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Program Details
Program Type Volunteering
2 Weeks From £ 1,050.00
Code: SCMH0468P

Lemon Shark and Turtle Conservation in the Seychelles

Help to conserve two of the Seychelles' most important marine species!

Our Impact


Location

Mahe and Curieuse

Experience the beautiful Indian Ocean paradise of the Seychelles islands. We operate two bases in the inner granitic islands, both within National Marine Parks next to stunning palm-fringed beaches and forested areas. Our Cap Ternay marine expedition base is located on the NE coast of Mahe adjacent to the spectacular Baie Ternay Marine Park. Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters are rich in wildlife, the setting for terrestrial and construction programs. The paradise of the Seychelles is the ideal location to volunteer, gain new skills on our internships or enjoy a short volunteer holiday in a well-preserved and tranquil tropical archipelago.


Program Information

Spend time on the stunning island of Curieuse while you contribute to vital conservation efforts to preserve some of the islands most important species. Work towards ensuring the long term survival of both the sicklefin lemon shark as well as the hawksbill and green turtles. Enjoy living at a remote research station on one of the world’s most beautiful islands.
Overview Project Life Project Details Free Time The Team Dates & Costs

Overview

The project is based on Curieuse Island a true tropical paradise. The entire island is a national park which is managed by our local partner, Seychelles National Parks Authority. Live beach front on the white sand beaches of Anse St Jose in small huts, inviting the natural environment into every aspect of your daily experience. Across the bay is Seychelles second largest island, Praslin, which is a quick boat ride away.

Spend your time learning about and contributing to critical conservation efforts being conducted on the island. Join an international team of passionate volunteers and qualified experts who are all dedicated to make a difference towards the survival of both the critically endangered hawksbill turtles and the sicklefin lemon sharks.

Partake in our lemon shark catch and release program. Track down shark pups in order to gather valuable data pertaining to population and growth rates on the elusive under studied species.

For sea turtles efforts will center around studying the nesting success and habits of both Hawksbill and Green turtles on the island. Collect and collate information such as tag numbers, carapace (shell) measurements and number of eggs laid, or carry out nest evacuations to measure hatching success rates.

Highlights

Living on a remote and stunningly beautiful national park on islands that most only dream of visiting (if they have even heard of them at all). Working alongside knowledgeable and dedicated national partners provides invaluable insight into the life and work of conservationists. Joining in on the work being done helps individual volunteers gain both hard and soft skills essential to productive research development. On your down time climb into a Coco de Mer Palm to gain stunning views out over the bay, explore the diversity of the island discovering the diverse birds that inhabit the area, take in the beauty of the mangroves around the island, and snorkel among the crystal clear water taking in the unique and fragile underwater ecosystems.

Testimonial

"I had such a great time on Curieuse! The staff were so friendly and welcoming and we had volunteers from all over the world. Base life is basic but it’s so worth it to share an island with more giant tortoises than people! In my short 2 week stay I managed to take part in 3 sharking surveys where the sickle fin lemon sharks are captured, scanned for any tags (tagged if none found), weighed, measured, photographed and released. You get to touch baby sharks! So awesome! But also awesome to know that many of these sharks are recaptured so data can be collected on growth over time. We also did at least one turtle survey per day as turtle activity is high at this time of year; measuring tracks, recording body pits/nests/egg chambers (if found) and if you’re lucky you’ll see a mum turtle come up and lay her eggs, measure and tag her!"
- Sam Kearns (United Kingdom)

GVI Live

These updates cover all programs in this location

GVI Seychelles

GVI CURIEUSE: Nothing quite like counting hawksbill turtle eggs in the morning! https://t.co/Xl3XFm0qb7

2 days ago

GVI Seychelles

GVI CURIEUSE: Midge - our shark tracking boat - is back in the game with a sweet new paint job and reworked motor! https://t.co/81Ohr2J4ya

4 days ago

Seychelles Video

GVI Blogs

Exploring Mahé

A lot of volunteers decide to go to La Digue or Praslin for the weekend, however Katinka, Jakob and I (Roos) had decided to rent a car and explore Mahé instead.

