2 voluntariados en primatología en Gabón ~ Bioblogia.net

26 de enero de 2019

2 voluntariados en primatología en Gabón

Role description

The Mandrillus Project is a non-profit organisation aiming at longitudinally studying wild mandrills in Southern Gabon. We are currently recruiting Volunteer Field Assistants for our 2018-2019
field season. These positions combine practical research with training and are entirely field-based. The volunteers are trained by and work alongside local field assistants, field managers, sometimes students and researchers, contributing to the research activities of the Mandrillus Project. Following established protocols, the fieldwork will primarily involve daily follows of a natural population of
mandrills on foot, collecting data on the behaviour of individually recognisable animals, together with the collection of non-invasive measurements and samples. Please visit the website of the project to get an idea of the scientific programs that are currently running (http://www.projetmandrillus.com/research-and-conservation.html).

Positions available

Two Volunteer Field Assistant positions are currently available, each
running for six months from March to August 2019.

What we cover

Once the volunteers arrive in the field site, the Mandrillus Project
covers all their work-related costs, including accommodation (private
equipped room with air-con and private bathroom, shared kitchen) and
a stipend for meals (about 200€/month). The association will also
cover the costs of the volunteers’ travel insurance. On the successful
completion of fieldwork, we also contribute a minimum of 150€ towards
the cost of the volunteers’ travel fees.

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, easy-going people, happy to live in small team at a
remote field site

• Are strongly motivated, reliable, honest and committed

• Have good levels of physical fitness and stamina - you will be
following the mandrills on foot several hours a day, 6 days per week,
over mountainous terrain, in heat

• Show good initiative, with a willingness to learn and show attention
to detail

• A good level in French is mandatory

What do volunteers get out of it?

• An amazing opportunity to share the lives of wild mandrills in an
equatorial forest landscape

• An opportunity to learn new skills and gain experience, especially
those relevant to research in behaviour and ecology

• An opportunity to be involved in a long-term project on African
wildlife, hosted by an international research institution

• An opportunity to use this field experience with the Mandrillus
Project as a stepping stone on to future Masters and PhD degree courses

• Experience a new culture and share knowledge with local assistants

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 see below (and additional information
will be provided to successful candidates).

How to apply

If you would like to apply, please prepare a CV and a detailed covering
letter that should explain why you would like to work on the project. The
CV should include the names of two referees with e-mail contact details.

Applications must be sent at projetmandrillus@gmail.com by January 22 nd
2019. We will notify successfully shortlisted candidates few days after
this deadline, and interviews will be held in Montpellier (for local
successful candidates) or by skype the following week. Telephone/skype
interviews will be possible for overseas applicants.

* * * * * *

The Study Site


Gabon has an Equatorial climate with little seasonality. Precipitations
are important, almost every day from October to May, and days may be
hot (up to 30°C), although the Lekedi Park benefits from a cooler
weather because of its altitude (600m). The long dry season, from June
to September, is characterized by cool weather (temperatures can fall
below 18°C) with no precipitation.


The Lekedi Park is characterized by a mix of savannas and gallery forests
interspersed with rivers and riverbeds. Equatorial Marantaceae forests
are found in the area.


The Lekedi park is home to a variety of wildlife including forest
buffalos, several Apes (chimpazees, gorillas) and other primates (cephus,
nictitans) and, of course, mandrills! Predators include, occasionally,
leopards (but don’t expect any encounter with them!). Birds and reptiles
also abound.


The Lekedi park is located in Southern Gabon. It is only a 1 hour drive
from Moanda, the nearest town that comprises hotels, petrol stations,
banks, basic shops and markets.

Working Conditions

Daily and weekly work schedules

Data collection requires full-day follows of the study group. This ensures
that the location of the sleeping sites used by the mandrills each night
is known, which in turn facilitates their pick-up by observers early the
next morning. If the day begins late, or ends early, the mandrills can be
lost and may take several days to relocate. Each day, seven days a week,
two teams (at least two persons) alternate: the morning team leaves
the camp at 5:45am and come back around 12:30pm while the afternoon
team starts at noon and come back at 6:30pm. A driver brings every day
the two teams by car the closest to the mandrills. When mandrills are
located with high confidence, the team enters into the forest and starts
following the mandrills. Field assistants work 6 half-days per week and
benefit from one day off per week during the entire stay.

Working with mandrills in the Lekedi landscape

Observers and local field assistants spend half the day on foot in the
company of the mandrills in the forest. Forested environments may be
physically demanding because there are often closed and hilly. Field
team members travel (with small backpacks) up to 5-8km a day, ascending
and descending small hills and slippery, muddy, slopes as they follow
the mandrills. The mandrills are habituated to the presence of human
observers, allowing data to be collected from close proximity without
causing disturbance, but observers must always act carefully and
responsibly when in the company of these wild animals. Data collection
is largely conducted with handheld computers. Faecal and urine samples
are also collected on a routine basis. On-site supervision and detailed
guidelines will be provided describing how to work with the mandrills
in the forest.

Living Conditions

The fully-furnished, air-conditioned rooms are located in a small research
complex where the lab and offices are. It is located at the entrance of
the park near other houses: the house of the managers of the project, the
one of the director of the park and another one for the vet of the park.

Field team members prepare their own food in the communal, fully-furnished
kitchen located in the research complex. Once every two weeks, the
manager brings the field team members to Moanda to buy food and supplies.

Telephone and e-mail

The Project has access to wi-fi in the park available to volunteers (skype
or facebook are, however, not allowed as is movie download). The project
covers the costs of the wi-fi service. Field team members are advised to
buy a local mobile phone chip when they arrive in Libreville or in Moanda.

Visitors and vacation

Volunteers cannot make arrangements to receive visitors during their
stay at the Project (including local visitors). In addition, tourists
are not allowed to visit the study group of mandrills. For vacations,
volunteers need to plan to stay additional weeks following their 6-month
commitment to the project. In these cases, a visa extension will be
needed. Volunteers need to make their own arrangements.

Marie Charpentier <marie.charpentier@umontpellier.fr>

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