Volunteer Research Assistant: Cheetah, lion and African wild dog conservation Mozambique

Mozambique, Africa
Mar 15, 2015
Apr 30, 2015
Ecology, Mammology, Zoology
Employment Type
Salary Type

The Limpopo Transfrontier Predator Project is a research initiative aimed at providing the necessary information to improve conservation prospects for cheetah, lion and wild dog in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area. We are two PhD researchers, seeking assistants to help with a landscape-scale assessment to quantify predator distribution, habitat availability and threats across the Mozambican components. The work includes walking (occupancy) spoor surveys across gradients of wildlife and human densities, recording sign of predators, prey and anthropogenic information, the collection of scats, investigation of predator kills and of illegal hunting camps and events. The information gained will be used to evaluate connectivity, meta-population viability and source-sink dynamics and will be used in corridor planning. More information on the project can be found at www.wildedens.org.

We are looking for highly driven team players willing to commit at least 8 weeks to the project. Applicants will work with a principal investigator and gain skills in tracking and data collection of large predators and their prey. We expect assistants to walk approximately 20 km per day for at least 5 days per week. Rest days in camp include chores and helping with logistics and data-related tasks.

This is an ideal position for individuals seeking experience in conservation science and intending to pursue MSc or PhD study with large predators. This is a volunteer position and applicants must be able to cover their own transportation to South Africa and contribute $1000 per month to the project. This fee covers all internal transportation and food while working on the project in Mozambique. Applicants must also provide their own tent and bedding, medical insurance and purchase monthly tourist visas ($80 per month) at the border. Living conditions are rustic and remote. We operate from a mobile tented camp, moving every 2-5 days and are often around rural people. The field work conditions are difficult: it is hot; there are biting insects, snakes and other dangerous wildlife. We carry our water supply with us and showers and washing of clothes is limited to every 4-7 days. We are working in remote bush including areas impacted by rural subsistence hunter-gatherer agro-pastoralist people (community grazing and forestry lands), private hunting reserves and National Parks.

Applicants must:
1) Be physically capable and willing to work in remote bush, walking approximately 20 km per day for at least 5 days per week.
2) Have first aid skills and be mentally prepared to deal with emergencies or dangerous situations.
3) Be a good team member and self-driven to help with camp chores and other logistics. There will be up to six of us living closely together in remote settings. Everyone must contribute to cooking, cleaning, packing and setting camp etc.,
4) Have a positive attitude, be willing and open to learn and have a strong attention to detail that can be applied to rigorous data collection.
5) Have a driver’s license and be able to drive standard.
6) Be culturally sensitive. We will encounter very rural people.

Ideal applicants will:
1) Have a base degree in biology, zoology or equivalent.
2) Have relevant field work and/or hiking, camping experience in tropical environments.

We are seeking 2-3 assistants during April-June. Please send cover letter and resume to:

Leah Andresen
Centre for African Conservation Ecology/Department of ZoologyNelson Mandela Metropolitan University