Elephant research in Tanzania ~ Bioblogia.net

4 de julio de 2011

Elephant research in Tanzania

Research assistants are needed to participate on a PhD research project on human-elephant conflict near Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Responsibilities will vary according to the skills and interests of each applicant but will likely involve accompanying local villagers into the National Park and using various techniques, including surveys, to help measure the effects of these visits on local peoples’ perceptions of wildlife, and of elephants in particular. Some opportunistic data will also be collected on the behavioral ecology of elephants in the field. Additionally, opportunities to conduct independent research may be available; Ruaha National Park contains a vast array of flora and fauna, including the continent’s third largest population of wild dogs.

This work represents a unique opportunity to gain invaluable experience living and working in rural East Africa on an elephant research and conservation project. The investigator intends to establish a long-term project in the area aimed at applying research findings to conservation, and human-wildlife conflict mitigation work. Thus, research assistants who work on the project during this time will have the opportunity to directly influence the development and initial success of this undertaking.

Unfortunately, no funding currently exists to support research assistants, so a program fee of $320 per week will be required to cover program costs as well as your accommodation, local transportation, visits to the park, and food in the field. Please wait to submit your application materials until you are sure of your ability to cover these costs. You will also be responsible for your own airfare to and from Tanzania, as well as medical insurance and vaccinations. Because of the remoteness of the field site and the time it takes to acclimate to the region and the work, a minimum commitment of 6 weeks will be required, with preference given to those who can make longer commitments. Applications for those available to work between September 2011 and August 2012 are now being accepted; positions will be filled as suitable applicants are found.

Field/work conditions:
Field conditions at this site can be very challenging, with frequent exposure to poisonous snakes and crocodiles, daily temperatures frequently exceeding 90°F, and shared living quarters being cramped and very basic (ie: no running water, very basic food, and limited electricity available only to power field equipment). Research assistants on this project face and overcome unforeseen challenges, both large and small, on a daily basis. These include frequent vehicle break-downs, charging elephants, malfunctioning field equipment, and work schedules that are dependent upon the constantly shifting availability of village leaders and local park authorities. Despite the availability of local translators, the strong language barrier can also be very challenging. All of these conditions must be reconciled with the challenge of successfully completing the work, as scheduled, on a monthly basis. These challenges should not be under-estimated, but it should also be noted that most volunteers who work on the project find that they don’t want to leave!

A particular type of personality is best suited for this type of work, therefore you must have the following qualities: positive attitude, flexible, resourceful, personable, intellectually curious, conscientious, patient, able to work and problem solve independently but also work as part of a team … and a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either!

Required qualifications:
- Interest in wildlife conservation
- Interest in and respect for different cultures
- Fluency in English, both written and spoken
- Comfortable living in remote areas under very basic living conditions

Strongly preferred:
- Experience traveling or working internationally, preferably in a developing nation
- Some kind of field research experience

Preferred but not necessary:
- Knowledge of cars, particularly diesel engines
- Some knowledge of Kiswahili

To apply:
Send a resume, the contact information for 3 references, and cover letter detailing how you meet the qualifications listed above, the reason you are interested in this position, and the time commitment you can make (including rough dates of your availability) to:

Sarah Maisonneuve
Email: smais@nrel.colostate.edu

Graduate Degree Program in Ecology
Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory
Colorado State University
Campus Delivery 1499
Fort Collins , CO 80523
Phone: (970) 491-1604
Fax: (970) 491-1965

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