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Volunteer Field Assistant, Tsaobis Baboon Project

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Namibia - Africa
Town/City Namibia
Type Temporary / Contract / Seasonal
Status Full Time
Level Voluntary & Interns
Deadline 07/01/2019
Company Name Zoological Society of London
Contact Name Human Resources
Telephone 02077223333
Email hr@zsl.org
Website Further Details / Applications
Zoological Society of London logo
Directory Entry : The Zoological Society of London, a charity founded in 1826, is a world-renowned center of excellent for conservation science and applied conservation, working in over 50 countries around the world
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The Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a charity founded in 1826, is a world-renowned centre of excellence for conservation science and applied conservation. ZSL’s mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats. This is realised by carrying out field conservation and research in over 50 countries across the globe and through education and awareness-raising at our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, inspiring people to take conservation action.

The Tsaobis Baboon Project is a field-based wildlife research programme that studies desert baboons in Namibia. Every year, we recruit a small team of field volunteers to assist with our scientific work.

Role Profile

The Tsaobis Baboon Project is a long-term study of wild desert baboons in Namibia. We are currently recruiting Volunteer Field Assistants for our 2019 field season. These positions combine practical research with training and are entirely field-based. The volunteers are trained by and work alongside doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, assisting with their studies and contributing to the wider research activities of the Baboon Project.

The fieldwork will primarily involve daily follows of baboon troops on foot, collecting data on the behaviour of individually recognisable animals, together with monthly vegetation surveys, and the capture of both study troops to fit GPS collars and collect measurements and samples. This year, our research focus is on baboon social behaviour and female reproductive strategies.

Positions available

Five Volunteer Field Assistant positions are currently available, each running for 3.5 months from mid-April to the end of July.

What we cover

Once the volunteers arrive in Namibia, the Tsaobis Baboon Project covers all their work-related costs, including all meals and accommodation. We will also cover the costs of the volunteers’ research visas and travel insurance. On the successful completion of fieldwork, we also contribute a minimum of £75 towards the cost of the volunteers’ air ticket.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

The Volunteer Field Assistants will learn and implement a range of research skills related to the study of animal behaviour and ecology.  Following training, the fieldwork will primarily involve daily follows of baboon troops on foot, during which they will collect data on the behaviour of individually recognisable animals, together with monthly vegetation surveys and wider ecological monitoring related to the baboons' environment. In 2019 we will also briefly capture our study troops to collect routine measurements and samples.

Person Specification

Who are we looking for?

These positions are open to all with an interest in animal behaviour and ecology. We are particularly keen to hear from applicants who:

  • Are friendly, easygoing people, happy to live in small team under basic conditions at a remote field site
  • Are strongly motivated, reliable and committed
  • Have good levels of physical fitness and stamina - you will be following the baboons on foot from dawn to dusk over mountainous terrain in extreme heat
  • Show good initiative, with a willingness to learn and show attention to detail
  • Have a full, clean driving licence.

What do volunteers get out of it?

  • An amazing opportunity to share the lives of wild baboons in a beautiful desert landscape
  • An opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience, especially those relevant to research in behaviour, ecology, and conservation
  • An opportunity to be involved in a long-term project on African wildlife, hosted by an international research institution and conservation charity
  • Most of our volunteers are graduate students who use their experience on the Baboon Project as a stepping stone on to Masters and PhD degree courses

Further information

For further details about these positions, including the work involved, our living conditions in the field, preparations prior to departure, and what to bring with you, please visit the Tsaobis Baboon Projectwebpage and click on the ‘Information for Volunteers’ tab.

For a full role description please click here.

To Apply

If you would like to apply, you will need to upload a CV and covering letter, using the “Apply for this role online” button above.

The covering letter should explain why you would like to work on the project, and the CV should include the names of two referees with e-mail contact details. The covering letter and CV should be uploaded as a single PDF document, with the covering letter on a separate page preceding the CV.

Closing date for applications10am, Monday 7 January 2019.

Please note: We will notify successfully shortlisted candidates by the evening of Monday 7 January, and interviews will be held in London on Monday 14 January and Tuesday 15 January. Applicants should keep these dates free for interview, since no other dates will be available. Telephone/skype interviews will be possible for overseas applicants or those that cannot travel to London to attend the interview.

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