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Volunteer Research Assistant - monitoring a reintroduced/release troop - April 2013 start dates available
Colobus Conservation, Diani Beach, Kenya
Background Information and Position Description
Colobus Conservation, Kenya, facilitates the rescue and rehabilitation of confiscated, orphaned and injured animals and where feasible their return to the wild. It is from this base I am conducting my PhD data collection and require field assistants to assist in this process.
In September 2011, data collection began on this project. Two research assistants are required to collect comparative and baseline data on the wild Sykes and vervet troops in Diani. The study troops have already been selected and habituated and are waiting dedicated volunteers to collect behavioural and feeding ecology data over an 24 month period (Jan 2012 – December 2013) with a minimum of a six month commitment. A further 2-3 research assistants are required to collect data on the primates scheduled for release, both pre-release while still captive and once released. Once released each troop of primates will be monitored daily for 12 months by a research team (June 2012 – June 2013), collecting twice daily census information, behavioural focal follows, including feeding ecology and recording all wildlife interactions.
The release programme is based in Diani, Kenya and offers a unique opportunity to live in a beautiful beach and forested area, with many western comforts. Our accommodation has been kindly supplied by Colobus Conservation, and comprises uni sex bedrooms in a communal house, hot/cold showers, 3 meals a day, laundry and housekeeping. There is good mobile phone and internet coverage, and using Sarfricom, the local network supplier, text messages to the UK are very cheap (approx 8p). This accommodation is also used for Colobus Conservation volunteer programme, and as such there may be up to 12 people sharing the facilities at any one time. Many of the volunteers on this programme are not serious researches and as such will be performing different duties and working different hours. Any researcher accepting this position needs to be aware of these differences.
Field time is currently scheduled as 6 days a week, working 6-12 hours per day (4 days at 12 hours and 2 days of 6 hours). Field time for the team monitoring the release troop will vary through out the course of the post-release monitoring depending on the troops progress, with a maximum of 50 hours field time per week. As this data is going to be used as baseline information for a PhD thesis, researchers are not permitted to take the data away, nor use it for any form of personal analysis.
A 6 month commitment is essential
Qualifications and Experience
1. Experience of working on a scientific research project, collecting and working systematically with data, ideally an observational/behavioural project
2. Significant foreign travel or living/work experience, within a developing country and ideally the tropics
3. Interest in animal behaviour, conservation and welfare, and preferably a university level qualification in animal behaviour, primate conservation, zoology or other relevant subject
4. There are 4 positions available, each looking for a six month long commitment.
In addition, applicants must have certain QUALITIES: they must be energetic, patient, open, responsible, flexible, healthy, able to work independently but also as part of a team, be highly motivated and not easily distracted by the holiday mentality found here in Diani. Applicants must also be hardworking and able to keep going, and do so cheerfully! Our schedule is demanding and unconventional, up to 12 hrs field time per day and no guarantee of getting lunch, but monkeys permitting we try our best. The position is not ideal for someone who needs a lot of personal time, or for someone who easily feels lonely. The ideal applicant must be comfortable being unplugged and a distance from easy communication with the outside world, although there is good mobile phone and e-mail communication, but sometimes things just don't work. They must also have above average resistance to social/psychological stress with a tolerance towards local customs and beliefs and be comfortable with other conditions and risks that are simply part of tropical fieldwork, such as limited healthcare, monotonous diet, rare confrontations with noxious plants or animals. This is very intense work - if your main goal is not gaining scientific research experience, you will probably not be happy in this position.
This is a volunteer position and as such no wage or stipend is currently available, but food for 3 meals a day is provided. The volunteer is responsible for their return flight to Mombasa, visa, which will need extending after 3 months for an additional 3 months, comprehensive travel and medical insurance, accommodation as mentioned above (for 70 Euros per week – the accommodation is partially subsidized, normal rate is 800 Euro per month based on a six month stay), all field clothing, including adequate walking boots and airport transfers
provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Food provided and partially subisdised accommodation. Volunteer contributes 70 Euro per week
Term of Appointment:
6 months starting ASAP
Rolling and until each period filled
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