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

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