VESS has an opening for an Australian volunteer

There is an opportunity to volunteer for VESS. If you are Australian and have experience in ecotourism or threatened species management then you may be interested in this assignment. Applications close on 21st March. Here is a description of the position:

Take a walk on the wild side and help conserve Vanuatu’s threatened species and ecosystems whilst improving the livelihoods of the local community!

Vanuatu lies in the East Melanesian Islands hotspot for Biodiversity and has a high number of endemic species and iconic species such as dugongs and sea turtles. There are untapped opportunities to develop ecotourism products based on this natural wealth. However there is a fine balance between tourism helping threatened species and causing them or communities harm. Your expertise will shift the balance in favour of conservation whilst improving local livelihoods.

VESS is a young organisation and our aim is to use science as a tool for conservation in Vanuatu and to encourage Ni-Vanuatu scientists. VESS is currently implementing the Dugong and Seagrass Conservation project, a global GEF-funded project involving eight developing countries. We are also working on a CEPF-funded project to increase awareness of threatened species in Vanuatu. Ecotourism potential involving these animals and plants will be explored under these projects and incorporated into workshops derived to communities.

You will identify potential ecotourism products involving wildlife that could improve livelihoods of people. You will help develop guidelines and codes of conduct for tourism operators to improve the livelihoods of these animals and plants, and the people who share their habitats. You will also investigate opportunities for “voluntourism” as a sustainable mechanism for funding conservation programs to protect Vanuatu’s threatened species.

In your role you will help the VESS Ni-Vanuatu scientists, officers in the Department of Tourism and community members better understand the benefits and pitfalls of ecotourism involving wildlife. – See more at:

Find the details of the assignment here: Wildlife_Ecotourism_Advisor

If you are interested find out how to apply via this link.

Donna the dugong meets Nasi on World Wildlife day

Today 3rd March 2017 is World Wildlife Day and VESS partnered with VAN 2017 to celebrate this day with students from classes 5 and 6 at Erakor French school. Nasi and “Apu” met up with Donna the Dugong and the namaloa to raise awareness on the Threatened Species in Vanuatu and the importance of keeping the Environment clean and safe for all of us. It was an interactive session where students listened with keen interest and answered some basic questions about endemic species and habitat loss. To end with, students sang along with Nasi and his friends about proper rubbish disposal. Afterwards, Nasi and his friends all went down to the beach for a photo shot among the mangroves.

By Leilani Nalo and Douglas Koran.

Here is the press release from the Vanuatu 2017 Nasi & friends observe World Wildlife Day in the wild

World Wildlife Day 2017

Today, 3rd March is World Wildlife Day. The UN theme for this year is “Listen to the young people”. The VESS team is heading out to Eratap to meet up with Nasi the Vanuatu2017 Minigames mascot to visit some schools and find out what the kids think about wild animals and plants. Nasi is a rainbow lorikeet, one of Vanuatu’s most iconic wild birds. He will be chatting to Donna, the VESS dugong mascot about life as a wild animal in Vanuatu. I am sure the Namalao will have some insights too. Both the Namalao and the dugong are threatened species and their future depends on whether people can help them. Namaloa are endemic which means they only live in Vanuatu so they depend on Ni-Vanuatu people look out for them. So today on World Wildlife day we would like to encourage everyone to think about the wildlife in Vanuatu and do one thing to help today.

Click on the following link to see the message from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

World wildlife day message 2017

Featured photo: Red-bellied fruit dove by Wojciech Dabrowka

The Great Backyard Bird Count

Have you got a spare 15 minutes this weekend? 

 The Great Backyard Bird Count is on February 17-20, 2017

Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data on wild birds. Now, more than 160,000 people of all ages and walks of life worldwide join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. For the first time Vanuatu is going to join in and so can you! Either do your own count or join us on ours.

All you need to do is for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, February 17-20, 2017, simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world, for as long as you wish!

You can conduct your own GBBC tally in your own garden, close to where you live at your school or place of work. Or if you want to join VESS we are meeting at Independence Park at 12 noon on Friday 17th (tomorrow) to count the birds we see there. So if you have 15 minutes spare in your lunch hour come and join the count. We will have our bird identification books there to help id the birds and Leilani, one of the VESS scientists will upload all the data from our count onto the GBBC database. 

If you want to do your own count all the information you need is on the GBBC website

Photo credit: Wojciech Dabrowka.

Talk on trees of tafea

Job Available: Do you want to help conserve threatened species?

Are you outgoing and great at engaging people? Are you passionate about the environment and protecting threatened animals and plants? Are you organised and do you have good computer skills? Then you might be the person we are looking for!

VESS has a position for a project officer to conduct awareness about species in Vanuatu threatened with extinction. The position will also involve administrative tasks at the VESS office in Port Vila. The job will be based in Port Vila with some travel to the islands to conduct awareness campaigns.


  • Minimum qualification of a year 13 high school certificate SPFSC however candidates with a Bachelor Degree in a natural science subject will have an advantage.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • A passion and enthusiasm for the environment and conservation.
  • Previous experience in project implementation desirable
  • Computer literacy including email and Microsoft suite.

Salary: 300-400 VT per hour commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Language: English, Bislama, French is an advantage.

Closing Date for applications: 5 pm Friday 2nd December

How To Apply: Please address your cover letter (max 1 page) to Dr. Christina Shaw.

In your letter please include one paragraph about a threatened species found in Vanuatu that you are passionate about. Please mention why you believe its conservation is important and what measures can be taken to conserve it.

Send you letter together with your CV (max 2 pages) by email to

There is no need to send academic record or references at this stage.

Photo from ARKive of the White-necked petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis) -

Photo from ARKive of the White-necked petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis) –


VESS is contributing to the exhibition at Foundation Bastien

The exhibition “Sik Plastik Blong Solwota” opens tonight. VESS was asked to contribute some information about the problem of plastics in our seas in Vanuatu. We have produced a few posters with the information so if you are going to the exhibition tonight or in the next few weeks then look out for the VESS posters.

VESS contributes to Exhibition on marine pollution

New employee at VESS

Our new employee

Meet Douglas, our new Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project Scientist (he is the one on the right). He graduated in Marine Biology this year from USP and is now employed full time on our project. Ajay, also a marine biology graduate is working for us a couple of days a week too.

New employee at VESS