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Volunteer Field Assistant for Lemur Nutrition Project in Kirindy Mitea National Park and Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar

Hiring Organization:
Hunter College of the City University of New York

Date Posted:
2019-06-20

Position Description:
We are seeking two volunteer field assistants for a PhD research project studying lemur nutrition and community ecology in four species of lemurs in Kirindy Mitea National Park and Ranomafana National Park: the Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi), the Milne-Edwards' sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), the red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons), and the red-tailed sportive lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus). The position begins in August/September 2019 for a period of 3 months, at a minimum. One assistant will work at each site.

In the field, the assistant responsibility will entail:
- Full-day behavioral observations and data recording (12-hour days)
- Plant and fecal collection (for nutritional analyses)
- Plant drying (for nutritional analyses)
- Recording GPS ranging coordinates
- Conducting phenology transects
- Leading research teams

The assistants will be trained in the current project protocols by myself and current field assistants. Please note, since the project is divided between two field sites, I will not be present for the entire duration of the position. Applicants should be willing to work as a team with the local field assistants.

Assistants are encouraged to formulate and work on independent projects as long as they fit within the existing data collection protocols. This position offers a valuable opportunity for gaining field experience prior to graduate studies. The assistants will gain firsthand knowledge of field methods necessary for conducting behavioral and ecological studies as well as nutritional studies. Please contact Santiago Cassalett (santiago.cassalett@gmail.com) for a detailed description of the project.

Qualifications/Experience:
Applications 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 in 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. Malagasy is the primary language and a willingness to learn and use Malagasy is a must. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in collecting systematic data in a scientific context.

This work will be rigorous and demanding.

At Kirindy Mitea National Park:

The field camp is remote (~57 km from closest town of Morondava) and the site does not offer electricity or hot water. The area is a dry-spiny forest with restricted water access. The climate is warm but can become cold at night. To be comfortable in these conditions, volunteers must be in good physical and mental condition. Applicants must feel comfortable being far away from family and friends, especially as the communication network (cellphone network) at the site is poor. It is necessary that applications have good social skills, especially in small groups, and be able to maintain a positive and humorous attitude towards challenging and tiring work.

IMPORTANT - BEES/WASPS are very common throughout the site. Anyone allergic should be aware that the closest doctor is at least 24h hours-3 days away. Please consider this factor when considering applying.

At Ranomafana National Park:

The field camp is remote (~2-3 hours hike from the closest town of Ranomafana) and the site does not offer electricity or hot water. The area is a sub-montane rainforest and the terrain is difficult (mountainous and steep with limited trail systems). The climate is often quite cold and rainy. To be comfortable in these conditions, volunteers must be in good physical and mental condition. Applicants must feel comfortable being far away from family and friends, especially as the communication network (cellphone network) at the site is poor. It is necessary that applications have good social skills, especially in small groups, and be able to maintain a positive and humorous attitude towards challenging and tiring work.

When not at the field camp, research will be based out of the Centre ValBio Research Station, which has electricity, hot water, high speed internet, bed/bedrooms, and all modern conveniences.

Salary/funding:
None

Assistant can be expected to pay:
- RT airfare to Madagascar (cost varies)
- Domestic travel (to/from KMNP or RNP; cost varies)
- Malagasy Visa (~$80 USD)
- Station fees ($15 USD/day for food and water at KMNP or $35 USD/day for room and board at RNP)
- Camping Fees at RNP (food, camp site fees, etc.) ($4 USD/day)
- MICET facilitation fees ($350 USD)
- Park entrance/research fees ($25/month USD)

The assistant is also responsible for purchasing and providing proof of international health insurance and immunizations that permit work (vaccinations against typhoid, hepatitis, etc. and anti-malarials are strongly recommended). The assistant is also responsible for providing their own personal field gear (e.g., sleeping bag, tent, headlamp, etc.).

Term of Appointment:
3-months beginning in August/Sept (with the option to extend)

Application Deadline:
Rolling

Comments:
Serious applicants should submit the following:
1) Curriculum Vitae including relevant coursework, previous field/outdoor experience, and how you can be contacted
2) Letter of interest (cover letter including dates you are available)
3) Reference from at least two persons (preferably professors or research supervisors with whom you?ve worked closely and professionally). They should provide information about your experiences, skills, and training.

Contact Information:
Santiago Cassalett
695 Park Ave. 8th Floor. HN833-B
New York, NY 10065
USA

E-mail Address:
santiago.cassalett@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.