Several researchers have temporary, short-term needs for volunteers – please click here.
The programs listed below need your help and have year-round organized volunteer opportunities.
Ctenosaura bakeri – Kanahau Research and Conservation Facility – Utila, Honduras
Kanahau Research and Conservation Facility is a newly established research center on the north side of the island of Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras. The facility is located just outside of town and is surrounded by tropical broad-leaf forest, just a few hundred feet from the Caribbean Sea. Kanahau offers full board accommodation, including three meals a day, for eight to twelve people. Kanahau conducts several studies focusing on Utila’s endemic and endangered iguana Ctenosaura bakeri. These include, but are not limited to, population size estimation, dietary studies, home range studies, and nesting ecology work. The facility also supports projects focusing on bats, insects, and other herpetofauna of the island and nearby islands. Students who wish to gain field experience, volunteers looking to help conservation efforts on the island, and researchers of all levels are welcome at Kanahau. Although primarily biology-based, Kanahau welcomes researchers from all areas of study.
Cyclura cychlura – Shedd Aquarium Rock Iguana Research & Conservation – The Bahamas
For nearly 20 years, Shedd Aquarium has engaged the public through a citizen science program using the Aquarium’s research vessel, Coral Reef II, as a platform to stage iguana research throughout The Bahamas. These locations are remote and accessible only by boat. Shedd Aquarium’s iguana research expedition is for anyone with a sense of adventure and a desire to make a difference for wildlife conservation. We’ve designed a field experience that is exciting, challenging and entertaining while also safe, accessible and meaningful. We provide the expertise and equipment, but our volunteers provide the teamwork that makes the project possible. Expect to get wet and dirty, work hard, learn a lot, and have fun. Our participants are men, women, older, younger, singles, couples, and friends. Many are repeat participants. And our captains and our conservation and research staff members are as passionate about the iguanas and their ecosystem as they are knowledgeable.
Cyclura lewisi – Blue Iguana Recovery Programme – Grand Cayman
The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme has always relied heavily on international volunteers, who share much credit for the amazing progress we have made rescuing the once functionally extinct Blue Iguana. Our main volunteer need continues to be for fieldwork, to continue our work restoring the wild population and securing their protected habitat. This may involve a wide range of activities, but all will be outdoors in the harsh terrain of the Salina Reserve and the Colliers Wilderness Reserve on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. This work is only suitable for physically fit, heat tolerant, physically active people who don’t mind hard work for a good cause. The toughest boots get torn to shreds by our sharp karst terrain, scratches and bruises and bites are inevitable, and we have to be watchful for the threat of heat stroke. At times you may need to overnight in our wilderness camp. Some examples of activities you might get involved with include: iguana surveying and monitoring, trail clearing, GPS mapping, fence building, nest digging, and vegetation and habitat surveys. Additional volunteers are needed to help with the chores at the breeding facility in the QEII Botanic Park. Activities may include: collecting food plants and feeding, giving water, gardening, fixing cages, conducting public tours, bead-tagging, pit-tagging, park patrols, handling iguanas, etc. We can provide rustic accommodation while in town. Participants are expected to fund their own international travel, food, and other personal consumables. If this kind of rough life really suits you, we will be happy to have you!
Iguana delicatissima – St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation – Caribbean Netherlands
St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) is the nature conservation NGO on the island of Saint Eustatius, in the Dutch Caribbean. Our mission is to preserve, protect, and increase knowledge of both aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna native to our beautiful island, nicknamed “The Golden Rock”. We have our office next to the harbor, and an intern/volunteer house on the edge of the only small town on the island. One of our flagship species for protection is the native Lesser Antillean Iguana, an Endangered iguana species that is currently in urgent need for conservation efforts on our island. The presence of non-native Common Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) on St. Eustatius has devastating effects on the local Lesser Antillean Iguana population through hybridization and displacement. It goes without saying that the strike of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 has caused damages to nature too. To maximize our efforts for the Lesser Antillean Iguana, we are currently looking for dedicated and hard-working volunteers or students that can help us with finding these non-native iguanas, collect data on the local population, and thereby protect one of the last populations of this species. You will work closely with the Parks Ranger, conducting Iguana Patrols at least 4–5 times per week (also in the evening) within the framework of a population-monitoring project, in cooperation with RAVON/University of Amsterdam. Tasks will include: catching, weighing, bead-tagging, and releasing local iguanas; catching and removing Green and/or hybrid iguanas; and contributing to a population assessment. Other tasks can include trail clearing and trail maintenance, depending on your interest. We require that you have a relevant educational background, e.g., are/were studying biology, applied biology, veterinary studies, or animal management. You must be physically fit and preferably have a driver’s license. For more information, send an email to: manager (at) statiapark.org
Protect Statia’s Local Iguana! You Tube video