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Marine Turtle Field Assistant in Sal, Cape Verde

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Nature Conservation (Terrestrial Ecology)
Town/City Santa Maria
Salary Additional Information Accommodation provided and meal provided whilst in the field camp
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Full Time
Level First Level
Deadline 29/02/2020
Company Name Project Biodiversity
Contact Name Kirsten Fairweather
Telephone +238 3543652
Email volunteerinsal@gmail.com
Website Further Details / Applications
Project Biodiversity logo
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Project Biodiversity is looking for candidates to join our team as Field Assistants, from June until October, for the 2020 Loggerhead nesting season in Sal Island, Cape Verde. We need passionate, driven individuals who wish to help us protect this incredible species in its native habitat.

In 2020, we aim to further empower the community to act to protect turtles, through direct beach protection, as well as grassroots education and engagement. As crucial part of our team, you will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the conservation of this endangered species, and ultimately help build a more sustainable Cape Verde.

Loggerhead nesting season runs from June to October, with hatchlings emerging from mid-August to late December. Throughout the season the team of Project Biodiversity is made up of local and international assistants and volunteers.  Our work involves patrolling beaches (night and morning) to monitor nesting and deter hunting, collect data, conduct research, manage hatcheries, run education and outreach activities and organise beach cleans. Although there is a wide scope of activities within the project, protection of nesting turtles continues to be the main focus and whilst this can be stressful and tiring, it is ultimately highly rewarding.

This opportunity will not only provide you with good experience of turtle conservation techniques, but also allow you to make a real difference to the survival of marine turtles. Your participation will allow for the opportunity to be directly responsible for saving numerous nesting turtles and hatchlings, and to experience a high level of satisfaction from being able to rapidly affect the situation in Cabo Verde.

What does it take to be a Field Assistant?

The position of Field Assistant is open to candidates with a commitment to conservation and a particular interest in working with marine turtles. You must have previous fieldwork experience but not necessarily on a turtle project. You will gain valuable experience in the field conducting:

  • Track identification
  • Collection of biometric data
  • Tagging and identifying previously tagged females
  • Nest relocations and excavations

In this capacity, Field Assistant duties will include night patrols to deter hunters and collect data on track identification, tagging and measuring the turtles.  There will also be morning patrols to relocate nests to the hatchery or other locations on the beach.  Following the end of the nesting season, Assistants will be responsible for monitoring and excavating hatched nests and releasing hatchlings. Assistants may also be involved in fundraising and outreach during public excavations at our hatcheries. Additional responsibilities include maintenance of the camp and its facilities, assisting in the training of the volunteers, and assisting in the general day to day running of the camp and team.

Priority will be given to those with relevant experience and who wish to develop a career in conservation work. After a probationary period you will be expected to pass a written and practical test. Following your training period we require you to lead patrols & supervise volunteers.

This opportunity will give you solid work experience that will help you to continue your career in conservation, but living under these conditions can be challenging, extremely tiring and stressful: you will work during the night as well as during the day!   A good level of fitness and physical and mental energy is required as patrols are long (possibly all night), conducted on foot and may be as long as 15km. Shift patterns vary but you will have one night of rest per week.  Read the FAQs for more information.


  • Desire to work in conservation
  • Relevant qualification
  • Previous volunteering or outdoor living experience (preferably both)
  • Experience in similar working conditions
  • High level of energy and flexibility
  • At least 20 years old
  • Understand written and spoken English
  • Good attention to detail
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Used to physically challenging conditions (long walks, late nights, hot weather, insects)
  • Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities
  • Able to work independently and show initiative


Other useful skills

  • You speak more than one language – particularly Portuguese or Spanish
  • You have experience leading volunteers in a similar capacity
  • You have skills or experience in mechanics, carpentry or painting/drawing 

What is provided for?

Project Biodiversity is based in Santa Maria, a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and water-sports. Participants are based in field camps out of town with self-catering accommodation in Santa Maria provided on rest days. Meals are provided for in camp but are not provided on the days off. Field Assistants will receive a stipend of €100 per month. See FAQs for camp conditions.

Field Assistants are not required to pay any fees but need to cover their flights and insurance personally. Upon arrival a €100 deposit is required against loss or damage of project equipment that will be refunded at the agreed end date.

How to Apply

Visit www.projectbiodiversity.org/join-our-team for information on how to apply. Applications will only be received via completed application forms sent to volunteerinsal@gmail.com.

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