Large Marsh Grasshopper Reintroduction - Project Support Role

Citizen Zoo

Home-based with travel throughout Norfolk and Cambridgeshire

Volunteer • Part Time

Sectors: conservation & wildlife, ecology

Closing date: Not specified, apply soon!

Our Mission

We want to create a world filled with wildlife, and do this through pioneering community engagement and rewilding our future. To us rewilding needs to capture both the rewilding of people, and rewilding nature, where we work to reconnect people to the natural world and to restore functional ecosystems through habitat restoration and species reintroductions.

The Hope of Hope Project

The “Hop of Hope” project is a captive breeding for reintroduction programme that focuses on the conservation and reintroduction of the Large Marsh Grasshopper (LMG) into suitable habitats throughout its previous geographical range in Britain. Its main goals include increasing the LMG population through captive breeding and release, enhancing genetic diversity, and establishing self-sustaining populations in East Anglia and Cambridgeshire. The project involves an innovative collaboration with volunteer ‘Citizen Keepers’ who breed and release LMG into restored sites and subsequently help in monitoring the reintroduced populations. All captive-bred individuals are the progeny of wild-caught LMG from various sites throughout the New Forest. Wild LMGs are caught annually from different sites to increase genetic diversity amongst the breeding population.

Our lead entomologist, Stuart Green, oversees the breeding programme, including preparing egg pods and breeding equipment in advance of the breeding session and conducting egg-hatching experiments to determine the suitability of certain conditions for LMG. We are now looking for someone to support him in his work as the project grows and expands in the coming years. This role would be perfect for someone with sufficient free time on their hands and a passion and commitment to nature conservation and rewilding of native species in Britain.

Role Summary:

The voluntary role of Breeding & Husbandry Assistant involves supporting our lead entomologist in the captive breeding programme and reintroduction of the Large Marsh Grasshopper.

This role will involve helping Stuart rear and breed more LMGs, prepare their eggs for winter hibernation, undertake the necessary husbandry and biosecurity protocols to ensure this programme abides by standard best practice, and then rear and breed our own cohort of grasshoppers as part of the wider project each season.

All training will be provided to the successful person joining the team. The position provides a chance to gain hands-on experience in entomology and contribute towards rewilding efforts of this incredible species.

Regular activities of the role:

  • Breed and rear Large Marsh Grasshoppers
  • Prepare their egg pods at the end of each season for future breeding needs.
  • Assist in preparing and maintaining breeding cages before the breeding season.
  • Monitor the health and development of grasshoppers during the breeding season.
  • Coordinate with Citizen Keepers to arrange to get supplies of materials to them, such as replacement light bulbs or new egg pods.
  • Support in marking and tracking adult grasshoppers during our annual field surveys at our main release sites.
  • Managing Citizen Keepers and answering questions they have about the breeding process.

We’d like to see:

  • Interest in conservation, rewilding, entomology, or related fields.
  • Availability from April to November each year, with flexibility for tasks that may arise.
  • Willingness to take part in the breeding programme and space available to house one or two breeding cages during this period.
  • Ability to work with precision and care in handling sensitive species.
  • Hold a UK driving licence and have access to a car.
  • Demonstration that you do not currently keep or collect insects/invertebrates or reptiles as pets at home or as part of a wider animal collection elsewhere (for reasons related to biosecurity).
  • Have no flea-treated pets in your house
  • Be based in or around Norfolk or Cambridgeshire but we’ll consider people based elsewhere if it won’t present too high a burden for you to get to the collection/reintroduction sites later in the project.
  • You should be willing and able to join a Facebook group to coordinate and manage Citizen Keepers.
  • Strong observational skills and attention to detail.
  • Some scientific acumen or willingness to learn.

If you are interested in getting involved, please apply using the application form on the webpage here.

Find out more & apply