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Your Extra Layer of Security
Global Nomadic

Wildlife Research Internship

Agency | Global Nomadic

This project gives you hands-on fieldwork consisting of monitoring, observation and data analysis of the wildlife.

At this project we are researching different aspects and species of the Honduran wildlife. 

Chiropterology Research

The primary goal of this study is to identify the species present on each of the Bay Islands. There have been over 100 species reported on the Honduran mainland however there have never been any studies of the bat population of these unique Caribbean islands.

Bats play a crucial role in the pollination of neo-tropical plants and are also extremely important in forest regeneration through seed dispersal. They are also important natural controllers of the insect populations, many of which are responsible for disease transmission.

Previous research has shown that 50% of all endangered species of bats are island dwelling. Island bats are the source of considerable concern for conservation as they are essential to the health of the natural world. Unfortunately few people appreciate the importance of bats and many do not distinguish between the ‘vampire bat’ and other species, often resulting in wanton destruction of shelters and unnecessary pursuit of these beneficial and harmless animals. Bat reproductive rate is low compared to mammals of similar size so populations are slow to recover from losses.

Identifying the species present is the first step in understanding these mammals' role in the island's eco-systems and evaluating any threats present to them. The conservation of these fascinating creatures requires public education, so as well as the fieldwork, this project also includes developing our Bat Educational Outreach program for the schools and local community.

Additionally the study will be focus on population size estimate of the bats roosting in the cave system, and to gain evidence of the Spectral Bat residing on the island. We'll be using mist nets and a capture-mark-recapture method for the cave bats, and a radio tag to track a Spectral Bat’.

Iguana Research

Utila spiny-tailed iguanas, (Ctenosaura bakeri) are endemic to the island of Utila. This species has been listed as critically endangered, mainly due to its limited geographic range, increased habitat changes and destruction as well as over-harvesting of adults and eggs.

This highly threatened species has been the focus of many conservation initiatives, including a captive breeding program and education program for schools. Despite all these efforts the population is still in decline. Utila has experienced extensive development associated with the tourist industry, threatening native species through habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of invasive mammals and plants. This development has had a dramatic effect on the beach and mangrove areas, as these are the most residentially desirable. Unfortunately these areas are also the nesting grounds and daily use areas for C. bakeri.

Another serious threat is the ongoing hunting for the iguana as a source of protein, a practice for many generations on Utila. Unfortunately while it is illegal to hunt the C.bakeri there is no active means of protection or enforcement.

Very little is known concerning the basic biology of this species. The primary aims of this project are to examine:

  • Sexual size dimorphism across the islands.
  • Differences in demography throughout the islands and across the study period.
  • Differences in body condition index across sites and years.
  • Habitat use.

This information is vital in understanding the status of the species and in the construction of a comprehensive conservation and management plan.

2016 sees a new radio tracking project begin with the endemic Utila spiny tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura bakeri) and volunteers will have the chance to learn radio telemetry techniques. This study goes alongside the population and body condition stud, which will continue with daily surveys of the critically endangered Utila Iguana. Iguanas will be caught measurements taken, transects will also be walked by scientists and volunteers to estimate abundance. DNA samples will be taken from the Iguanas for a hybridization study at a university in the UK. These projects are in conjunction with the IUCN iguana specialist group.

Entomology Biodiversity Research

The entomology fauna of Utila is very poorly known. Therefore there is a real need to identify areas of high insect diversity. The knowledge of insect diversity will helps us define which areas of Utila should be protected. The island is being deforested at a rapid pace to make room for the construction of homes, hotels and roads. By protecting the forests we are also able to protect other species that depend on this habitat and avoid the type of unsustainable tourism that is threatening the fauna and flora of Utila.

This study aims to understand the theory of island biogeography, dealing with the distribution and abundance of species on an island. The value of insects as experimental animals provides an excellent window to understand how different populations, species, ecosystems and landscapes respond to inevitable changes.

Pollination is a widely understudied topic in Central America. Habitats are being continually fragmented at a rapid rate. Island populations are incredibly different from main land populations and the aim of the current study will be to determine what species of hymenoptera are here on the beautiful island of Utila, with Orchid Bees being the main focus. Volunteers will get a chance to run around with insect nets, catching up all the hymenoptera they can find! They will also learn different entomological preservation techniques and some different types of traps for various insects.

Field assistant activities will include helping set up and empty insect pitfall, daily checking of the traps, insect catching, insect preservation and identification.

