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

Hiring Organization:
Hunter College CUNY

Date Posted:
2018-03-14

Position Description:
Effective IMMEDIATELY.

We are seeking volunteer field assistants for a long-term study of black-and-white ruffed lemur social dynamics (Varecia variegata) in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar (see http://www.hunterpmel.org/fieldwork for details) to begin ASAP for a period of 6 months, preferably longer.

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 3 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.

New volunteers will be trained in current project protocol by current field assistants and/or experienced CVB technicians. Please note that I 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 prior to graduate study, 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 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.
Research will be based out of and logistics coordinated by the newly constructed state-of-the-art Centre ValBio Research Station, which has electricity, hot water, high speed internet, beds/bedrooms and all modern conveniences.

Salary/funding:
Reimbursement for some costs contingent upon successful completion of 6-month commitment (see below).

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)
- CVB Station fees (~7 days/month)(US$35/day)
- MICET facilitation fee (US$350)*
- Park entrance/research fees ($25/month)*
- Camping fees (food + camp site fees, 21 days/month) (US$4/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).

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Assistants will be reimbursed for research-related expenses (*) including MICET fees, park entrance tickets, and costs associated with living and working in the field upon successful completion of 6-month commitment (minimum). The project cannot reimburse for transportation (domestic or international), station fees, or costs that are not directly associated with the study.

Term of Appointment:
6 months beginning ASAP (with the option to extend)

Application Deadline:
Rolling

Contact Information:
Andrea Baden
695 Park Avenue
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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Questions about a specific job listing should be directed to the contact person listed for that job. Questions and comments about using the Primate-Jobs web site can be directed to Joe Kemnitz at kemnitz@primate.wisc.edu.