Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Volunteering Opportunities 2009

Come and learn about conservation and primate research in Indonesian Borneo or the Cloud Forest of Peru.

The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project has volunteer expeditions running from June-November (3 groups)

OuTrop 2009

The Neotropical Primate Conservation Project is running 2 volunteer expedition groups in October and November.

Peru 2009

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Volunteer for the Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project 2009

OuTrop Poster 2009

The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Research Project works to protect one of the most important areas of tropical rainforest in Borneo - the Sabangau Forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. We monitor the distribution, population status, behaviour and ecology of the forest's flagship ape species – the orang-utan and agile gibbon - carry out biodiversity and forestry research, provide scientific feedback to conservation managers, and work with our local partners to implement successful conservation programmes. Our earliest work identified the Sabangau forest as home to the largest orang-utan population remaining in Borneo – 12% of the total world population - thus bringing the region to the forefront of orangutan conservation efforts. This resulted in the forest becoming a National Park in 2004. We work in partnership with Indonesian NGO the Centre for International Cooperation for Management of Tropical Peatland (CIMTROP) based at the University of Palangka Raya, Indonesia. Through this partnership we support local conservation efforts by implementing or funding a number of community-led conservation activities, including a Forest Patrol Unit, Fire-fighting Team, and programmes of environmental education, developing local livelihoods and habitat restoration. Through these programmes we have succeeded in stopping illegal logging in 2005 and damming illegal logging extraction canals and drainage channels. Our research and volunteer program has been running since 2001 and is a focus for local conservation efforts, providing much-needed employment and financial benefits for the local community and replacing illegal logging as the main activity and source of income in the northern Sabangau Forest.

Why we need you.
We need volunteers to help collect vital research data for conservation. We have an ongoing program of research in which we monitor orangutan and gibbon density; forest biodiversity; and habitat structure, productivity, regeneration and disturbance. We have a number of monitoring stations in the jungle at which we collect these data annually, in order to assess trends in the condition of the forest and its wildlife. This is a large amount of data and we couldn’t collect it all without the involvement of volunteer researchers. We use these results to provide feedback on the state of the habitat, report on problems and assess the effectiveness or otherwise of conservation programs. We need intelligent, fit, enthusiastic individuals to join our team and help us collect these vital data. We offer a challenging seven week program of field research with opportunities to carry out your own research project, together with visits to the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Project and Tanjung Puting National Park. We provide you with training in field methods, a window into a career as a conservation biologist and, hopefully, an unforgettable experience!

Where we work
The Sabangau River is a minor blackwater river in southern Borneo, in the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. The Sabangau forest covers an area of some 580,000 hectares of peat-swamp forest, the largest single area of lowland rainforest remaining in Kalimantan. Peat-swamp forest is a little-known, relatively inaccessible habitat, yet remarkably diverse and home to over 30% of the remaining population of wild orang-utans in Borneo. Peat formed here under waterlogged conditions through the incomplete breakdown of organic matter – dead leaves, branches and trees – and this has built up over many thousands of years to form a thick peat layer up to 18m deep in places. Standing atop the peat is a rich tropical rainforest, with a huge diversity of plant life, including large timber trees such as ramin and swamp meranti, a wide variety of pitcher plants and sustainable commercial species such as rattan and rubber trees. Nine species of primate including the orang-utan, agile gibbon, slow loris and pig-tailed macaque are found here; other notable animal life includes the sun-bear, bearded pig, clouded leopard, sambar deer, civets, treeshrews, water monitors, pythons, over 200 species of bird including the rhinoceros hornbill, Asian paradise flycatcher, Wallace’s hawk eagle and the endemic Bornean bristlehead; and a large and diverse invertebrate community. Our base camp is the Setia Alam Field Station, sited just inside the edge of the forest approximately 1 hour by car, boat and small train from the provincial capital of Palangka Raya. Facilities here are comfortable, including accommodation in purpose-built huts, washing and toilet facilities, office and laboratory, kitchen, drinking water, generator, radio, security guard and cook. We have a network of trails and permanent study plots inside the forest, and also carry out research at a number of satellite camps in the heart of the jungle. We have built basic huts at each of these sites and camp out here for up to a week at a time.

What you will do
We run three expeditions of seven weeks between mid-June and mid-November. This is the dry season and the best time for carrying out research – although tropical downpours still occur from time-to-time. We require volunteers to assist on most parts of the project, for a minimum period of seven weeks with us. The team will initially work from base camp, beginning the research whilst acclimatising to the conditions and receiving training on the research methods. Later on we will visit some of the remote field stations where we will camp in basic huts, sleeping under canvas, washing in the river and working during the day.

We have three main areas of research: 1) Monitoring habitat condition and status of biodiversity. For this we survey orangutans by counting their nests; gibbons by triangulating their morning calls and carry out line transect surveys of other primate species. We survey butterfly and bird diversity and density in areas of differing logging disturbance. We measure trees in permanent habitat plots to monitor changes in forest structure at each of our monitoring stations. 2) Assessing long-term regeneration, succession, and productivity processes in forest subject to different disturbances including selective logging, fire, natural gaps and canal construction. We have a large number of plots in which we measure elements of tree size, health and productivity and seedling and sapling density, growth and survival. 3) Studies of orang-utan and gibbon behavioural ecology. We follow habituated individuals of both species in order to better understand their behaviour, social interactions, food competition and ability to live in a disturbed forest. Although this does not form part of the behaviour program we do offer the opportunity to spend a day or two following both orangutans and gibbons with our behaviour research team, circumstances permitting. Conditions can be harsh in peat swamp forest – it is typically hot and humid, with difficult terrain. It is therefore extremely important that all members of the team are physically and mentally fit. Each research project will be coordinated by a separate OuTrop staff leader, who will provide full training for members of his/her team. Volunteers will get the opportunity to spend on each of the projects running during the season. The success of the expedition relies on all members of the team helping out in all aspects of the project, from carrying out research to maintaining transects, from shopping for supplies in Palangka Raya to collecting and purifying water at remote field sites. In addition to the research work, visits will be organised to the nearby Nyaru Menteng Orang-utan Reintroduction Centre, where we will see orphaned orangutans being trained for re-release into the forest, and older orangutans already released onto the beautiful Pulau Kaja island. There may also be an opportunity to visit the Kalaweit gibbon rehabilitation project. A four-day trip to the scenic and diverse Tanjung Puting National Park at the end of the project is arranged. Here you will see proboscis monkeys and longtailed macaques along the banks of the Sekonyer River, and visit Camp Leakey, the site of the first permanent orang-utan research project in Kalimantan and home to many adult orang-utans successfully reintroduced into the forest.

For more information and an application pack please visit the Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project website.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

WANTED: Web Design Genius + Social Conscience

Please help us find a web designer/design company to join the Films4Conservation team. To this end we ask that our friends forward this email on with the hope that somewhere a designer spots the volunteer job they have been dreaming of.

!Health Advisory! This is NOT a paid position… yet. We hope to attract core funding for the Films4Conservation initiative, but we need to get the website in slightly better shape before we submit funding applications. Therefore we are looking for web designers who are interested in our goals and share a willingness to dedicate time to volunteering their skills and knowledge.

WANTED : Web Design Genius

Project: Re-design the Films4Conservation

Brief: incorporate cutting edge video technologies, innovative design and user friendly experience into a first class website that can act as a one-stop-shop for social and environmental videos. The site will also act as stepping off point to learn more about issues and the organizations who are driving campaigns.


Films4Conservation is a collaborative non-profit initiative bringing together activists from social and environmental groups, and helping them get their message heard at a national and international level. We aim to inform and entertain whilst using video to effect real change; firstly a change of perceptions, secondly a call to action, and third a pro-active change in policy.

Films4Conservation currently has a strong focus on South East Asia, due to the field experience of the members of the network. We hope to expand this with new member with different experiences.

The initiative coordinators won the FFC Conservation Filmmaker of the Year 2007 at Jackson Hole, and the current incarnation of the website won the Ramin Award at Wildlife Asia Film Festival 2007.

Films4Conservation is a network that includes both individuals and organizations, our aim is to continue to build the network, whilst using the site as a hub to maintain dialogue between the members.

We hope to build on this success with new team members with different skills.


We are looking for people who want to make a difference in the realms of social and environmental justice. Our team currently includes filmmakers and activists, we need skilled web designers to broadcast our message via the internet.

We are looking for people who love what they do, but wish that they could use their skills to help when it comes to pressing social and environmental issues. We are looking for team players who can think creatively, and engage in discussion with colleagues who are less web-savvy.


Integration: Seemlessly intergrate website with the Dailymotion video platform including the new HD player, provide video feeds for various podcast viewers e.g. Miro, exploit Flickr photo galleries, and (potentially) existing blogs.

Bandwidth: Our current plan is to use the Dailymotion HD player, so video bandwidth will be provided free, and there will be that additional catchment provided by our current success of getting our films featured on Dailymotion’s homepage.

Useability: The site should not only be easy to use for the site visitors, but the member of the Films4Conservation network should be able to add content with ease. The site will require that different users have different levels of access to modifying content and posting in certain areas.

Compatibility: Site must be viewable by at least 90% of browsers – so must be compatible with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc.

Promotion: Build in simple tools that encourage users to share content they find on the site, subscribe to feeds, blog about us, link to us, etc.

Search Ranking: Work on building our ranking on the search engines.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Orang-utan Tropical Peatland project seeks volunteers

The Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project is now recruiting volunteers to help with our ape behaviour and forest regeneration research in Indonesia from June - November 2008.
OuTrop 2008

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Calling Bahasa Indonesia speakers who want to volunteer for conservation.

