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Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Adventure - Lauren  Bamber

Lauren went to Madagascar hoping to see some of the country’s wildlife up close and experiencing new ways of learning. Once she got to the camp, she has been on a number of wildlife walks but has enjoyed meeting the locals.

Why did you choose this particular project?

Madagascar’s wildlife is renowned for being beautiful and highly jeopardised. Frontier’s programme allowed me to see this wildlife up close and in its national habitat as well as help gather data which is essential to put conservation plans into place.

Which kind of work and activities did you do during your project?

Each day we did morning and night surveys with various other activities in between. The morning surveys consisted of bird, reptile and butterfly surveys and the night walks were for reptiles. Often I went for a swim or snorkel in the sea after the morning walks which was a great way to cool down. Other activities included sunrise walks, introduction talks, learning species and bird calls, helping with some volunteer’s BTECs and visiting the Island Nosy Tanikely or just relaxing in the hammocks.

How did the culture and people differ to home, and what were the locals like?

The culture there was very different to home (the UK) in my opinion, but the locals were so nice and I never felt secluded from them. Sometimes we were invited to local events and they were always so much fun.

What was the accommodation like?

The accommodation was as I expected. The pre-departure information is pretty accurate and I found a camp tour video that showed me exactly what the camp looked like.

What were the staff and other volunteers like?

All you need to know is that you will miss everyone on camp the second you leave.

What was your most amazing moment or your best memory?

Honestly the whole trip was amazing but I especially enjoyed the interaction with the locals.

Do you feel the work you were doing was worthwhile?

I realised very quickly after arriving that there has been much less research into the area than I anticipated. So I definitely feel like the work was worthwhile.

What sort of wildlife did you encounter?

It’s Madagascar! I saw a variety of wildlife from turtles, dimorphic egrets and Madagascar white-eyes to an array of butterflies, frogs and reptiles (the night walks are best for spotting reptiles, so go on as many as you can!)

What were you hoping to learn while on project, and have you achieved those goals?

After so long in the school system, I wanted to try a new way of learning. But I also learnt more about the Malagasy culture and travelling itself. It was an all-round enriching and valuable experience.

Any tips and advice you might like to pass on to future volunteers?

Make sure you bring lots of DEET and a really powerful head torch. You won’t be able to spot anything at night with a standard head torch. Batteries in town are not very good so bring plenty out with you. Dry bags are also handy. The most important thing to do on the trip is to do everything! There’s so much on offer and you can sleep when you get home. I would also recommend staying for at least 5 weeks or more if you can as then you have time to get your ‘forest eyes’ and enjoy as much of the culture, work and lifestyle as possible.

What do you have planned next?

I’m hoping to join the Fiji Marine conservation project in the future, but first I’m going to university to study geology!

By Lauren Bamber - Madagascar Wildlife Conservation Adventure

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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