[VERY URGENT] Volunteer Position with Chimpanzees at Budongo from June 2023

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Clara Hozer

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May 17, 2023, 8:58:14 AM5/17/23
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I am looking for a volunteer to work at the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda for 4 months, starting in mid-June 2023 (in a month!!!).


Project

I am studying sleep in wild chimpanzees, trying to assess different sleeping patterns between individuals. I am also interested in the ecological, endogenous and social factors underlying these patterns and how they can impact fitness and cognition.


Field Site

The Budongo Conservation Field Station is located in North-Western Uganda, above lake Albert, which forms the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The forests is home to multiple chimpanzee communities. For more info, see http://www.budongo.org/about/

Budongo is fairly large field site which usually hosts multiple researchers at a time. We share the camp with local staff. Living conditions are quite basic: you'll have your own room equipped with a bed, a mosquito net, a closet and a desk. Food is mostly vegetarian. Solar panels provide enough power to charge equipment, depending on the weather. Mobile reception usually allows to send WhatsApp messages and have Zoom meetings quite properly, better connection can be found in villages close by. You can leave the camp twice a week, once to go to Masindi, the closest town, when you can buy additionnal food in supermarkets if you want, and any other stuff you need; and once on Sunday to go to a very nice place with a pool and a bar.


Tasks

The volunteer will collect observational data through daily focal follows. We follow one individual chimpanzee throughout the day, collecting general behavioural with a focus on sleep and napping. At dawn, we place an infrared camera on a pole above the nest to film the chimp while he/she is sleeping. The volunteer will always be with a local field assistant in the forest, and will assist in setting up the camera.

Work in the forest is demanding. We follow chimpanzees from morning till night (but the volunteer will have the opportunity to only work half days sometimes), often covering long distances in a day. This not only requires consistent focus, but physical fitness. The forest is often covered in thicket, parts of the forest are swampy, making it difficult to get ahead. The applicant should not be bothered by mud, insects or anything else that is typical in a rainforest.


Costs covered
  • One round trip (including flights and transport from airport to camp)
  • Camp fees and food
- Costs not covered: internet, additional trips either in Uganda or internationally, health insurance, COVID PCR test, visa (50 dollars).


Requirements
  • Ability to stay focused and motivated
  • Physical fitness
  • Resilience to isolated living
  • Awareness for and acceptance of cultural differences
  • Good at working (and living) in groups
  • Open communication
  • Fluency in English
  • Previous field experience is always a plus
If you are interested, please contact me via email clara...@unine.ch or via WhatsApp +33 6 45 81 29 71. The position needs to be filled as soon as possible!

Clara Hozer
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