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Positions Available

Research Assistantship in PRIMATE BEHAVIOR

Hiring Organization:

Date Posted:

Position Description:
This training program targets those with a strong interest in primatology or wildlife biology.
Program Description: The habituation of primates to human presence takes a great deal of patience and time. This training program has two projects – one on tamarins (three species) and the other on saki monkeys. We are looking for highly motivated and driven field assistants to work on both projects. This is a great opportunity for students interested in graduate programs or careers in biology, conservation, ecology or anthropology. This kind of fieldwork is physically demanding and requires long days of hiking and data collection, but it is incredibly rewarding. To experience the Amazon rainforest so intimately will forever change you!
Applicants must indicate whether they want to work on the Female Reproductive Suppression (FRS) or saki (S) monkey projects.
At the end of this program, research assistants will be able to:
• Track primates by movement and vocalizations, as well as radio telemetry (both programs)
• Work off trail systems, and conduct full-day follows (both programs)
• Conduct behavioral observations on known-individuals (scan and focal animal sampling) (both programs)
• Input data into organized databases for further analyses (both programs)
• Record data on feeding ecology (both programs)
• Identify and characterize scent-marking behavior (FRS)
• Correctly sex individual primates (both programs)
• Follow and keep track of the smallest primates in the Neotropics, which is no mean feat (FRS)
• Collect samples and complete field processing for endocrinology, parasitology, and genetics (FRS)
• Record primate vocalizations (S)
• Conduct predator detection experiments on sakis using predator decoys and audio of alarm calls (S)
• Conduct phenological transects and collect other habitat data (S)

We are currently recruiting participants with the following requirements. If you are uncertain if you are eligible, contact us at to confirm:

• Participants must be at least 18 years of age by the time the training program begins.
• Participants must demonstrate a grounding or strong interest in zoology, biology, or anthropology.
• Previous field experience is not required, but previous research experience (either outdoors or in the laboratory) will be a plus.
• Participants must be able to justify why this program is important to them and what they hope to gain from it.
• Participants must provide a letter of recommendation from a source that can substantiate the participant’s experience and skills.
• Participants must be unafraid of insects, reptiles and the jungle in general.
• Participants must be in good physical condition, with the capability to walk 4 miles a day while carrying field equipment.
• Participants will not be discriminated against for medical conditions they might have if we determine that being on this project will not pose an immediate risk to their health.
• Participants must demonstrate willingness to adjust their schedule to primate daily activity patterns. This can require waking up early, sometimes by 5 am, and going to bed early.
• Due to the nature of the work and weather constraints, participants MUST be willing to be flexible about their days off. Assistants will typically have one day off per week; however we cannot guarantee a set schedule each week.
• Participants must sign waivers of liability for this project and for the field station before their participation in the project is finalized.
• Participants must be willing to maintain long hours in the field, but also return to complete data entry in the evenings.
• Assistants will have the opportunity during days off to explore various attractions at the field site, such as searching for the resident anaconda at Pozo Don Pedro or looking for endangered giant river otters at Cocha Lobo.

COST: $2250 for 6 weeks. Longer stays are welcome and are prorated at $375 per week.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
The program fee for all programs cover the following:
-Transportation to and from the field station once per participant
-Lodging and meals at the field station
-Training and activities related to the program provided by experienced instructors
-Access to the internet while at the field station, although it is slow and dependent on the weather

The course fee does not cover the following:
-Travel from your home to Puerto Maldonado in Perú
-Medical insurance, which is a requirement for the program
-Food and stay in Puerto Maldonado (available for cheap)
-Costs related to exigent circumstances under which a participant requires an early departure from the field station
-Medical costs of any kind
-Binoculars – each participant must bring their own pair of binoculars
-Field boots, headlamp/flashlight and other personal effects required for the program

Term of Appointment:
Saki project: June 10 – August 31, 2015 (Minimum commitment 6 weeks) Tamarin project: June 10 – August 31, 2014 (Minimum commitment 6 weeks). Start date needs to fall within the time frame

Application Deadline:
Start dates in June, July and August: Apply by May 10, 2014; All other start dates, applications processed continually

WHERE: The Los Amigos Biological Field Station in Southeastern Peru

SPECIAL CONDITIONS: For the Saki project, reimbursement of airfare or other travel costs may be covered by the project after a minimum 4-month commitment has been completed. We will accept applications continually until March 15th 2014 for assistants starting in Summer 2014 (the months of May, June and July) and on a rolling basis for assistants starting thereafter.

Contact Information:
Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa


E-mail Address:

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