Project Life

This project focuses on the preservation of both the lemon sharks and turtles on the island, you will rotate between contributing to research for both species. The majority of work will be done on the beaches and in the mangroves, where you will get the chance to learn and practice various field techniques which vary between the projects.

After working full time during the days you will retire to base with other volunteers and staff on the island. You will share small huts with other volunteers in a dormitory style set up. Evenings are spent enjoying the serenity of the island, relaxing with the other volunteers, and contributing to a range of camp duties.

You should expect to work 5 days each week, Monday to Friday, with weekends free for you to explore the surrounding area, snorkel, dive or just enjoy island living.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs

Project Details

On this project, you will focus on two key conservation projects within Curieuse Island National Park focusing on lemon sharks and turtles.

Lemon Shark Project:

The mangrove system on Curieuse Island is an important nursery ground for the sicklefin lemon shark (Negaprion acutidens). GVI Seychelles is conducting a capture and release study of the shark population using P.I.T. tags and acoustic tracking. Presently, very little is known about these creatures and we hope to answer many questions such as what time of the year do they pup, what is the survival and growth rate and in which areas are they found.

Hawksbill Turtle Surveys:

Curieuse Island has some of the most important hawksbill turtle nesting beaches within Seychelles. Throughout nesting season, GVI conducts patrols of the beaches, recording data on nesting turtles and tagging females.

In conjunction with the Seychelles National Parks Authority, you may also find yourself participating in various educational campaigns and activities including mangrove replanting, endemic flora re-vegetation, beach cleans and environmental education classes.

How this project makes a difference:

Our partnership with the Seychelles National Parks Authority means that all data collected will be collated into a growing collection of vital research. All data will be passed on the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and various local NGOs. This ensures that all data will be used to inform conservations surrounding local conservation policies and will be furthermore shared with other conservation organizations, teams, and efforts worldwide.

In conjunction with our local partners we are one of the leading marine and terrestrial data and collection organizations in the Seychelles. Our volunteers are essential in helping local organizations execute research projects and data collection initiatives that they do not have the resources to complete on their own.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting disadvantaged communities or endangeredecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your downtime or further afield either before or after your programme. Below is some information on trips and travel options in the Seychelles.

Optional Side Trips

Volunteers may have the opportunity to visit the islands of Praslin and La Digue. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai (a world heritage site) thought by early explorers to be the original “Garden of Eden”, that is home of the famous Coco de Mer palm tree that produces the huge double nut famous for its provocative shape. La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, small and intimate with quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world – Anse Source d’Argent.

Public transport is cheap and frequent and many parts of Praslin can be explored easily by catching a bus.

Further Travelling Opportunities

With 115 islands in the Seychelles group stretching over 800 miles, the possibilities of exploring this tropical paradise are endless. The inner islands, situated closer to Mahe are easily accessible by fast ferry. Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity and Sister, to name a few, all have their own unique charms with hotels and guest houses within most people’s price range.

The outer islands such as Desroche, Bird, Dennis, Farquar and the Amirantes group are harder to get to and can only be reached by small plane or charter yacht. Most have small exclusive resorts which can be extremely expensive, but the marine environment and bird life at these outposts of civilization have been barely marked by the hand of man, and as such are in a pristine condition rarely found anywhere in the world today.

The Team

Amy Bradley

Science Officer
Meet Amy, our passionate wildlife lover and science officer here in the Seychelles. With a university degree in Wildlife Conservation with Zoo Biology, she brings some valuable knowledge to the project.

During her studies Amy also managed to do some summer volunteering at small wildlife sanctuaries in the UK. She has been involved with GVI since 2013 when she took part in a 6 month conservation internship in Costa Rica with GVI Jalova. Following this, in 2014/2015 she spent a year working for GVI Chiang Mai in Thailand at our Elephant Reintroduction Project.

