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Field Assistants for Comoé Monkey Project in Comoé National Park, Côte d'Ivoire

Hiring Organization:
Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d'Ivoire

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are looking for three volunteer field assistants for a long-term study of anthropoid monkeys including the white-thighed colobus (Colobus vellerosus) and the white-naped mangabey (Cercocebus lunulatus) at Comoé National Park (CNP), Côte d'Ivoire. (See CNP is a world heritage site that is home to a diversity of fauna and flora. At least nine species of primates (Western chimpanzee, white-thighed colobus, white-naped mangabey, Eastern lesser spot-nosed monkey, Lowe's monkey, green monkey, patas monkey, baboon, northern lesser galago) occur here. The threatened status of the two study species is Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List web pages will be, hopefully, updated by December 2018). We are obtaining population and behavioral ecology data on the monkeys, focusing on the two threatened species, with the synergistic conservation of the two threatened species as the objective. Your work will begin in December 2018. Assistants will be part of a team that is responsible for anthropoid surveys, hunting sign surveys, and fecal sample collection. They will also help set up cameras in the canopy and periodically check camera images and change batteries. In the beginning, assistants are accompanied by a researcher to learn the protocols and techniques used in the project. After the training, they will be independently working in the study sites accompanied by local assistants. Depending on the level of contributions to the project, assistants could potentially be considered as co-authors of our future publications.

The habitat types of CNP include the savanna, woodland, gallery forest, and forest island. Living conditions at study areas are simple and rugged: we sleep in tents, cook food on gas, and we bathe in a river. The area experiences poaching pressure and we cannot definitely say that attacks of rangers by poachers would not occur. Prior to departure, volunteers would need to arrange for their Ivorian visa, required vaccines, anti-malarial prophylaxis, and travel insurance that covers medical evacuation.

Volunteers need to have an above-average physical state and are mentally fit. They are able to collect data under the stressful field conditions and help input the data into a computer in the evening. Due to a lack of communication infrastructure and the remoteness of the field site, volunteers must be without any pre-existing medical conditions that require urgent medical attention. Volunteers must also be open-minded persons who can maintain professional relationships with people of diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds and cope with disruptions to work due to possible encounters with poachers and with other factors out of one's control. Volunteers must also be respectful of the chimpanzee conservation work currently ongoing at the CNP and cooperate with the Director of the Comoé Chimpanzee Conservation Project.

We seek volunteers with the following characteristics:
* Prior coursework in primate (or animal) behavior and ecology and a strong interest in primate conservation;
* Previous experience collecting data on behavioral ecology in a tropical country;
* Excellent physical and mental health;
* Basic French;
* Non-smoker;
* Not fussy with camp food;
* Ability to withstand heat and insect bites and enjoy tough field conditions;
* Ability to walk 4-10 km per day;
* With a good sense of humor;
* Being able to pay attention to details;
* Being able to get up early in the morning;
* Capable of working with an international team of researchers, students, and assistants who speak different languages and come from different cultures and countries

Optional characteristics we seek are:
* Tree-climbing ability using a professional gear;
* A desire to learn the local languages;
* Emergency medical response (EMR) and first aid training, construction and vehicle maintenance skills, and the ability to drive a manual 4x4 vehicle.

In sum, we are looking for assistants who are mature, steady, calm, flexible, responsible, independent, energetic, physically and mentally fit, smart, enthusiastic, and value teamwork.

This is a volunteer position, so no salary is available. Volunteers would need to cover their own travel expenses and pay a US$ 161 to 268 fieldwork fee to the Ivorian Wildlife Conservation Authority for a work period lasting respectively for 6 or 12 months. In addition, each person should allow about $300 per month for living expenses while in Côte d'Ivoire.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Pending availability of project funds, certain expenses while in Côte d'Ivoire may be reimbursed after successful completion of six months of fieldwork. We will provide a solar panel and a charger to charge laptops, portable phones, and AA batteries.

Term of Appointment:
We prefer a commitment of 6-12 months, but time frames are negotiable. Positions may begin as early as the first week of December 2018.

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

If you are interested in the position, please submit an application that includes a cover letter that describes why you think you are a good fit for this position, a CV, and two academic references to Comoé Monkey Project at

Contact Information:
UFR Biosciences, University Félix Houphouët Boigny
Abidjan, none 22 BP 582 Abidjan 22, Côte d'Ivoire
Cote d'Ivoire

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