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Volunteer Field Manager for Filoha Hamadryas Project in Awash National Park, Ethiopia

Hiring Organization:
Dept of Anthropology, Queens College - CUNY

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are seeking a volunteer field manager for a long-term study of hamadryas baboons at the Filoha study site in the lowlands of central Ethiopia (see:, to begin in May 2016 for a period of 13 months. The primary responsibility of the field manager is to coordinate the field team so as to maintain habituation of the study group through all-day follows (5-15 km/day), conduct a daily census of the study group, collect behavioral and reproductive data, and collect and process fecal samples for genetic and hormone analyses in our field laboratory. The field manager oversees the field assistants and local staff so as to achieve these tasks, spearheads project and field site organization and maintenance, and sends regular reports to the PI.

The Filoha field site is based at the most northerly outpost of the Awash National Park. The area is hot and dry (averaging 94 degrees F) for most of the year. Living conditions at Filoha are simple and rugged: we sleep in tents, our cook prepares food on a kerosene stove, and we bathe in the local hot springs or carry water from the springs to our shower stall. The area experiences occasional ethnic conflict, during which baboon follows are suspended. Prior to departure, volunteers would need to arrange for their Ethiopian visa, vaccines, any anti-malarial prophylaxis desired, and travel insurance that includes medical evacuation (the latter will be reimbursed by the project; see below). For more details and photos of the field site, see:

Hamadryas baboons are characterized by a unique multi-level and male-dominated social system, and Filoha is the only currently operational long-term field site where members of this species are individually identified and habituated. At Filoha, we are studying various aspects of hamadryas baboon social behavior, ecology, genetics, and physiology. See footage of hamadryas at Filoha in the primates episode of the recent BBC documentary Life:

Depending on length of stay, amount and quality of data collected, and other intellectual contributions to the project, this position could potentially lead to co-authorship on a publication.

In general, volunteers at Filoha need to be physically fit (the baboons often travel quickly over rough terrain) and able to collect data under the conditions described above. Due to the remoteness of the field site and the lack of communication infrastructure, volunteers must also be of sound physical and mental health without any pre-existing conditions that might require immediate medical attention. Volunteers must also be able and willing to maintain professional relationships with people of varied cultural backgrounds and cope with disruptions to fieldwork due to possible ethnic conflict and other factors out of one's control.

The ideal candidate for the field manager position should have the following characteristics:
* Excellent communication and organizational skills
* Excellent people management skills
* Ability to adapt to the local cultural milieu and represent the project in a professional manner
* Experience collecting observational data on behavioral biology or ecology
* Experience with laboratory research in the biological sciences
* International field experience that includes living or traveling in a developing country
* A desire to learn new languages for maximum ease of communication
* Excellent physical and mental health
* Ability to withstand ? and enjoy! ? rugged and remote field conditions
* A strong interest in animal behavior and conservation

Preference will be given to candidates who, in addition to the above, also have:
* Emergency medical training, construction and/or car maintenance skills, and the ability to a drive manual transmission vehicle.
* Prior coursework in (and knowledge of) primate behavior and ecology.

In addition to the above, the successful applicant for a position at Filoha will be flexible, adaptable, patient, emotionally mature, responsible, self-reliant, energetic, and highly motivated!

For the field manager position, the project will reimburse the following previously-approved expenses after successful completion of fieldwork for an agreed upon amount of time (usually six months): airfare, medical evacuation insurance, visa fees, and a US$1000 research fee to the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority. Local transportation and simple subsistence at the field site will be covered up front by the project. This is a volunteer position, thus it does not include a salary.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Local travel and food at the field site will be covered by the project. International travel expenses will be reimbursed after successful completion of fieldwork (see above).

Term of Appointment:
The position would begin in April or May 2017 and would entail a commitment of 14 months.

Application Deadline:
Applications will be considered as they are received.

Please submit an application letter that includes a description of your background, interests, and experience as well as any questions you may have. Please include a current CV and at least two references with contact information. Please send your correspondence via email to Larissa Swedell at

Contact Information:
Larissa Swedell
Anthropology, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11367-1597

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