Passerines Conservation

Project name:

Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (4)

Project purpose:

Passerines Conservation - Cuckoo shrike hand rearer

Project activities:

  • animal interaction

  • animal rehabilitation

  • community awareness

  • data collection/analysis

  • habitat restoration/management



Indian Ocean

1 Ratings


Weekly cost (approx USD):



Direct benefits you gain:

  • cultural integration

  • data/statistical skills

  • field research skills

  • gain a qualification or credit

  • remote scenic location

  • report writing

  • undertake your own research 

Noteworthy conservation points:

  • contributes to environmental policy

  • development goals (supporting local community)

  • ethical rehabilitation centre/practices

  • publishes peer-reviewed science

  • publishes work

Wild Sun Rescue Center


Basic shared accommodation

When does the project run?


accommodation included, cooking facilities, electricity, hot shower, toilet (western), wifi

How long can I stay?


  • Have gained a BSc in a relevant sciences

  • No fear of heights

  • Climbing experience

  • Have good written and spoken English

  • Have a sound knowledge of spreadsheet applications and data management

  • Motorbike license or willingness to learn

  • Good level of physical fitness and stamina 

  • Experience working outdoors 

  • Strong observation and practical skills.

  • Strong initiative and independence; work unsupervised day to day.

  • Ability to live and work with persons from different backgrounds in remote conditions.

Details of the day-to-day life on the project:

The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation is actively involved with international partners like the Chester Zoo, UK and the Institute of Zoology, London, UK in the species recovery programmes for the Mauritius Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina typica), Mauritius Fody (Foudia rubra) and the Mauritius Olive White-eye (Zosterops chloronothos). 

The widespread forest loss and the introduction of various species that predate eggs and chicks have had a huge impact on the endemic birds of Mauritius, especially the passerines. For both the Mauritius Fody and Mauritius Olive White-eye the management of the populations has included ‘marooning’ of new sub-populations on the off shore island of Ile aux Aigrettes (IAA).

There are now well-established populations of Mauritius Fody and Mauritius Olive White-eye on IAA and plans are underway to replicate this success on other islands in Mauritius. Ongoing research, supported by the ringing of populations on IAA, has increased knowledge of the ecology and breeding behaviour of these birds which has been applied to the conservation management of other populations.

A key area of current research on the mainland is investigating the best methods for rat control and predator control in general. The long-term aim of this research is to be able to create ‘mainland islands’ which are kept at a low enough predator density that endemic passerines are able to successfully breed and fledge young. 

In 2015 the Mauritius Cuckoo-shrike population was estimated to be 250 individuals, most of which were restricted to just 36 km² of relatively intact native forest in Brise Fer, Black River Gorges National Park. Ferney Valley, in the Bambous mountain range, was identified as a suitable translocation site for this species to create a safety population. The population in Brise Fer is monitored, territories identified and nests found. Eggs are then rescued from these wild nests and hand-reared at the Gerarld Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary (GDEWS) before the fledglings are released in Ferney Valley to establish a second wild population.

The Mauritius Olive White-eye is the smallest of the Mauritian songbirds and is the least known of all the Mauritian birds. It is only found in the upland forest of the Black River Gorges National Park and is considered as Critically Endangered by IUCN due to the severe decline in population size and distribution over the past 30 years. The current population is estimated at only 100-150 pairs. The population is monitored at Combo, Black River Gorges National Park and on Ile aux Aigrettes (IAA). On IAA the population is supported with supplementary food and a number of studies are being carried out to identify the minimum management needed to support the population on the island. This information will inform further translocations.

The Mauritius Fody, a small endemic songbird, was once common in the forests of Mauritius. Over time, numbers declined due to habitat loss and nest predation, and it became restricted to a small range within the Black River Gorges. Efforts to conserve this charismatic species began in the late 1990s, and marooning on predator-free offshore islets was deemed the best strategy to establish additional sub-populations and to ensure the future survival of the species. The population is monitored on Ile aux Aigrettes (IAA and the population is supported with supplementary food. The data collected will inform further translocations.

The position
A unique opportunity to join a dynamic field team, and contribute to the conservation of birds which are considered amongst the rarest passerines in the world. The position offers the successful applicant the opportunity to learn a wide range of field skills relating to the monitoring and management of the species including bird handling (ringing and collection of morphometric measurements). A testimonial will be provided on completion of the period testifying to the training completed.

This is an exciting opportunity to work with a species and a project that is known internationally amongst conservationists and interact with conservation biologists from around the world. You will have the opportunity to learn about many other conservation projects first hand and interact with eminent conservation scientists. We regularly run talks and presentations given both by visiting scientists and our own staff where you will learn about other conservation recovery projects run by the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. The passerine programme is supported by the North of England Zoological Society (NEZS) also known as Chester Zoo and the position provide an excellent opportunity to collaborate with this world renowned conservation organisation amongst many others. You will also be offered an opportunity to work on Round Island for a week or two, a predator free island closed to the public with a unique ecosystem.

Reviews & ratings



5 Oct 2021

Great experience

Great experience. I have learned a lot about wild animals and the bush. The kids are super. Thanks to Michele and Ian but also I would like to thanks all the volunteers and local people.


Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage



21 Mar 2020

Very Good Program

My week at Daktari was excellent and the program is very intense in the sense that we all get together with the kids and animals from 7am until 9 pm. It is an excellent choice for a first volunteering program abroad considering and I would definitely like to go back someday


Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

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