Herpetology Research

13 species of snake have been reported on Utila, however apart from these reports, no other research work has been done to determine whether or not other species are present on the island and whether all previously reported species are still present. There is also a gap in our knowledge as to where each species can be found on the island. It is important to investigate this to assess the possible impacts of the extensive development currently taking place on Utila. If some species that occur are particularly rare, it could take only minor development of a small area of the island to eradicate the population. Establishing more concretely which species occur on the island and where each of these populations can be found will be the primary aim of the study.

It is important these populations of species are identified and distributions mapped to prevent any catastrophic loss of snake diversity on the island. Plotting the distribution and abundance of various species across the island is a primary research focus with the resulting maps being invaluable for considerate future development. This will be done through methodical and systemized searches within predetermined sections of different habitats helping us to determine species habitat preferences

GIS Mapping

Utila has very little in the way of true map resources. Therefore a new project has been launched to map the island using GIS software and tools. The aim of this project is to produce a map with several different layers. The main layer will be a general map of the physical island, detailing paths, tracks and sites of general interest. These maps will be made available online and accessible to the general public.

The other layers will hold more detailed information such as species' locations and locations of various study sites. This is environmentally sensitive information and will only be available to people with a legitimate reason after a formal request and will be used to further aid current and future research projects on the flora and fauna of Utila. This project is currently on hold, but may restart again in the near future.

Environmental Education

Tourism is exploding on Utila, bringing much-needed income to maintain and improve the island’s infrastructure and social institutions. Unfortunately, it also creates a high potential for tourism development to take on socially and environmentally unsustainable practices.

This project aims to enhance existing science education on Utila, engage students in environmental conservation and hopefully inspire the future generation of working Utilans to protect their local ecosystems while developing tourism and other industries responsibly. Increasing the awareness of the youngest generations about conservation issued on the island could contribute to an improvement of general behaviours and attitudes of all islanders towards their environment.

We will also provide opportunities for students to work with Kanahau scientists and develop research skills that may help them secure employment in the future

The project will be delivered in collaboration with other NGOs present in the island (BICA, WSORC, Iguana station) to provide a fully comprehensive environmental program.

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Typical day

During your time at our project, you will be undertaking field research projects on Utila. You are able to get involved in all on-going projects listed in the following tab, however it is also possible to concentrate on one specific project. You will learn all of the required skills to participate in the research once on the project, maximising your time in the field.

The whole expedition is flexible, and you can decide exactly what interests you most. There are also opportunities for individual research supervised by our in-house team. We will help you design and implement your own personal research for your thesis.

Details on Arrival

Project is open from February to September - exact start dates are flexible.

Program 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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
A good level of general fitness and stamina.
Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment.
Must be of sound physical health and able to work long hours in a hot climate.
Good spoken English or Spanish language skills.
Time Commitment
Regular working hours are hardly predicable. It mainly depends on the work force. Get in touch with Global Nomadic straight ahead to get more infos about current to dos and objectives.

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

Contact Project Manager

Free-time activities

The island of Utila is a modern diving mecca and if you would like to do some diving or a PADI dive course we can arrange this for you too (we get discounted rates) and schedule it into your stay with us. We can also arrange trips to the mainland to go river rafting in La Ceiba, visit national parks and expeditions into the Moskitia Jungle. If you are interested in either the diving or visiting the mainland please indicate this when booking with us.

There is also plenty of opportunity to schedule in some time off from research, so that you can enjoy the other activities that Utila has to offer, for example scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking.

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Hiking
Contact & Reservation
$287
/week
$287
/week
3 - 24
weeks
3 - 24
weeks
18+
age
18+
age
Airport Pickup
Housing
Food
Internet
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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Services by Global Nomadic

Project Fee includes 

  • all food
  • accommodation
  • airport/ferry pickup
  • in-country support
  • project activities
  • research support

Airport Pickup at Utila
Accommodation

You will be living in shared accommodations at the research centre, 2-3 people per room with a shared bathroom.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

There is a communal kitchen and three basic meals a day are included in the project fee.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
3 weeks (min. stay)
$900.00
4 weeks
$1,170.00
5 weeks
$1,440.00
6 weeks
$1,710.00
8 weeks
$2,250.00
10 weeks
$2,790.00
24 weeks (max. stay)
$6,570.00
Average fees
$287.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Utila/Honduras between 3 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Global Nomadic 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 Global Nomadic during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Honduras

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Honduras. Please check the visa regulations for Honduras.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Honduras.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Utila (UII) in Utila. We assist you to find cheap flights to Honduras.
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 Honduras provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Honduras you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Honduras.
n/a, Utila, Honduras zoom="6"

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