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Assistants needed for Ranomafana Ruffed Lemur Project in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Hiring Organization:
Hunter College - CUNY

Date Posted:
2017-09-19

Position Description:
Effective IMMEDIATELY. We are searching for two reliable, hard-working field assistants to participate in an on-going study examining communal infant care and fission-fusion dynamics in black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata). This research is part of a larger, long-term study the Ranomafana Ruffed Lemur Project (RRLP) initiated in 2005 by PI Dr. Andrea Baden that aims to examine the behavioral ecology, demography, and reproductive physiology of black-and-white ruffed lemurs.

In the field, assistant responsibilities will entail:
- Full-day behavioral observations (12-hour days)
- Recording GPS ranging coordinates
- Fecal collection (for hormones)
- Coordinating field expeditions
- Leading research teams and coordinating research
- Data entry

Assistants will be expected to spend a minimum of 2 weeks in the field (Mangevo bushcamp) per month, with Sundays off for personal time. Weeks not spent in the field will be spent at CVB Research Station entering data, processing samples, and/or coordinating forthcoming field expeditions. Assistants will be on alternating schedules, so will only ever overlap on weekends prior to or after expeditions. I may tentatively be in Ranomafana and available to train assistants in October 2017. Otherwise, assistants will be trained by experienced CVB technicians in current project protocol. Please note that we will not be present for the majority of the field component of this study. Field assistants should therefore be willing to work as a team and demonstrate ability in leadership positions.

We encourage assistants to work on independent projects/research questions as long as they fit within the existing data collection protocol. This position is a great opportunity for someone wishing to gain field experience, as you will learn various field methods relevant to the study of animal behavior and ecology. Prior assistants have gone on to graduate school and have published first-authored manuscripts as a result of their experiences. Please contact Dr. Andrea Baden (andrea.baden@gmail.com) for a more detailed description of the project.

Qualifications/Experience:
Applicants should have a B.S. or B.A. in Biology, Ecology, Anthropology, or other related field. Preference will be given to those with prior experience with animals, camping, and/or working outdoors under difficult conditions. Applicants should have experience living or working in a foreign country, with special preference for developing countries. Knowledge of French is helpful, but not necessary; however, a willingness to learn and use Malagasy is expected. Preference will be given to applicants experienced in collecting systematic data in a scientific context, and a strong interest in primate behavior and ecology is a must.

This work will be rigorous and demanding. The bushcamp is remote (25km/6 hour hike from the nearest road), the terrain is difficult (mountainous and steep with limited trail systems) and the site does not offer electricity or hot water. Leeches and other pests are common, and the climate is often quite cold and rainy. To be comfortable in these conditions, volunteers must be in good physical and mental condition. They must feel comfortable being far away from family and friends and be emotionally mature, energetic, and patient. It is necessary that applicants have good social skills, especially in small groups, and be able to maintain a positive and humorous attitude towards challenging and tiring work. Trips to the main research station are optional; however, these trips are encouraged as the newly constructed state-of-the-art Centre ValBio Research Station offers electricity, hot water, high speed internet, beds/bedrooms and all modern conveniences.

Salary/funding:
None.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Assistants can expect to pay:
- Round-trip airfare to Madagascar (cost varies)
- Domestic travel (to/from Ranomafana; cost varies and may be shared with other researchers, depending on arrival schedule)
- Malagasy visa (ca. US$80)
- MICET facilitation fee (US$350)
- Park entrance/research fees ($35/month)
- Camping fees (food + camp site fees, 14 days/month) (US$4/day)
- CVB Station fees (max 14 days/month)(US$35/day)

Assistants are also responsible for purchasing and providing proof of international health insurance and immunizations that permit work (anti-malarials are a MUST; vaccinations against typhoid, rabies, hepatitis, etc., are all also strongly recommended), and their own personal field gear (e.g., clothes, sleeping bag, tent, etc).

Term of Appointment:
6 months (minimum) with opportunity to extend

Application Deadline:
Rolling

Contact Information:
Andrea Baden
Dept. Anthropology, 695 Park Avenue, HN758
New York, NY 10065
USA

Telephone Number:
631-252-4915

Website:
http://www.hunterpmel.org/fieldwork

E-mail Address:
andrea.baden@gmail.com

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