lunes, 25 de junio de 2012

Human elephant conflict research and mitigation Tanzania

Volunteer research assistants are needed to participate on a PhD research project on human-elephant conflict near Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Responsibilities will vary according to the skills and interests of each applicant but will likely involve accompanying local villagers into the National Park and using various techniques, including surveys, to help measure the effects of these visits on local peoples’ perceptions of wildlife, and of elephants in particular. Some opportunistic data will also be collected on the behavioral ecology of elephants in the field. Research assistants will be expected to commit some of their time to volunteering in local schools, to teach students about wildlife and conservation; there will also be ample opportunity to teach additional subjects, if it is of interest to the volunteer.
This work represents a unique opportunity to gain invaluable experience living and working in rural East Africa on an elephant research and conservation project. The investigator is in the process of establishing a long-term project in the area aimed at applying research findings to conservation, and human-wildlife conflict mitigation work. Thus, research assistants who work on the project during this time will be in a position to directly influence the development and initial success of this undertaking. Additionally, those volunteers who successfully complete a commitment on this project and later move onto graduate school will likely be invited to return to the field site to conduct independent research; infrastructure and logistical support will be provided in these cases.
Unfortunately, no funding currently exists to support research assistants, so a program fee of $320 per week will be required to cover program costs as well as your accommodation, local transportation, visits to the park, and food in the field. Please wait to submit your application materials until you are sure of your ability to cover these costs. You will also be responsible for your own airfare to and from Tanzania, as well as medical insurance and vaccinations. Because of the remoteness of the field site and the time it takes to acclimate to the region and the work, a minimum commitment of 6 weeks will be required, with preference given to those who can make longer commitments. Applications for those available to work between August 2012 and December 2012 are now being accepted; positions will be filled as suitable applicants are found.
Field/work conditions:
Field conditions at this site can be very challenging, with frequent exposure to poisonous snakes and crocodiles, daily temperatures frequently exceeding 90°F, and shared living quarters being cramped and very basic (ie: no running water, very basic food, and limited electricity available only to power field equipment). Research assistants on this project face and overcome unforeseen challenges, both large and small, on a daily basis. These include frequent vehicle break-downs, charging elephants, malfunctioning field equipment, and work schedules that are dependent upon the constantly shifting availability of village leaders and local park authorities. Despite the availability of local translators, the strong language barrier can also be very challenging. All of these conditions must be reconciled with the challenge of successfully completing the work, as scheduled, on a monthly basis. These challenges should not be under-estimated, but it should also be noted that many volunteers who work on the project find that they don’t want to leave!
A particular type of personality is best suited for this type of work, therefore you must have the following qualities: positive attitude, flexible, resourceful, personable, intellectually curious, conscientious, patient, able to work and problem solve independently but also work as part of a team, … and a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either!
Required qualifications:
- Interest in wildlife conservation, and education
- Interest in and respect for different cultures
- Fluency in English, both written and spoken
- Comfortable living in remote areas under very basic living conditions

Strongly preferred:
- Experience traveling or working internationally, preferably in a developing nation
- Some kind of field research experience

Preferred but not necessary:
- Knowledge of cars, particularly diesel engines
- Some knowledge of Kiswahili

To apply:
Send a resume, the contact information for 3 references, and cover letter detailing how you meet the qualifications listed above, the reason you are interested in this position, and the time commitment you can make (including rough dates of your availability) to:
Sarah Maisonneuve

For more information about the project, see Please also see our facebook page, which is frequently updated by volunteers currently in the field: