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Terrestrial Conservation Advisor, Highlands Program

Wildlife Conservation Society
Papua New Guinea (PG)
Salary: Competitive salary commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jun 23, 2023

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Conservation science
Job Level
Mid level
Salary Type
Employment Type

Job Details

Organization Background:

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 and based in New York, that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. 

WCS is the longest established international non-government conservation organisation within Papua New Guinea (PNG). At key and representative landscapes and seascapes, from the country’s coral islands to its forested highlands. WCS works with local communities and provincial, national and international partners, to sustainably manage and conserve the biodiversity and cultural values of Papua New Guinea’s wildlife and wild places. WCS PNG vision is “Gutpela sindaun, gutpela bus, gutpela solwara” (“Empowered people with healthy forests and seas”).
WCS is now seeking a dynamic, experienced individual with knowledge of terrestrial conservation issues in tropical developing countries to provide technical oversight of and support for its terrestrial conservation program in Papua New Guinea. The position requires strong conservation biology expertise and rural livelihoods experience in tropical countries, extensive management and program development experience, strong writing and communication skills, and a genuine commitment to the mission of WCS. 

This position is responsible for the technical oversight of and support for the WCS PNG Terrestrial Program in project management and implementation, project development, reporting, local staff capacity building, .data analysis and publication locations on the island of New Guinea, including across the Bismarck Forest Corridor and the broader PNG terrestrial stronghold.  The current program priorities: establishment of community conservation areas; community sustainable natural resources management; development of conservation-friendly rural livelihoods; promoting sustainable wildlife use; endangered species research and conservation; influencing national conservation and sustainable development policies. The Terrestrial Conservation Advisor, Highlands Program will also oversee leads for climate finance/markets, law & policy, terrestrial science, and community engagement in the Highlands.  This role is responsible for technical aspects of PNG Highlands’ program grants management, The position reports to the PNG Country Program Director and works closely with the PNG senior management team, PNG terrestrial conservation team, WCS Melanesia Regional Director and other WCS Asia staff. The position maintains appropriate communication with WCS project leads, key donors, funding agencies, local government institutions and NGO partners.




WCS is an equal opportunity employer, and the organization complies with all employment and labor laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in hiring and ensures that candidates from all backgrounds are fairly and consistently considered during the recruitment process. We are dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value. The organization provides equal employment opportunities for all qualified candidates. The organization does not discriminate for employment based on age, color, disability, gender identify, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by laws and regulations.


Primary Responsibilities: 


  • Contributing to the development of an updated strategy for WCS' terrestrial conservation work in PNG.  Technical oversight of WCS PNG’s terrestrial conservation including species specific projects. Supporting rural community economies that enhance conservation (e.g., green agribusiness, payments for ecosystem services and environmental offsets, etc.) Improving conservation activities through the analysis of program and project outcomes Managing a portfolio of terrestrial conservation projects including work plans, budgets, staff, and deliverables in line with administrative and financial policies of the WCS PNG Program.  Leading WCS PNG’s terrestrial conservation scientific research and publications. Proactively supporting the development of high-quality communication pieces for increasing the profile of WCS PNG terrestrial program and its technical activities. Influencing policy development by sharing program results and lessons learned with government partners and other key stakeholders. Oversee technical aspects of Highlands Program grants management and implementation, including working with PNG program staff to develop workplans; leading on grant reporting; and working with the PNG Finance staff to track project expenditure.  Contributing to the identification of fundraising opportunities, drafting proposals, and developing and maintaining good working relationships and/or partnerships with donors, government, NGOs, private sector and other key stakeholders. Represent the organization to donors, public, other key stakeholders and partners; Work with the PNG Operations staff leads to ensure compliance with WCS and donor policies. Supporting the design of protocols for field data collection, data management, and analysis. Capacity building of WCS PNG terrestrial conservation technical staff and local partners. Contributing to performance reviews of WCS PNG terrestrial conservation team and the recruitment of new staff and short-term specialists. Contribute to performance reviews of Highlands Program staff, and the recruitment of new staff and short-term specialists. Improve the program’s measurement and analysis of project outcomes and use of scientific results for adaptive management. Supporting WCS PNG's contributions to scientific research and engagement with international scientific institutions. Contribution to publications for public dissemination within and outside of PNG. Support capacity building of local partners. Proactively support the development of high-quality communication pieces for increasing the profile of WCS PNG Highlands Program and its technical activities.

Qualification Requirements:


  • PhD or Master’s degree and 5 years experience in a field related to in situ conservation. Proven ability to achieve successful on-the-ground conservation in developing countries Ability to write fundraising proposals and manage grants and donor reports. Experience in project management (EU and/or USAID funded projects desirable)   Experience in equitable community-based and collaborative conservation initiatives, protected and conserved area design and implementation, sustainable forest management, community livelihoods initiatives, and/or conservation finance, with a priority on initiatives that balance conservation efforts and human well-being. Knowledge of natural resource management in Melanesia is advantageous. Strong scientific analytical skills and data management.; ability to communicate scientific information through peer-reviewed journals and to a general audience. Ability to work sensitively and effectively with people of diverse cultures, value systems, perspectives and levels of education, and to manage and work with staff and partners in these contexts.  Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills in English at international standards.  Ability and dedication to mentor and train staff and partners in community-driven natural resource management, field research, conservation biology, conservation advocacy, and project management. Dedicated “roll up the sleeves” work ethic, with attention to detail. Willingness to travel within PNG and internationally. Genuine commitment to the mission of WCS.







The Wildlife Conservation Society, founded in 1895, has the clear mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe. Our story began in the early 1900s when we successfully helped the American bison recover on the Western Plains. Today, we protect many of the world’s iconic creatures here and abroad, including gorillas in the Congo, tigers in India, wolverines in the Yellowstone Rockies, and ocean giants in our world’s amazing seascapes.

Since our founding, we have forged the power of our global conservation work and the management of our five parks in New York City to create the world’s most comprehensive conservation organization. We currently manage about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries; and educate millions of visitors at our five living institutions in New York City on important issues affecting our planet. Our parks include: the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park ZooProspect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo.

With a commitment to protect 50 percent of the world’s biodiversity, we address four of the biggest issues facing wildlife and wild places: climate change; natural resource exploitation; the connection between wildlife health and human health; and the sustainable development of human livelihoods. While taking on these issues, we work across 5.8 million square kilometers (3.6 million square miles), both land and sea, protecting 40 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and 55 percent of its marine biodiversity.

The WCS parks in New York City welcome 4 million visitors each year, and educate millions of schoolchildren on science and conservation issues.

Our history, dating back to ensuring the survival of the American bison, inspires our work each day. We hope our work in turn inspires millions to take action to protect the natural resources that are so important to all life on our fragile Earth.

Our mission statement

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

Our vision

WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth.

WCS Trustees & Senior Management

WCS’s staff and Board of Trustees work together as stewards of conservation around the globe and of cultural life in New York.

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