What is her favourite part about working for GVI? "The number of amazing experiences that being part of a GVI project allows you to have, the amount of amazing animal encounters I have had and the amazing friends I have made from all over the world."

Peter Kowalski

Science Officer
Meet Peter, our Science Officer in Seychelles. Peter previously volunteered with GVI in Costa Rica and has extensive experience working with and researching green turtles in Canada, USA and Taiwan.

This well-travelled nature lover has also created a short nature documentary related to turtle conservation. He holds a Master of Science in Marine Biology and can speak a total of four languages!

"I was first attracted to GVI by the exciting research being conducted on Curieuse, as well as the chance to work for an organisation that aids and empowers local communities in the management of their marine resources."

Lee Hankinson

Science Officer
Meet Lee, known as Hankypank, our Science Officer in the Seychelles. Lee has a Bachelor of Science Zoology from James Cook University in Australia and a Masters degree in Ecology from the University of Life Sciences in Norway. He spent the last 5 years working as a Marine Biologist / Environmental Consultant in Norway. Much of his time was spent mapping newly discovered deep-sea coral reefs and sponge beds off the Norwegian coastline in order to protect them from oil and gas exploration.

He wanted to work with passionate people who are professionals in the field of conservation. "I also wanted the opportunity to travel to an amazing location somewhere on the other side of the world. GVI provided this and has such an outstanding reputation so I made it my number one choice as an organisation to work for."

Chris Mason-Parker

Country Director
Meet Chris, our Country Director for Seychelles. Chris first joined GVI back in 2009 as Field Staff on a Marine Conservation Expedition in Mexico before transferring to Seychelles a year later.

Chris says there have been numerous highlights to working for GVI, not least the opportunity to encounter some amazing creatures, including whale sharks, giant tortoises and nesting turtles. The most satisfaction though has been seeing the Seychelles programmes develop and diversify over the years. Today GVI Seychelles projects are conducting research and collecting critical data on numerous species within a variety of habitats; an achievement that would not be possible without the volunteers.

Chris’ favourite part of the job is its unpredictability from one day to the next. Whether it is meeting with project partners and government ministers, or standing knee deep in murky water attempting to catch a lemon shark, no two days are ever the same!

Mariliana Leotta

Base Manager
Mariliana had been in the GVI family for nearly two years before joining the Seychelles team, having previously held the role of Base Manager for the Costa Rica Jalova wildlife projects. But it was no surprise when she applied to come back to the Seychelles to get back into marine conservation work. Mariliana started her ocean career with a Masters of Science in Biological Science, later becoming a PADI dive instructor, underwater videographer, and dive centre manager for many years.

She has also been a professional traveller for nearly three decades, spending long periods of time in Indonesia, Egypt, Seychelles, Costa Rica, Mexico, and many other countries. Now that she’s back in the Seychelles for the third time, she can’t wait to lead a team of conservationists in one of her favourite countries.

Daniel Ponce-Taylor

Director of Programs
Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.


Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.


What’s Danny’s favourite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organisations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”

Alan Grant

Base Manager
Alan joined GVI as the Curieuse Island Terrestrial Conservation Project Science Officer in April 2014. Since completing his degree in Aquatic Bioscience at Glasgow University in Scotland he has spent several years living and working in field stations in a variety of science, management and technical roles in Scotland, the Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Islands. He has always had a passion for tropical island field projects, so following a five year spell as a Park Ranger back home the Curieuse base was an excellent step to take.

Alan loves the challenge of island life, and the more remote the better. When not out in the field he can commonly be found up a ladder, in a water tank or somewhere in the workshop! He also gets a lot of satisfaction out of getting to know the constant stream of new volunteers and sharing his fascination with them of all that Curieuse has to offer, on camp, on the terrestrial surveys, and in and on the water.

 

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What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
  • What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Visa costs