having just recently welcomed the project team into their community, the continuing and growing relationship will see volunteers and staff enjoy occasional Saturday night parties with the local residents and observe church and ceremonial gatherings. Plus, volunteers will have the opportunity to learn the native language and how to cook traditional cuisine.

The camp is great fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim in waterfalls and play sports against the determined local teams. You can socialize, sit around the campfire, enjoy a traditional themed Saturday night party, play board games or join in a quiz night. After a long hard day of trekking and working in the field you may wish to relax with a drink, sway in the camp hammock or chat with your new friends under a tropical sky lit by millions of twinkling stars
A range of adventure and cultural activities like visits to remote villages and dive trips are also available. You can talk to the local staff teams to arrange these explorations with local providers and tour operators.
Scuba diving courses may be available (subject to availability of spaces and time constraints).


Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Good physical fitness.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at GoEco are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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We refund your fees if GoEco cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by GoEco.
Services by GoEco
  • accommodation
  • three meals a day
  • airport pickup 
  • comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
  • local in-country team and 24h emergency support
Airport Pickup at Fascene Airport

The airport pickup is included if you arrive before 12 pm on the first Monday of the month.


The field camps consist of a collection of tents and shelters. In your camp the shower may consist of a river-pool, a jug, bucket of water or washing in the sea. You will be cooking over an open fire so prepare yourself for the simple, low footprint lifestyle! When you are trekking away from the base camp, you may stay at a Satellite Camp which may consist of a mosquito net pitched in a remote clearing. Get ready to truly experience basic living, including residing without electricity, beds or toilets. You will be sleeping on a roll mat with a sleeping bag. The overall camp has everything you need and the beautiful setting makes it an incredible atmosphere.

Food & Beverages

The food will be fairly simplistic – rice and beans with some vegetables. Part of your role in the camp will be to help with the cooking. Drinking and washing water comes from a tap in the village and is filtered for safe drinking.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Fascene Airport (NOS) in Nossi-be. We assist you to find cheap flights to Madagascar.
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 Madagascar provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Madagascar you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Madagascar.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
8 weeks
9 weeks
10 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in The island of Nosy Be/Madagascar between 2 weeks and 10 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. GoEco will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Madagascar.
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 GoEco during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Africa Eastern Africa Madagascar The island of Nosy Be, N/a

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