Two Volunteers needed for Montserrat’s Mountain Chicken Project

Volunteers are urgently needed to support the “Enabling Montserrat to save the Critically Endangered mountain chicken” project presented by Durrell, ZSL, Chester Zoo, Parken Zoo and the Department of the Environment (DOE).

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, the Mountain Chicken Recovery Programme was called in to rescue a safety net population from Montserrat, to be taken into captivity, to ensure these animals were not lost altogether.

“With the breeding programme being so successful, we were able to complete a pioneering introduction of this species in the dry season in Jan 2011. As this release was so successful we completed a second release in Jan 2012 and are now planning a third in September 2012,” explained Director of the DOE Gerard Gray.

In order to achieve this, the department needs the support of two volunteers to work alongside the local field team to radio track and monitor the third set of frogs once released.

We are looking for two people who are able to commit to approximately three months starting 10th September 2012 and ending on the 7th December 2012,” Gray added.

{FILE IMAGE} For more information on the progress of the last release, please visit the project website

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, and personal equipment 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 candidates,” the notice read.

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