Durrell Conservation Training

The 2021 Mauritius Island Restoration internship fits into Durrell’s 2019-2025 training strategy aiming to build ‘a global community of conservation professionals rewilding the world’ and to achieve an overall target of ‘500 conservation professionals working more effectively by 2025’.

This internship is targeting and enabling early career conservation professionals from Durrell’s rewilding sites, primarily Mauritius, the South-Western Indian Ocean and related conservation contexts, to support the ongoing island restoration work on the Mauritian offshore islets and benefit at the same time from a range of sustained training and learning experiences, allowing them to develop the full set of competences – skills, knowledge and behavioural qualities – that they need to be effective in their current and future roles.

Five interns will be selected to participate in this unique one year-programme starting from 18 January 2021 (indicative date only) and combining both “on-the-job” and more formal classroom-based training.

The internship programme is delivered by Durrell Conservation Training Ltd (DCT) a non-profit training organisation based in Mauritius in partnership with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF). It is an exciting opportunity to learn directly through exchange of skills and understanding with organisations that have a track record of conservation success in Mauritius and the South-Western Indian Ocean.


Durrell Conservation Training Ltd (DCT) is a biodiversity conservation training organisation established on Mauritius to build capacity for conservation across the South-Western Indian Ocean.  DCT is part of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which was established by naturalist Gerald Durrell in 1963, and has a proven track record of saving species from extinction, and over 40 years’ experience of delivering conservation training and has been working in Mauritius since the mid 1970s. DCT was registered in Mauritius in 2014 and has recently refocused its strategy to deliver vocational training courses and capacity building exchange programmes in threatened species recovery for the Mauritian Government and local conservation organisations across Mauritius and the region. We deliver much of our practical, field conservation training through our partnership with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) and the National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS) of the Ministry of Agro Industry and Food Security of Mauritius.


The Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF) is a non-governmental, non-profit conservation organisation working in Mauritius, Rodrigues and their offshore and outer islets to save threatened endemic flora and fauna from extinction. It was established in 1984 under the initiative of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and other conservation organisations. The conservation work in Mauritius began as a species orientated programme concentrating on a few Critically Endangered species, including the Mauritius Kestrel and the Pink Pigeon. In 1985, the organisation expanded its operations to habitat restoration, including the management of native forests and small islands. The Foundation is now perfecting whole ecosystem management and restoration of offshore islets with a focus on removing invasive species, replanting native vegetation, monitoring and reintroducing threatened bird and reptile species. 

Who is it for?

We are looking for highly self-motivated and conscientious individuals to assist with the conservation and restoration work on the offshore islands within our programme teams and to actively participate in the internship training component. This internship is specifically designed for early career conservation professionals from Mauritius, the South-Western Indian Ocean islands or related conservation contexts.


Applicants will need to:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Have gained preferably a BSc in biological sciences (or similar);
  • Have a first practical experience of field conservation and demonstrate a keen interest in field-based island conservation and restoration;
  • Have a sound knowledge and understanding of spreadsheet applications and data management;
  • Be physically fit and healthy for working in tough, remote conditions for extended periods of time;
  • Have good written and spoken English (French/Creole would be an advantage);
  • Be able to stay focused on repetitive work and ready to adapt to unforeseen circumstances with initiative and due care;
  • Have preferably a driving license for car and/or motorbike;
  • Be a good swimmer and preferably have first aid certification.

Due to the nature of working on islands, the hours worked will be irregular and at times will involve working nights, weekends and public holidays, with up to a month spent on an island at a time.

What is the internship content?

“On-the-job” training will be provided notably through the field work you will conduct within our Island Restoration team on Round Island, and Ile aux Aigrettes with potential opportunities to participate in other island work:

  • Implementing island biosecurity protocols and removing emergent threats caused by invasive species introductions;
  • Surveying and monitoring rare plant species, endemic reptile and seabird populations;
  • Supporting plant nursery work, habitat restoration and biodiversity monitoring on Round Island;
  • Assisting (when required) with reptile translocations and head-starting of young reptiles for reintroduction and use of species as ecological replacements (Aldabra giant tortoises);
  • Biodiversity data entry, analysis and management;
  • Supporting the maintenance of islet infrastructure.

A maximum of 90 hrs, spread across the year, will be spent in classroom training to cover topics such as:

  • Invasive species management and control;
  • Scientific survey design and methods for island biodiversity monitoring (distance sampling, Capture Mark Recapture, Population Viability Analysis using Vortex, statistical analyses using R, GIS and mapping, data management using Excel);
  • Preparing animal tissue samples for exportation and overseas analyses;
  • IUCN Red listing process;
  • Technical and scientific documentation and reporting;
  • First Aid and responses in case of remote field-based accidents and emergencies;
  • Communication and managing interpersonal relationships.

Venue and Field Stations

Selected interns will be embedded at the following field sites in Mauritius and the classroom-based learning will take place at the MWF Head Office in Vacoas.

Round Island (Ile Ronde)

Located 22.5 kilometres off the north-east coast of Mauritius, the islet is a closed Nature Reserve and the second largest Mauritian island at 219ha with an elevation of 280m above sea level. Round Island represents one of the longest-running island restoration projects in the region, having been designated a Nature Reserve in 1957 and supporting the last remnant of a lowland palm rich community that formerly covered the dry lowland areas of Mauritius. It is jointly administered by the National Parks and Conservation Service and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. The Round Island field station has been permanently staffed by wardens and conservation biologists since 2002. Selected as one of Durrell’s worldwide rewilding sites, the island has been the focus of a new long-term planning strategy aiming to restore the entire ecosystem and functionality.

Ile aux Aigrettes

Ile aux Aigrettes, Mauritius, sits within a Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) and is also an established Nature Reserve, hosting a unique lowland coastal forest assemblage. A wide range of conservation activities are undertaken on Ile aux Aigrettes, including terrestrial bird and reptile reintroductions, flora restoration, conservation education and eco-tourism. This Island is therefore an ideal training site, providing exposure to a range of conservation work that can then be applied within and beyond Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) elsewhere. The field station and facilities are well equipped to comfortably support 14 staff. The island also has an endemic plant nursery, a Visitor Centre, bird management aviaries and reptile head-starting facilities.

Logistics & costs

Return international flight, individual medical and repatriation insurance, in-transit expenses, visa fees (if any), and work-related local transportation will all be covered by Durrell for selected interns.

A monthly stipend of Rs11,500 per month (about €265) will also be allocated to each selected intern to support food and personal expenses.

When not working at offshore sites, interns will be accommodated at Durrell and MWF shared accommodation in Blue Bay in the South-East of Mauritius.

How to apply?

EMAIL your CV (resume) and covering letter (with reference ‘IRI’ followed by your surname and initials at the start of each file name), by email to: aurelie.henshaw@durrell.org; david.derand@durrell.org; copy: recruitment@mauritian-wildlife.org. Please outline what you hope to gain from the programme and include the full contact details of two referees.

Closing date for applications: 30 June 2020

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT +230 57184566 OR EMAIL aurelie.henshaw@durrell.org