mardi 18 janvier 2011

Volunteer Field Assistant: Monitoring Neotropical rainforest primates (and other mammals) in the Peruvian Amazon

Hiring Organization:
Fauna Forever

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We’re looking for volunteer field assistants to help on a long-term monitoring project (established 1997) studying the population ecology of primates (and other mammals), as well as the impacts and benefits of human activities on these populations. The area of focus includes the Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja Sonene National Park in 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 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 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 nil (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 very 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.).

5. 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;

6. 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];

7. Enjoy being in an outdoors tropical environment;

8. Basic Spanish language abilities, or a willingness to learn whilst on the project;

9. Have a deep respect for wildlife and local indigenous cultures.

No salary is provided. A project contribution fee is required to cover housing, food and local transport costs (see project website for details).

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
All housing (Fauna Forever house, ecolodges, research stations, and expedition camps), food (3 nutritious meals per day), local transport (boats, buses, motorbike rickshaws in Tambopata), training, and critical research equipment is provided by the project after payment of the contribution fee. 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 ( and Lan (

Term of Appointment:
20-, 40- and 60-day periods available throughout 2011 and 2012 (visit website for start dates)

Application Deadline:
None (see research phase dates on website, below)

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.

Contact Information:
Chris Kirkby and David Johnston
Carretera Tambopata Km 1.5, PO Box 103,
Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios

Telephone Number:
+51 (0)1 2715697 / 982357436


E-mail Address: