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Wildlife Forensics and Population Genetics of Barbary Macaques in Morocco - 2 Volunteer Field Assistants and 1 Volunteer Lead Field Assistant

Hiring Organization:
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Date Posted:

Position Description:
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is looking for three Field Assistants, one of which to be the Lead Field Assistant, to work on a field project on the genetics of the endangered Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in Morocco to be used for forensic investigations of the illegal trade in poached macaques, assessment of population genetic diversity and viability, and to aid management decisions. This project is to support the Born to be Wild Programme aimed at the sustainable protection of the Barbary macaque (

The position involves non-invasive collection of genetic samples from individuals across their distribution in Morocco. The work involves travel across the Atlas Mountains to locate and sample different subpopulations and requires identification of individual macaques and groups and mapping sampling locations using GPS.

Field Site:
Work will be conducted across the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, with a permanent base in the town of Azrou in the Middle Atlas Mountains (with electricity, internet, hot water, and access to shops, banks, hospitals, post offices, etc.). Weather conditions vary dramatically depending on season and location, with hot, dry summers with temperatures reaching up to 40 degrees Celsius and cold, wet, snowy winters with temperatures as low as -10. Summer days are very long.

Work is mentally and physically demanding and therefore applicants must be fit and prepared to deal with challenging conditions. It is extremely important that assistants are able to maintain a friendly disposition and get along well with their team members when working and living together in close quarters, even when tired, hot, etc.

Candidates should have most of the following requirements:

- Field work experience with primates, preferably macaques or Barbary macaques, and experience in recognizing individual primates
- Near-fluency in English and French and/or Moroccan Arabic
- Degree in a related field with a strong interest in conservation biology (preferably MSc, though strong candidates with a BSc may be considered)
- Clean, valid driving license and ability to drive a manual vehicle
- Be mentally and physically prepared for long days with extreme weather in difficult mountainous terrain, capable of working well with a team even under stress
- Highly independent, self-motivated, adventurous, able to problem solve and manage time and data; Additionally, the Lead Field Assistant should have strong leadership skills and be skilled in project management and team management
- Experience in non-invasive collection of biological samples or genetics would be advantageous

These are unpaid volunteer positions. Accommodations and all within-country travel costs related to the work will be covered. Assistants will be responsible for their food costs (this is very inexpensive) and their own travel to the site and health insurance.

Term of Appointment:
The term is for approximately 7 months, beginning as soon as possible.

Application Deadline:
Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.

To apply, please send a cover letter discussing your suitability and interest, including whether you are interested in applying as a Field Assistant or the Lead Field Assistant, as well as your CV and the contact details of three references (two academic, one personal) to Ms. Liz AD Campbell at

Contact Information:
Liz AD Campbell

E-mail Address:

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