Conservation Volunteering

Lemur Research and Biodiversity Monitoring, Fort Dauphin

Contribute to a unique research opportunity to work with lemurs and other amazing animal species in the forests of Fort Dauphin.

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£417.00 ⁄ wk

Deposit £150.00


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Due to development projects in the Fort Dauphin area, a range of animal species are being affected due to ongoing deforestation.

The aim of this project is to find out details of existing species' populations, such as their behaviour, territories, and size. The results of this research will be used to make informed decisions about the management and development of the natural habitat, in order to preserve the precious species that call the forest home.

Project details

  • What's included?
  • Dates & duration
  • Eligibility
  • Location
  • Project life
  • Accommodation
  • Flights & Visas
  • Insurance

What's included?

  • Pre-departure information and advice
  • Airport transfers (please enquire about available set dates)
  • In-country training and support
  • 24/7 emergency contact support
  • Assistance organising extra activities and tours
  • Assistance getting a local SIM card for your phone
  • Work T-shirt(s)
  • Additional outdoor and cultural activities on Friday afternoons and some evenings
  • Comfortable accommodation
  • All meals provided

What’s NOT included?

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Excursions and optional weekend activities

Dates and duration

  • The Lemur Research and Biodiversity Monitoring programme is available throughout the year except from mid-December to mid-January.
  • Please arrive on a Saturday, for orientation and training on the following Monday (please enquire as to available dates)
  • Minimum duration is 2 weeks, with a maximum duration of 12 weeks


  • No specific qualifications are required
  • Must have a love for the environment and be comfortable in nature
  • Experience or interest in field work is beneficial
  • Good physical health and fitness is required
  • Confidence with speaking English; knowledge of French is beneficial
  • We also accept  independent researchers


Project life

You will be camping in the field during the week. Your mornings will be spent trekking in the forest and conducting research before returning to the camp site for lunch. In the afternoons, you will either be back in the field or preparing for nocturnal research later that evening.  The nocturnal research may not end until 10pm, but it will be a worthwhile experience!

Daily routine: During the week you will be camping in a village near the forest. You will wake up to a beautiful sunrise on most days, and be presented with a healthy, fruit based breakfast.

You will spend the morning trekking in the forest, conducting a variety of research. You will then find a place to have lunch and some relaxation time before resuming the research in the afternoon.

On the days when a nocturnal walk is planned, you will return to the campsite after lunch to rest for a while (and maybe go for a swim at the nearby beach) before preparing for the nocturnal research, which could end as late as 10pm, but is absolutely worth the effort!

You will not have a chance to visit any large town during the week, so you will have to save your shopping for the weekends.

Working hours vary, but you may start between 6:30-9am, and finish between 5-10pm, five days a week. You will be working in small groups and individually, depending on the needs of the project.

You will be undertaking lemur research, by:

  • Identifying diurnal and nocturnal lemur species
  • Collecting data about lemur populations, their diet and territories, etc
  • Following groups to monitor patterns of behaviour

With biodiversity monitoring, you will be:

  • Identifying and taking photos of various species of invertebrate, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles
  • Recording GPS points and mapping species
  • Assisting with ongoing research and data collection

With the tree nursery management, your role may include:

  • Preparing the land to plant endemic tree species
  • Collecting seeds from trees in the forest
  • Keeping accurate records of planting, growth, and transplanting
  • Transplanting seedlings to designated forest areas

In your free time during the weekends, you will have access to a large town where you are able to go shopping, or take time off to explore the area.

Accommodation and Food

During the weekdays you will be camping in the field. There are pit toilets, but neither electricity nor running water.

On the weekends you will be staying at volunteer accommodation in Fort Dauphin. There you will have access to electricity, running water, western toilets, and internet. There are also shops and a large market that sells a variety of products.

All meals will be provided:

  • Breakfast: Selection of breads, fruit, juice, coffee and tea
  • Lunch: Stew or soup, fruit and vegetables
  • Dinner: Healthy dinners are provided throughout the week. You can expect beans and rice, or fish when it’s available. There is also plenty of honey and fruit.

The meals are prepared according to your specific tastes as best as possible, but please be aware that this is a difficult environment to cater in and certain foods may not be available to you. Specific dietary requirements such as vegetarian meals are subject to request and availability.

Flights, Transportation & Visas

  • Flights are not included
  • Volunteers should book flights to the capital Antananarivo (airport code: TNR). The project is based at Fort Dauphin or Tolagnaro (airport code: FTU). You need to make sure that your international flight allows you enough time to catch a domestic flight to Fort Dauphin. It is normal for volunteers to stay in Antananarivo overnight to wait for their on-going flight.

Safety & Insurance

  • All of Twin Work & Volunteer's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
  • We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. We take our partnerships very seriously and work extremely closely with all our partners.
  • We provide 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partners provide support locally.
  • We have an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise.
  • If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.

Insurance options...

Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.

Book Now > Make an enquiry >

The Lemur Research and Biodiversity Monitoring programme is located in the Fort Dauphin area in south-east Madagascar. You will work with lemurs, as well as various species of invertebrates, amphibians, mammals, and reptiles in the field.

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