Monkey, Sea Turtle & Conservation Volunteer Research Assistant
Start date: November 2018 (2 month OR 5 month commitment) or January 2019 (2 month commitment).
The Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP) is seeking volunteers to assist with data collection on primate ecology, nesting sea turtle ecology, conservation activities, ecotourism, and threats to local wildlife at our two research camps on the southern beaches of Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. BBPP will engage field assistants for a period of either 2 OR 5 months during the upcoming dry season, beginning in November and lasting through March. Volunteer commitments are flexible – applicants are encouraged to apply for either a 5 month full field season or a 2 month field season in either the beginning (November – December) or end (January – February) of the dry season on Bioko. All field assistants are expected to devote at least 40 hrs/week to the project, but due to the nature of the project and living conditions, hours will likely be considerably more.
Primary activities are listed below with the percent expected time dedication (time allocations are subject to change):
• Marine turtle surveys (30%) - recording information on nesting sea turtles and tagging individuals at night as well as conducting daily beach patrols.
• Conservation patrols (20%) – monitoring high activity areas for signs of hunting and other anthropogenic factors with local Ecoguards.
• Primate research activities (20%) – completing transect surveys (along established BBPP trails) during the day for ten days each month with a trained team of local survey workers sampling of primate feces off-trail with the use of a handheld GPS unit.
• Ecotourism with BBPP’s EG Expeditions (20%) – supporting visiting tourists and welcoming to them to the camp as well as guiding groups on outings to local camp landmarks.
• Other researcher, conservation, and education duties as required.
• Butterfly biodiversity assessment (10%) – Collection, preservation, morphological data collection, and identification of local butterflies.
Our field sites are in remote areas with no road access. Researchers and field assistants must hike in and out of the field site(s) when necessary along rough terrain. Researchers and field assistants will be living in tents, cooking over fire, and using water from nearby streams. Field assistants are also required to participate in daily upkeep and maintenance of the camp, including occasional preparation of meals. The diet is very limited due to lack of electricity/refrigerators. There is no internet connection, but cell service is available. A satellite phone will be available in case of an emergency. The camp has generators to charge research equipment, which may be used for personal items as well. Field assistants are expected to devote at least 40 hrs/week to the project, but due to the nature of the project and living conditions, hours will likely be considerably more.
This is an unpaid (volunteer) position. However, BBPP will provide housing (tents or a room and bed when at another BBPP facility), food and local transportation. You are expected to provide international transportation to and from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea (± $2000 for a round trip flight from US), medical and evacuation insurance, appropriate immunizations (yellow fever) and medications (anti-malarial medications). Non-US citizens will need to apply for a visa to enter Equatorial Guinea. We will try to obtain a letter of invitation through the local university in Malabo but cannot guarantee a visa. If you chose to apply for and accept the 5-month commitment, international travel expenses will be reimbursed.
Field assistants work under the supervision of Juan Cruz Ondo Nze (BBPP Research Coordinator), Drexel Graduate Students & UNGE Researchers, David Montgomery (BBPP In-Country Manager), and Dr. Mary Katherine Gonder (BBPP Director & Drexel University Associate Professor). They are encouraged to participate in all aspects of field research, outreach, and conservation activities during their stay on Bioko Island.
- Field assistants are expected to be at least 21 years old.
- Field assistants are REQUIRED to have:
• Some Spanish language ability but options for paid Spanish language training beforehand are available (Spanish is the national language of Equatorial Guinea).
• Prior field experience in biology, ecology, environmental science, or related disciplines.
• Physical fitness and a positive attitude towards physically exhausting work in a hot and humid climate and the ability to walk up to and over 10 kilometers per day. All assistants should be prepared for very demanding and time consuming work.
- Preference will be given to applicants with:
• Experience in remote locations in developing countries and experience camping and hiking in wilderness areas.
• A B.A. or B.S. in biology, ecology, environmental science, or related disciplines.
Please send a cover letter, CV and contact information for 3 references to both Dana Venditti (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Juan Cruz Ondo Nze (email@example.com). The cover letter and/or CV should clearly detail applicants’ level of Spanish proficiency.
We invite you to visit our Get Involved pages to find out other ways you can participate with BBPP!