mardi 13 mars 2012

Volunteer research assistants

Ecology, behavior and conservation of howler and spider monkeys in Palenque, Mexico.

Hiring Organization:
Primate Lab, Field Research Station Los Tuxtlas, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

Position Description:
We are looking for volunteer research assistants to contribute to our research program with primates and other wildlife in Palenque, Mexico.
Volunteers will assist in two simultaneously running projects:

Project 1. Survey of primates and other mammals in Palenque National Park and in protected and unprotected forest fragments in the vicinity (PI, Dr.
Alejandro Estrada) Study sites: Palenque National Park and 6 forest fragments in the vicinity. Work to be done in tandem with two other students.
1. Diurnal and nocturnal and diurnal visual census of arboreal and
terrestrial mammals using line transects.
2. Setting up camera-traps.
3. Setting up Sherman traps.
4. Data entering in computer databases
5. Production of short technical reports every two weeks.

Project 2. Rehabilitation of howler and spider monkey infants and young adults rescued from illegal pet trade (PI, Dr. Alejandro Estrada). This project takes place at a rescue and rehabilitation center for wildlife located about 0.5km from the project´s camp site – see
1. Assist in the implementation of socialization protocols for the
infant monkeys.
2. Behavioral monitoring (focal and scan sampling): activity patterns,
social interactions and adaptation to a semifree-ranging condition on a small man-made.
3. Training old infant and juvenile monkeys to recognize wild foods
(leaves and fruits).
4. Support activities of the ecopark´s vets associated to the primates´
health and welfare.
5. Monitor diets and weight gains in several infant black howler and
spider monkeys.
6. Monitoring the location and activities of adult howler monkeys
released in the forest of the ecopark as part of a repopulation study.
7. Data entering in electronic databases.
8. Production of short technical reports every two weeks.

There is a possibility of volunteers rotating between these two projects, but you need to focus on only one field project. Training will be provided,.
Participation is also geared to meet academic requirements at your institution of origin e.g. practicum, academic internship, thesis. If this might be the case, provide specific details in advance to Dr. Alejandro Estrada (

Resting periods: resting days will be scheduled regularly as part of the field work program.

The qualifications we are looking for in a research assistant are:
- Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking fieldwork in hot/humid
- Be capable of team work and not have issues with authority figures.
- Have a background in biology/anthropology/zoology/psychology or a
related field.
- Be interested in the behavior, ecology, conservation of primate and
other mammal species of tropical rainforests
- Be hardworking, disciplined in following field procedures and be
- Some knowledge of animal behavior and data collection preferred but
not required.
- Enjoy being outdoors and experiencing the tropical rainforest.
- Enjoy being in the culture of southeast Mexico

No salary will be provided.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals,
Assistants will be responsible for airfare/transportation to and from Palenque town and for food costs. Lodging will be provided by the field project in a comfortable fully equipped house (electricity, hot water, high speed internet, bunk beds, two bathrooms with showers, a large living room kitchen area) about 2 km from Palenque National Park and about 0.5km from the wildlife rehab center. The town of Palenque is only 2 km away where banking, additional telephone services, hospitals, supermarkets, drugstores and others are available.

Term of Appointment:
3 - 6 months or more starting June 2011

Application Deadline:

To apply, please email a recent copy of your CV and send a letter of motivation describing your research interests and experience, and your availability for this position.

Note on contingencies: Volunteers should be covered by medical insurance when traveling to Mexico. They will need to sign a releasing liability form upon joining the research team in Palenque.

Contact Information:
Dr. Alejandro Estrada
Field Research Station Los Tuxtlas-UNAM

Telephone Number:

Website: /

E-mail Address: