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Amazon Basin Research & Conservation Volunteer & Internship Project, Peru

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Peru - America South
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Part Time / Per Day
Level Voluntary & Interns
Deadline 19/02/2016
Company Name WorkingAbroad Projects
Contact Name Vicky McNeil
Telephone 01273 479 047
Email victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com
Website Further Details / Applications
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Opportunities to work in some of the most remote, fascinating and largely unspoiled parts of the Amazon rainforest in Peru.  Research Assistant Volunteers and Interns can work with 4 different taxonomic groups  - Mammals, Birds, Herpetofauna and Insects.

We also offer Individual Project Internships for students doing University placements, or wanting to carry out research for dissertations, or scientists/students wanting to do deeper research.  You can join for 1 week up to 10 months all year round and we have places all throughout 2013 and 2014 available.

Individuals, groups and students doing research all welcome.

The Project

The aim is to assist in the project’s long-term scientific research in the Peruvian Amazon; to better measure the effects of human activities on wildlife, including endangered species; to get the collected information to the people who can make decisions and act on the solutions that help conserve rainforest, and to make a clear and positive impact on the Amazon ecosystem in this part of Peru.

Research Assistant Volunteer & Internship Programme:

We currently offer four different taxonomic groups for Research Assistant volunteers and interns to select to work with (although it may be possible to work with more than one, so please ask):

  • Mammals
  • Birds
  • Herpetofauna
  • Insects

Each project is 1, 2 or 3 weeks in length and volunteers are needed for a minimum of 1 week. For longer durations above one month, you will qualify for a Research Assistant Internship position (1 to 10 months in duration). 

Each Research Assistant volunteer and intern will learn about all of the taxonomic areas that the project researches so as to benefit from a broad spectrum of rainforest knowledge, regardless of their chosen team(s). A training period at the start will cover the theoretical and practical background of the field methods to be used, the ecology and identification tips for the species under study, and forest safety. During this initial training period and throughout the project, open presentation and discussion sessions with the Principal Investigator and other project scientists and ecologists will be held about many of the current issues facing the rainforest, its wildlife and peoples, and potential solutions. This is a great opportunity to contribute to the ongoing dialogue between conservation groups, the government, local grass-roots organisations and communities concerning the appropriate use of the Amazon rainforest. Coaching and mentoring will continue throughout and while in the field with the team coordinators. Here’s a rough guide to the teams’ daily activities:

Mammal Team activities:

• Walk approx. 7 km of trail systems and transects slowly each day, starting the first session at 5:30 am, to check for mammals and take down data of sightings
• Occasionally walk trails and transects at night to census nocturnal mammals
• Create and check mammal footprint traps on a daily basis
• Maintain existing trails and on occasions open new ones
• Set up heat- and motion-sensing camera traps and download images every few days
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Herpetofauna (Reptile and Amphibian) Team activities:

• Monitor designated research plots for herpetofauna, once during late morning and again either before or after dinner, daily to collect data of sightings
• Occasionally walk to (and through) swamp, stream and lakeside habitats to search for species that might not be found in the research plots
• Build and maintain herpetofauna pitfall traps and check them daily
• Maintain existing transects and on occasions open new ones
• Assist in the careful handling of snakes, frogs, lizards and sometimes caiman and turtles in order to identify, process and photograph them before release
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Bird Team activities:

• Help carry and set up mist nets along trail systems and transects each day, from 5:00 am, monitor the nets, and carefully process the birds caught before subsequent release
• Walk approx. 6 km of trails and transects to observe and record birds and record data of any sightings (point counts)
• Maintain existing transects and on occasions open new ones
• Assist in the careful handling of birds in order to identify, process and photograph them before release
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Insect (butterfly and dung beetle) Team activities:

• Walk approx. 2-3 hours a day on trails and transects to monitor butterflies through visual and hand-net catching methods
• Assist in creating, setting up and monitoring tropical bait traps for butterflies
• Assist in creating, setting up and monitoring dung bait traps for beetles
• Characterise and measure forest types surrounding traps and transects
• Assist in the careful handling of butterflies and beetles in order to identify, process and photograph them before release
• Enter data of the above research into the project computers

Volunteers and interns will receive time off during which the project will pre-organise inclusive (but optional) activities such as visiting local mammal or macaw clay-licks, swimming in freshwater streams, camping on the banks of oxbow lakes, climbing an observation tower or canopy walkway, spending time in the local town of Puerto Maldonado and much more.  All participants will be presented with a certificate on completion of their placement and we will write references upon request. 

Internship Programme:

We offer two types of internships:

Research Assistant Internships where positions are learning-focussed doing Research Assistantship/Apprenticeships (with one or more of the core teams: Bird, mammal, herpetofauna, insect or plant) for 1 month durations and longer (as described above).

Individual Project Internships for students doing University placements, or wanting to carry out research for dissertations, or scientists/students wanting to deepen their research and practical experiences for 1 month up to 10 months in duration.

Durations for all internships can range from 1 to 10 months.   Individual Project Interns can select from a wide variety of research topics available, including studying dung beetles as a biodiversity indicator, studying patterns of noctural mammals, or the abundance of macaws and parrots in specific locations, or you can work out your own in conjunction with the Project scientists.  Email Vicky McNeil for details on the availability of internships.  At the end of your placement, interns will receive a certificate of completion and a letter of recommendation with the option available for us to work with your university/college to fulfil any requirements you may have for obtaining credits/assignment review etc.


Additional details

For details regarding scheduling, accodomodation, food, travel et al. please visit the main project page here, or email Vicky McNeil here. Information regarding the application process can be found here.

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