Known to some as the 8th continent, Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot located near Africa’s southeastern coast. Absorb this utterly unique world and develop critical conservation skills while learning about and living among some of the rarest animals on earth.
Madagascar is an island country in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa across the Mozambique Channel. The main Malagasy island is the world’s fourth largest island – stretching more than 1,600 kilometres from the northern to southern tip – and is surrounded by peripheral islands.
Madagascar has been geographically isolated for 88 million years – making it one of the world’s largest biodiversity hotspots. The plant and animal species found here are found nowhere else on Earth, and as a result they are both utterly unique and vulnerable.
Conservation efforts here are fragile, but imperative.
As a wildlife conservation volunteer in Madagascar, you will be based on our new hub on Nosy Be island.
Our wildlife conservation programs in Madagascar are focused on data collection of local reptile, bird and mammal species, including:
Our local wildlife conservation partners in Madagascar are:
Nosy Be, pronounced NOSSY-BAY, is a volcanic island, off Madagascar’s northwestern coast. We are based on the island’s southeastern coast, in Lokobe, one of Madagascar’s national parks. This park holds many species that are not found anywhere else in the world, such as the Hawks’ Sportive lemur and dwarf frogs and chameleons. Containing both marine and terrestrial areas, it is host to an amazing diversity of species across a huge range of ecosystems.
Although the volcano has not erupted in recorded history, it is not considered extinct. The island has an estimated population of around 115,000 people, with the Sakalava people making up the majority of Malagasy residents and Sakalva Malagasy being the main dialect spoken on the island.
When you’re not volunteering on wildlife conservation projects or on base, the island offers a wide variety of adventures:
Our newly completed basecamp is built from sustainably and ethically sourced local materials, and is fully solar powered. It is a truly remarkable place to live. The forest surrounding the hub is home to Hawks’ sportive lemur, which can only be found here. There are only an estimated 100-200 individuals alive in the wild. We are very proud to be contributing to the conservation of this vital species refuge.
Our wildlife conservation work in Madagascar includes data collection and analysis of indigenous reptile, bird and mammal species. We are specifically focussed on lemurs and chameleons.
Working with the Lemur Conservation Network and the University of Oxford Brookes, our lemur volunteer programs in Madagascar are focused on:
We are also running a wildlife conservation program focussed on the panther chameleon, which is an endangered species. The colour variant found on Nosy Be island (the Nosy Be panther chameleon) is threatened by illegal poaching. Similar to our lemur project, the primary aim of the project is to establish and monitor current population levels to determine species health, which will inform necessary conservation strategies.
We also work on several community development projects in various communities on Nosy Be. These projects are focused on:
Whether you’re thinking of a gap year abroad, or want to contribute to conservation work while studying, looking for a career-making summer internship, or simply keen to take a career break and give back, our wildlife conservation volunteer programs in Madagascar are right for you!
Our Madagascar wildlife conservation volunteer programs require that you be 18 years or older, but we do offer teen volunteer programs for 15 – 17 year olds in other amazing locations around the world!
Extremely safe. We take every precaution to make sure our participants can live and work safely, no matter where they are in the world. We have trained support staff on hand 24 hours a day to ensure that all participants across all our programs are well taken care of.
Read more about our health and safety protocols.
Across all our work, our actions are guided by local organisations with roots in the community. Our conservation work is monitored according to robust impact, sustainability and ethical standards.
We have a strict animal handling and ethical conservation policy.
Additionally, all GVI programs and staff are governed by our ten ethical principles and five human empowerment principles and our actions against oppression. Our badge of ethics reflects our pledge to continuously reflect on and improve our policies and practices.
You will work alongside GVI volunteers of all ages, from all over the world. This is an opportunity to meet people from a range of backgrounds. Our international team of GVI staff will be at every location to guide volunteers throughout their time on our programs.
Learn to cook Malagasy cuisine
Handcraft your own canoes
Forage for local medicinal plants
Visit the island of the lemurs
Snorkel in a marine wonderland
Gaze and wonder at the southern constellations
Watch the sunset at Banyan tree
Sleepover on a remote volcanic archipelago