Volunteer Field Assistant: Orangutan project
University of Zurich
We are looking for a volunteer for a PhD project investigating social learning and innovation in orangutans. This study is conducted at Bukit Batikap in the Murung Raya District of Central Kalimantan in Indonesia, the release site of Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF), on released orangutans (please note that interactions with released animals are strictly forbidden). Work will include collection of behavioral and ranging data during nest to nest follows as well as phenology and nest work (possibility of tree climbing and nest deconstruction). In addition archiving, organizing and entering data at camp will be expected.
The volunteer needs to be prepared to work in very demanding conditions for very long days starting before dawn, followed by an up to 1,5h walk to the nest location and then full day observation by following focal animals until the evening nest, often after dusk. The volunteer will be walking long distance, hiking 10 km and more a day under all-weather conditions. In addition, camping in the forest in very basic flying camps for 5-9 days at the time (sleeping in hammocks, bathing in the river and cooking basic food) will be expected.
The rainforest is rugged, with steep hills and dense undergrowth, high annual rainfall and many species of biting and stinging invertebrates including leeches, mosquitoes, wasps, ants and many others. The forest, especially during wet season, can be very difficult to walk in.
The field station is extremely remote (3 days travel from the city of Palangkaraya) with only basic facilities. The volunteers will be accommodated in the base camp together with local assistants from BOSF post-release monitoring team as well as other students and researchers. There is no hot water, whereas electricity from generator power is available for at most a few hours in the evening to charge equipment. There is NO cell phone reception and NO internet neither is there in the nearest small village (3h by boat from camp). Traveling in this remote area is expensive and trips to town are rare. The volunteer should be prepared to stay 2-3 months in the field. Only for emergencies communication with the outside world is possible.
- have a background in Biology or any related field
- have experience with field work - priority will be given to applicants with experience in the tropics and collecting behavioral data
- have good observation skills including patience, persistence and attention to detail
- be healthy (certificates of negative tests for TB, Hepatitis A, B and C and HIV is required)
- be physically fit (to follow study animals in a difficult and hilly terrain, off-trail, for a minimum of 10 hours/day, 5 days/week)
- be able to cope with a difficult environment (humidity, heat, rain) and tropical animals (snakes, spiders, ants, leeches, mosquitoes)
- be mentally strong, emotionally mature and resistant to social and psychological stress
- exhibit strong social skills, flexibility and sensitivity to other cultures
- be able to work as a part of small multinational team as well as independently
- feel comfortable living under very basic conditions and being far away from family and friends without the ability to contact them (no phone reception and internet at the site!)
- be able to maintain a positive attitude towards hard and tiring work
- be prepared to apply strict protocols and instructions
- speak Bahasa Indonesia or be willing to learn the language
Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Travel cost to Indonesia (return flight) and one trip to the field (return) as well as permit expenses (visa, research permit and stay permit) will be covered by the project after at least a 6 months stay in the field.
Please note that expenses during the stay in the cities (Jakarta and Palangkaraya) will NOT be covered by the project and that health insurance that covers emergency repatriation and liability will be required. In addition camp fees (~250$/month) will have to be covered by the volunteer.
Term of Appointment:
We are looking for a volunteer working for 6 months and starting in October/November of 2016.
Interested applicants can send their CV, a short letter of motivation and two contact information for two references to firstname.lastname@example.org
Zurich, none 8057
+41 44 635 68 04