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Field Assistant: Bornean Orangutan Health, Nutrition and Ecology in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Hiring Organization:

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are seeking two reliable, hard-working and motivated volunteers to assist with data collection for the Tuanan Orangutan Research Project. This research is part of Dr. Erin Vogel?s long-term study investigating the relationships between ecology, physiology, health, and behavior in Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Research will be conducted on habituated wild orangutans inhabiting peat swamp forests within the Mawas Conservation Area. Duties will include the collection and management of behavioral, GPS, and plant phenology data, collection and preliminary processing of biological samples (non-invasive feces and urine), as well as collection of orangutan food samples for nutritional analyses. Volunteers will have the opportunity to develop and conduct their own related research project within the scope of this project. Training and supervision for these activities will be provided by doctoral student Rebecca Brittain and Dr. Erin Vogel.

The ability to speak Bahasa Indonesia is preferred but not required; however, a willingness to learn and speak the language is necessary as the field station operates primarily in Bahasa Indonesia. Priority will be given to applicants with previous biological field experience, especially behavioral ecology. Experience working in a tropical climate under demanding physical conditions is strongly preferred. The ability to learn and operate GPS and other similar technologies is required. Tuanan is a peat swamp habitat, and the conditions at this site are challenging. Volunteers can expect to spend long days following animals in knee- to waist-high waters during the wet season (animals are followed from nest to nest ~10-13 hours per day; 5-6 days per week).

Applicants must:
- Be physically fit and comfortable walking several kilometers in difficult terrain
- Exhibit strong social adaptability and sensitivity to Indonesian cultures
- Be comfortable with long periods of isolation (geographic and technological, as we do not have internet at camp, and have limited cell phone signal outside of camp)
- Be able to work independently and as part of a large international research team
- Feel comfortable living with limited accommodations (no hot water, limited electricity) and being far away from family/friends
- Be willing to adapt to a foreign culture and show dedication to learning the language
- Be able to maintain an emotionally mature, friendly, energetic, positive, and very patient attitude in mentally and physically challenging situations
- Be comfortable encountering insects (including abundant mosquitos and leeches), venomous snakes, and large mammals (clouded leopards and sun bears)
- Be responsible when handling expensive project field equipment

This is a volunteer position with no salary.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Food, lodging, and project-related travel will be reimbursed by the project after a six-month commitment has been completed. International travel, insurance, and visa/permit fees are the responsibility of the volunteer.

Term of Appointment:
July 1, 2019, but start date can be flexible. A minimum of twelve months is required.

Application Deadline:
February 12, 2019 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis).

If interested, please email the following application materials to Rebecca Brittain (
1. A cover letter explaining your interest in this position
2. CV
3. The names and contact information for two academic or professional references

Contact Information:
Rebecca Brittain
Department of Anthropology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1414

Telephone Number:
+62 812-9250-4951

Contact Information:
Rebecca S. A. Brittain
131 George Street, RAB 306
New Brunswick, NJ 08091

Telephone Number:
+62 812-9250-4951


E-mail Address:

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