Carnivore Research Assistant - Kasungu National Park, Malawi

Carnivore Research Malawi (CRM) is a non-profit conservation project based in Malawi, working in partnership with Cardiff University and Nottingham Trent University UK. The project falls under the umbrella of the UK Charity Conservation Research Africa (CRA). CRM and CRA were founded by Dr Emma Stone from the University of Bristol UK. CRM works in collaboration with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Malawi (DNPW) and conducts three core activities:

  1. Applied research for wildlife conservation management: by establishing long-term carnivore monitoring and ecology projects to assess species status, threats and provide conservation recommendations; as well as a number of smaller student projects to facilitate and inform long-term conservation management of carnivore populations and their habitats. Project results are used to update IUCN species status reports and assist DNPW in long-term population monitoring and protected area management.
  2. Education and awareness of the ecological role of carnivores, human wildlife conflict mitigation, biodiversity and related issues through comprehensive community based education programmes and teacher training workshops in collaboration with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) and their Eco-schools programme.
  3. Capacity building: to increase project effectiveness and long-term success by building capacity in ecological research, biodiversity monitoring and management for DNPW, students from the Lilongwe University of Natural Resources through training courses, attachment programmes and postgraduate research projects at MSc and PhD level.

Duties

We are conducting field research to assess the ecology and distribution of carnivores in Kasungu National Park Malawi to inform conservation management. (www.carnivoreresearchmalawi.org). We are currently recruiting for a Research Assistant to assist in all aspects of our research in Kasungu National Park.

  • Conducting camera trap surveys
  • Conducting tracking and behavioural observations of serval and leopard
  • Collecting faecal diet analysis
  • Creating and maintaining a photographic database of hyaena using MS Access
  • Creating and updating ArcGIS habitat and sightings maps
  • Vegetation surveys
  • Large mammal prey transect surveys
  • Conducting community visits to follow up on conflict events
  • Assist with trapping and collaring when necessary
  • Manage volunteers and volunteer schedules
  • Attend and contribute to project meetings if required
  • Be flexible in the hours worked to fluctuating demand
  • Work closely and co-operatively with other team members, and network internationally representing the project with organisations such as IUCN etc.
  • Maintain accurate records of work activities and data entry in a Microsoft Access database
  • Produce project reports, newsletters, bulletins etc. as required

Person Specification

We are looking for someone with:

  • Maturity: We are looking for someone with a mature mental attitude to be the representative of CRM in the field, and lead by example.
  • Inspirational Leadership skills: You will need to be a great leader, able to inspire and motivate the team.
  • Organisational skills: We are looking for someone who is highly organised and practical, with an eye for detail.
  • Management skills: you must have excellent interpersonal and management skills.
  • Maturity is a must, as well as the ability to work maintain the motivation and research output despite the many daily challenges of working in Malawi.

The position is field based and will require field work at night and in the day. Therefore you will need to be willing to be based in remote environments at rustic field camps. The post offers an excellent opportunity for career development for a researcher with research skills who is interested in applied conservation biology, carnivores and human-wildlife conflict.

Essential:

  • Minimum of BSc, in ecology, conservation or similar field
  • Experience of working and living in remote environments, preferably in Africa
  • Excellent team-work skills, written and oral communication skills
  • Clean driving licence
  • Proven experience in working within a team with minimum supervision
  • A confident communicator who is able to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds
  • Passion for conservation and wildlife
  • Computer literacy: MS Office, including Access; Photoshop, ArcGIS/QGIS
  • Positive mental attitude, resilient, ability to muck in and get on with it
  • Hard work ethic, flexible and conscientious approach with an eye for detail
  • Be willing to track and observe carnivores at night
  • 4x4 off road driving experience
  • Ability to work independently under minimal supervision  
  • Experience of data collection and recording under minimal supervision

Desirable:

  • Experience of field research with carnivores preferably in Africa
  • A good understanding of current concepts in African conservation as well as issues in environmental science, policy and management
  • Experience of ArcGIS mapping, digitising and home range analysis
  • MSc or PhD in ecology, zoology, biology
  • FAGASA  equivalent qualifications

Timing: This is an 8 month position commencing from January 2017 with a possibility of extension to 1 year.

Location: You will be based in our research camp in Kasungu National Park (www.carnivoreresearchmalawi.org). The CRM research camp is located near to Lifupa camp overlooking the Lifupa Dam in the heart of KNP. The park harbours a healthy wildlife population including elephant, reedbuck, kudu, and hippo, buffalo, roan, leopard, spotted hyaena, caracal and serval. Living in camp you will be on permanent safari, with regular visits to camp by elephants, hippos, monkey, kudu.

Your accommodation will consist of a shared safari tent in the wildlife with a bed and access to flushing toilets and hot showers. You may be sharing your tent with other staff (dependent upon volunteer numbers at this time). There is solar power, and limited cell network and wifi. 

Conditions: Please be aware that this is a voluntary position with no salary or stipend attached. CRM will provide accommodation and bills, work related travel, airport transfers and limited personal use of a project vehicle. You will be required to cover your own flights, food, visas, insurance and vaccinations.

To apply please send a completed application form (www.carnivoreresearchmalawi.org/vacancies.html) and covering letter (outlining why you think you would be suitable for the post) and a CV is you wish to Rob Davis rob@carnivoreresearchmalawi.org

Thanks for your interest in CRM, we look forward to hearing from you.

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