Volunteer opportunity in Montserrat, West Indies

As part of an international collaboration to save the mountain chicken
frog from extinction, there is an opportunity for highly motivated
volunteers to get involved and support field work on the Caribbean
island of Montserrat for this Critically Endangered species.

In Feb 2009 the deadly chytrid fungus was discovered on the island of
Montserrat, threatening populations of the already endangered mountain
chicken frog. With the fungus already devastating populations in
Dominica, the only other island in the world where these frogs are still
found, a collaboration was established between Durrell Wildlife
Conservation Trust, London Zoo, Chester Zoo, Parken Zoo and the
Government of Montserrat, called the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme
to take frogs into a bio-secure captive breeding programme. In
Montserrat the MCRP has initiated a field conservation project,
supported by the UK Government's Darwin Initiative, to study the frog
and lead reintroductions. With the breeding programme being so
successful, we are now ready to bring frogs back to Montserrat to trial a
pioneering introduction of this species to its natural habitat.

In order to achieve this, we require the support of two volunteers to
work alongside our Montserratian field team to radio track and monitor
the frogs once released. We are looking for two people who are able to
commit to four months starting around 15th January 2011.

Volunteer activities will be focused around intensively tracking and
searching for released frogs and taking samples and data in the field.
Training will be given in radio tracking, handling of amphibians and
bio-secure techniques. Volunteers will also be responsible for the
inputting of data and writing blog posts for the website.

Ideally, applicants will have a background in biological sciences,
experience of working in the tropics and previous radio tracking
experience. However, as the work will be at night and sometimes long
hours involved, flexibility, commitment and determination to work, under
sometimes uncomfortable or frustrating conditions, combined with good
physical fitness and careful attention to data recording are the most
important attributes we look for.

Volunteers will need to cover their own flights, vaccinations, personal
equipment and insurance but the project will cover in-country costs for
basic subsistence and accommodation.

This is the ideal opportunity for someone looking for practical
conservation experience working with some of the world's most threatened
species. However, the nature of this work requires the volunteer to be
focussed and self-motivated. Working hours are long and fieldwork will
take place 6 nights per week with one day off. However, as fieldwork is
at night, volunteers have the days to rest and relax. Also the
opportunity to live and work in a tropical country on real conservation
projects will be more than compensation for this for the right

If you wish to apply, please contact recruitment@durrell.org with a cover letter and CV. For more information about the volunteer post, please contact: sarah-louise.smith@durrell.org

A short interview will be arranged by phone with the project leader
based in the region. Deadline for applications: 10th January, 2010.