mardi 10 mai 2011

Field assistant positions available for baboon research in South Africa

Hiring Organization:
Durham University

Date Posted:

Position Description:
I am looking for 3 volunteer field assistants to help conduct a behavioural study on chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) in the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa. The study will focus on juvenile members of the troop, but data will be collected on all group members.
Volunteers will be required to assist in the collection of the following data:
Mass and growth data
Visual attention/social monitoring
General activity
Social interactions

I am looking for volunteer research assistants with the following experience:

1) A background in biology/zoology/ecology/anthropology (biological or physical)/psychology, with proven field experience. This position would particularly suit those with Masters degrees who are seeking additional field experience before applying for further studies.
2) Physically fit, capable of working long hours (between 10-14) a day, in a mountainous environment and a range of conditions from very hot, to cold and rainy/misty
3) The ability to work in a relatively remote area (it can be isolating and psychologically stressful to some)
4) Capable of working as part of a varied (often multinational) team
5) Reliable and responsible for their own actions, able to adhere to the data collection protocols in place
6) Experience of working in Africa, particularly with non-human primates is desired, but not essential as full training will be provided in the field.

Please note that the field site is not the normal baboon savannah habitat commonly seen in documentaries. On an average day, you will be expected to get up before dawn to walk to the baboons sleeping site in time to arrive before they wake up. You will then follow the troop for the entire day, which may require non-stop travelling up and down mountainous terrain and/or through thick vegetation collecting behavioural data, until they arrive at their evening sleeping site. Volunteers will not be expected to be in the field by themselves, and should not have to work more than 3 days in a row unless in exceptional circumstances.

No direct salary is provided, but up to £25 per week (per person) will be available for basic provisions from the local town. This amount should be sufficient for all meals during the day, although items such as meat, alcohol or personal items (toiletries etc) will not be covered. Research equipment will be provided, but volunteers are expected to bring some items along or buy them on arrival (e.g. binoculars, hiking boots, hydration packs etc; a full list of essential field gear is available on request).

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Volunteers will be expected to pay for accommodation (3500ZAR, approximately £350) per month at the Lajuma Research Station ( The accommodation is equipped with hot showers, flush toilets, a gas stove, fridge, tapped water, washing machine, gas, firewood and electricity (220V). Volunteers will be able to go into the local town (Louis Trichardt/Makhado) at least once every two weeks for internet, purchasing supplies etc. Team members cook together, which not only eases the burden of cooking (and cost), but also makes for a varied (vegetarian) diet.

Term of Appointment:
6 month minimum- preference will be given to volunteers who can commit for longer

Application Deadline:
Until places are filled

As I am currently in the field, there may be a delay in responses.

Contact Information:
Peter Tomlin
Lajuma Research Centre, none
South Africa

Telephone Number:
+27 (0) 73 579 0708


E-mail Address: