We’re looking for volunteer research assistants to help on a long-term project (est. 1997) studying human impacts and benefits on the wildlife of Peru’s south-eastern lowland Amazon rainforest. Volunteers will work alongside an experienced team of field biologists from Peru and the international community monitoring Neotropical wildlife, including primates such as red howler monkeys, dusky titi monkeys, spider monkeys and five other species. Specific tasks you will participate in:
1. Dawn, evening and nocturnal census surveys of primates (and other mammals) along unbounded line transects, in forests used by humans for ecotourism, brazil nut harvesting, bush meat hunting, and timber extraction, as well as in non-use areas where human activity is minimal or non-existent (primarily remote locations within the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja-Sonene National Park);
2. Remote camera trap recordings of primates (and other mammals) using natural salt- and clay-licks on river banks and at locations in the interior of the forest;
3. GPS recording of primate group home ranges near ecolodges and local settlements;
4. Taking behavioral characteristics data of primate groups when they are under direct observation by ecotourists;
5. Vegetation data collection to determine the abundance of fruiting tree species that are sought after by primates (particularly during the lean dry season, May – November);
6. Data entry into project laptops and associated data analysis under the supervision of field research coordinators.
The qualifications we are looking for in a research assistant are:
1. Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking fieldwork in hot/humid and occasionally muddy conditions;
2. Be capable of working well as part of a team, under the authority of field research coordinators, and having a good sense of humor;
3. Have a keen interest in primates and Neotropical wildlife in general;
4. Have a background in environmental sciences (biology, zoology, geography, etc.).
Be reliable, responsible and motivated when it comes to following research protocols and methodologies, and getting up early on those mornings designated for dawn transect surveys;
5. Some knowledge of wildlife monitoring and behavioral assessment techniques [Although, all necessary methods training will be provided during an intensive 7-day orientation session at the beginning of each research phase];
6. Enjoy being in an outdoors tropical environment;
7. Basic Spanish language abilities, or a willingness to learn whilst on the project;
8. Have a deep respect for wildlife and local indigenous cultures.
No salary will be provided. A project contribution fee is required (see project website for details).
Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
All lodging (project house, ecolodges, research stations and expedition camps), food (3 nutricious meals per day) local transport (boats, buses, motorbike rickshaws in Tambopata), training, and critical research equipment is provided by the project. Rooms tend to have single or bunk beds with 2-4 people to a room. Some lodges have rooms with private bathroom facilities, others have shared facilities. No hot water is available for showers/bathing, though after a hard day’s work in the rainforest heat - cold water is generally appreciated. Electricity for recharging batteries and cameras is available at all times, and is based on solar powered devices and gasoline-powered generators. Internet access is available at some locations. Puerto Maldonado, the provincial capital where the project is based, has all the necessary modern amenities, including internet cafes, telephones, banking facilities (including ATMs), restaurants (that also serve good vegetarian options), launderettes, post office, pharmacies, doctors/dentists, clinics/hospital services, and so forth.
Research assistants will be responsible for (i) purchasing their own airfare to Puerto Maldonado; (ii) medical/travel insurance; and (iii) head-torch, batteries, and other personal effects. Airlines that offer scheduled daily internal flights from Lima/Cuzco to Puerto Maldonado include Star Peru (www.starperu.com) and Lan (www.lan.com).
Term of Appointment:
40-day phases (visit website for star dates)
To apply, please fill out and email us an application form (downloadable from the project website) and a recent copy of your CV. A cover letter describing your interest in the project would also be welcomed.
Note on contingencies: Volunteers should purchase medical/travel insurance when traveling to Peru. They will need to sign a liability waver form upon joining the research team in Puerto Maldonado.
Chris Kirkby or David Johnston
San Martin 940
Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios G7
+51 (0)82 982357436