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ATTENTION: This job expired Apr. 11, 2013 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

Field assistant positions available for baboon research in South Africa

Hiring Organization:
Durham University

Date Posted:

Position Description:
I am looking for 3 volunteer field assistants to help conduct a behavioural study on chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) in the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa. The study will focus on juvenile members of the troop, but data will be collected on all group members, with field assistants collecting most of their data on adult or adolescent individuals. Ideally new assistants will be available from February/March 2013, and be available until July 2013 or later.

Volunteers will be required to assist in the collection of the following data:

Visual attention/social monitoring and vigilance
General activity
Social interactions

A variety of data collection methods are used in this study (instantaneous scan sampling, continuous focal animal sampling and ad libitum) so previous knowledge or experience of primate data collection will be advantageous.

I am looking for volunteer research assistants with the following experience:

1) A background in biology/zoology/ecology/anthropology (biological or physical)/psychology, with proven field experience. This position would particularly suit those with Masters degrees who are seeking additional field experience before applying for further studies.
2) Physically fit, capable of working long hours (between 10-14) a day, in a mountainous environment and a range of conditions from very hot, to cold and rainy/misty
3) The ability to work in a relatively remote area (it can be isolating and psychologically stressful to some)
4) Capable of working as part of a varied (often multinational) team
5) Reliable and responsible for their own actions, able to adhere to the data collection protocols in place
6) Experience of working in Africa, particularly with non-human primates is desired, but not essential as full training will be provided in the field.

Please note that the field site is not the normal baboon savannah habitat commonly seen in documentaries. On an average day, you will be expected to get up before dawn to walk to the baboons sleeping site in time to arrive before they wake up. You will then follow the troop for the entire day, which may require non-stop travelling up and down mountainous terrain and/or through thick vegetation collecting behavioural data, until they arrive at their evening sleeping site. Volunteers will not be expected to be in the field by themselves, and should not have to work more than 2-3 days in a row unless in exceptional circumstances.

Unfortunately no funding is available for assistants

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Volunteers will be expected to pay for accommodation (3500ZAR, approximately £350) per month at the Lajuma Research Station (, with this amount being reduced to 2800ZAR after 3 months, and 2000ZAR after 6 months. The accommodation is equipped with hot showers, flush toilets, a gas stove, fridge, tapped water, washing machine, gas, firewood and electricity (220V). Volunteers will be able to go into the local town (Louis Trichardt/Makhado) at least once every two weeks for internet, purchasing supplies etc. Team members cook together, which not only eases the burden of cooking (and cost), but also makes for a varied diet.

Term of Appointment:
3-month minimum, with preference given to those who can commit for 6 months+

Application Deadline:
Until places are filled

Please submit a cover letter and up to date CV/resume and apply by email to

Contact Information:
Peter Tomlin
Lajuma Research Centre, none
South Africa

Telephone Number:
+27 (0) 73 579 0708


E-mail Address:

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