Voluntariado con primates en Gabón, África ~ Bioblogia.net

31 de mayo de 2019

Voluntariado con primates en Gabón, África

Volunteer Field Assistant Positions

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 a minimum of six months up to one year, from end of August 2019.
One Volunteer Field Assistant position are currently available, running for a minimum of six months up to one year, from end of October 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.

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
• French is a plus but not eliminatory

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 your motivations and you preferred starting date (end of August or end of October). In addition, please, mention how long you’ll be able to stay (between 6 months and 1 year). CV should include the names of two-four referees with e-mail contact details.

Applications from people with no field experience are unlikely to be selected.

Applications must be sent at projetmandrillus@gmail.com by Sunday 23 June 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 during the last week of June 2019. Applicants should keep this date free for interview, since no other dates will be available. Telephone/skype interviews will be possible for overseas applicants.

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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.

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