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Lead Researcher

Hiring Organization:
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust

Date Posted:

Position Description:
The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) was established in 2008 when their first project, The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC), opened as Malawi?s first wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and education centre. Since then LWT has expanded their programs to include an extensive national environmental education program, a strong force in investigating and combating wildlife crime, and an expansion of their wildlife research program.

LWT's Research Program has field based projects in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve (VMWR), Nyika National Park (NNP), as well as captive based studies at the LWC, focusing primarily on primates. Our recent project augments our Primate Reintroduction Project previously based in Kasungu NP and is now expanding to VMWR and NNP. We are conducting three primate projects; 1) primate and habitat assessment of VMWR; 2) samango monkey census and genetics study in NNP and 3) a primate reintroduction project in VMWR.

We are looking for someone to coordinate the VMWR Primate Census Project. We are developing a census of the yellow baboon (Papio cynocephalus) and vervet monkey (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) populations to 1) inform biodiversity of the park, and 2) to inform the primate reintroduction project. To date, there has been no wildlife research in VMWR so this project will be the first of its kind for primates here. This role will involve running and managing the day to day operations of this project and includes:

- Conducting field research including: primate transects on foot (conducting the census); monkey ID records, habitat surveys, fecal collection and diet analysis, behavioural observations (scans and focals)
- Responsible for ensuring data is accurately collected, input, and stored
- Data analysis
- Creating GIS maps of the study area including digitizing sightings and habitats

Operations and logistics
- Driving a manual 4x4 in the bush
- Responsible for maintenance of all project related equipment and vehicles (e g. GPS, telemetry kit, data sheets, clipboard, batteries, etc) by taking care with them in the field, making sure they are being properly used and handled, being up to date with any servicing requirements, making sure batteries are charged.
- Jointly responsible for camp maintenance and upkeep (including fetching water, charging equipment, cleaning, cooking meals, conducting food and kit resupply runs and volunteer pick-ups in nearby Rumphi (45mins drive) and Mzuzu (2hr drive).

Staff and people management
- Management of our local senior field assistant
- Responsible for training and management of project volunteers and students (both local and international) and volunteer/student schedules
- Undertake training as appropriate
- Conducting volunteer reviews and feedback sessions
- Work closely and cooperatively with other team members representing the project with partner organisations

Reporting and budgeting
- Fulfill all administrative requirements on time and accurately
- Produce project science reports (monthly) and logistics reports (bi-monthly), newsletters, bulletins, etc as required
- Maintain accurate budgets and reports
- Ensuring all data is collected properly and kept organized (Filling out all necessary data sheets and forms and keeping all data organized on paper, digitally, and online)
- Maintain accurate records of vehicle mileage and repairs, working hours, incident reports, etc
- Responsible for updating the Risk Assessments as and when required.

- Conduct all research activities effectively and efficiently to ensure that accepted standards of research and ethical behaviour are always met.
- Deliver other related duties as assigned by the Research Manager.
- Maintain compliance with all LWT policies and procedures.
- Maintain compliance with LWT?s Constitution and the laws of Malawi.
- Attend and contribute to project meetings if required
- Be flexible in the hours worked to fluctuating demand

There will also be opportunities to assist in other projects, e.g. doing some samango monkey census work in NNP or prepping for the primate release. You will be the primate point-person in VMWR, reporting to the Research Manager (Amanda Harwood) based in Lilongwe but who makes frequent visits to the park and the Head of Research (Dr Emma Stone) based in Lilongwe.

Vwaza Marsh is a protected area run by the DNPW in northern Malawi. It has some wildlife including impala, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, hyaenas, roan, warthogs, baboons, vervets, bushbabies, kudu, and buffalo, many of which can be seen from our research camp on the edge of Lake Kazuni.

Living is basic in a newly built research camp inside VMWR, in pitched tents with beds and shelves, with no running water or electricity on site (both are available within 3 mins walking distance), and limited phone and internet signal. The camp is shared with project partners African Bat Conservation ( The person in this position will be expected to help run and maintain the research camp, which includes fetching water, charging equipment, cleaning camp, cooking meals, supervising volunteers and visitors, looking after the research vehicle, etc, as well as making food resupplies and volunteer pick-ups in nearby Rumphi (45mins drive) and Mzuzu (2hr drive).

- BSc or higher in related field (biology, zoology, conservation, animal behaviour, etc)
- Experience working and living in remote environments, preferably in Africa
- Experience in field based research in remote environments
- Physically fit ? able to walk for hours in unfavorable conditions (e.g. heat or rain)
- Good communication skills, for both international volunteers and students and local Malawian staff and DNPW scouts and park management
- Experience in data collection, organization, and analysis
- Experience with manual 4x4 bush driving and valid driving license
- Self-motivated, hard-working, flexible, conscientious, and enthusiastic for the work
- Positive mental attitude, resilient, ability to muck in and get on with it
- Able to work both independently and in a team, as well as live with others
- Managerial experience of projects and staff
- Must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines, while maintaining a positive attitude and providing exemplary standards
- Ability to carry out assignments to completion within parameters of instructions given, prescribed routines, and standard accepted practices
- Must be willing to work on projects where there is an associated risk due to the remote nature of the work, but must never take unnecessary risks that may endanger their life or the lives of their fellow employees and partners and/or hinder project objectives
- Clean criminal record

- Experience in GIS, home range analysis and distance sampling analysis
- Long term experience of field research in Africa (>6 months)
- Post graduate degree in primatology or primate conservation
- Experience with 4x4 off road driving and vehicle maintenance
- Project management experience
- Publications in peer reviewed journals
- First aid trained

This is a voluntary staff position with no salary provided.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Accommodation is provided in Lilongwe and the field sites. Transport inside the country (work-related, e.g. travel from Lilongwe to the field site) is covered by the project. Food, personal travel, international flights, visas, vaccinations and medical aid, and insurance are not covered.

Term of Appointment:
8 months, with option to extend to 1 year; Preferred start date: mid-September/early October 2017

Application Deadline:
ASAP, until position is filled

Please send CV and Letter of Interest to

Contact Information:
Amanda Harwood
Area 9
Lilongwe, none

Telephone Number:
+265 (0)997070756


E-mail Address:

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