We have some raw video footage on the Translate4Conservation blog that needs translating. Can you help? Visit the site to find out more. Current topics include:

Palm Oil & Forest Conversion
Conservation Messages
Sumatran Tiger Conservation

Friday, April 27, 2007

Project Manager, Democratic Republic of Congo programme

Project Manager, Democratic Republic of Congo programme
Conservation Programmes, ZSL (Zoological Society of London )
April 2007

ZSL has been working in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2001, with funding from the ’s Darwin Initiative, UNESCO, USFWS and currently the EU. Since October 2004 ZSL’s activities in DRC have been focused on Virunga National Park in North Kivu . Virunga is Africa ’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but has suffered dramatic wildlife declines and now suffers from lack of management capacity following years of civil conflict. ZSL’s activities in Virunga include ranger training, rehabilitation of park infrastructure and supporting ranger patrols. This work is conducted in close collaboration with the Institute Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) and alongside various conservation, development and humanitarian NGO partners. The current 1.5 million euro EU-funded project, previously scheduled to finish in May 2007, has now been extended to December 2008, and during this extension period will likely also run alongside a sub-contract from the EU awarded to ZSL through partners WWF.

An experienced candidate is sought to manage ZSL’s programme in DRC, to replace the outgoing manager. Main responsibilities include project management (staff supervision, budgeting, accounting, reporting, recruitment and strategic planning), capacity building (planning, supporting and where necessary executing the training of ICCN and ZSL staff and Congolese/international students), liaison and collaboration with partners and donors, fundraising (including proposal development), and representation and promotion of ZSL and its conservation work. The project manager will be responsible for a team of at least two other office staff and will work closely with WWF, WCS and other partners to develop the programme further.

The postholder should have as a minimum a BSc or MSc level qualification in a relevant discipline, excellent written and spoken English and French, good organisation and interpersonal skills, experience of living and working in west/central Africa and experience of managing large conservation/development projects, ideally with the EU or similar donors.

The position is based in Goma and Beni , DRC, with frequent displacement within and around the park, and is offered until December 2008, with possibility of extension depending on funding. A salary of ~£20,000 p.a., return flight from Europe to Goma, visa and insurance under ZSL’s group travel insurance policy will be provided. The position is to start as soon as possible (preferably in May).

Applicants should send their CV and a covering letter detailing relevant experience and skills, and including a possible start date, by email to ZSL’s HR Department ( by Friday 4th May 2007. Further details of the position can be obtained by emailing Noelle Kumpel ( We hope to hold interviews (in person or by telephone) around 10-11th May. We regret that we will only be able to contact applicants who have been selected for interview.

The Zoological Society of London is a charity registered in and : no. 208728.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Primate Research Assistants Needed

JOB TITLE 2 x Research Assistant - Orangutan and Gibbon Behaviour Project

HIRING ORGANISATION Orangutan Tropical Peatland Research Project

OuTrop carries out biodiversity research in the peat-swamp forests of the Sebangau Ecosystem, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Our major research interests are orang-utan and gibbon population status, behaviour and ecology, and habitat dynamics, regeneration and biodiversity. The orang-utan behaviour project started in August 2003 and has since collected over 10,000 hours of focal animal observations on 23 habituated individuals. The gibbon behaviour project began in July 2005 and has habituated seven family groups, one lone male and has identified five further groups for habituation. This is the only research project where the two species' ecology and their interactions are being studied side-by-side, and is revealing new and interesting insights into their behaviour as well as benefiting the conservation of the two species.

We require one research assistant to work on the orang-utan behaviour project and one to work on the gibbon behaviour project, under the supervision of the Project Leaders and the Camp Manager. Fieldwork includes locating and following individual apes in the forest, recording details of activity, feeding, nesting, vocalising and social behaviour; collecting food, faecal and urine samples; and obtaining GPS positions. Additional duties include processing samples, collecting monthly phenology (forest productivity) and nest-survey data and entering data into databases. Assistants will work alongside Indonesian research assistants on a daily basis.

After an initial training and handover period the assistants will supervise the day-to-day logistics and personnel of the behaviour projects, including organising and recording the staff-rota and holding daily checks and discussion of field data.

Applicants should have an interest in primate ecology and conservation

Prior experience of working in a physically-demanding environment is desirable, you must be physically-fit and not be put off by mosquitoes, spiders and snakes, the wet-season swamps, 3.30 am t0 6.00 pm follow days and hot, humid conditions

Prior experience of field research and field data collection preferred

Capable of working independently with a small team in an isolated environment.

Be committed to learning conservational Indonesian at the site as this is essential for the role

Be able to come to Cambridge, United Kingdom, for interview

No salary is provided for this position but all in-situ costs are covered

Accommodation is provided at base-camp and at our mess-house in the town of Palangkaraya. All transport to and from camp and meals at camp are provided. You need to cover your own international and internal travel to Palangkaraya (via Jakarta), medical insurance and personal equipment.

Initial six-month fixed term to start as soon as possible, additional six months-1 year if all parties are satisfied with each other at end of fixed term.


Apply by post / e-mail (preferred) with current full CV, names and addresses of two referees and covering letter. Please indicate whether you would prefer to apply for the orang-utan project, gibbon project, or have no preference. If applying by e-mail please quote reference PRIMATE ASSISTANT in message title.

Helen Morrogh-Bernard
Wildlife Research Group, Anatomy School
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Date of Advert
April 12th 2007