Head of Research and Biomonitoring Unit Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park _Republic of Congo

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Marie Joseline Ihirwe

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Apr 2, 2024, 7:14:53 PMApr 2
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Head of Research and Biomonitoring Unit  

Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park 

Republic of Congo 

 

Job Description  

 

Location: Bomassa, Headquarters of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) 

Reports to: NNNP Park Director 

Start Date: June 2024 

Position Type: Full-time 

Internal liaison:  NNNP Department leads, WCS global thematic teams. 

Expected travel:  Local travel to research sites with some international travel as required 

 

Organization Background 

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct utilization of natural resources. 

 

Republic of Congo Program Overview 

Over the past 25 years WCS Congo has been the government’s principle conservation partner, assisting the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in managing wildlife and its habitat in several of the country’s national parks, reserves, and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites WCS is developing and implementing actions for effective wildlife protection; community based natural resource management; ecological monitoring; scientific research; and environmental education. The program is the largest in WCS’s global portfolio and reports to the Regional Program for Central Africa and Gulf of Guinea. WCS Congo’s current portfolio of programs includes the management of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park through a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Congo, wildlife management in the substantial buffer zones of the Park, co-management of Lac Tele Community Reserve, a national program to support reform of marine conservation and resource management and a substantial policy support program to the central government in Brazzaville.  

 

The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact contiguous lowland rainforest in northern Republic of Congo. The forest is part of the larger Sangha Tri-National Forest Landscape inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. The park also contains forest clearings that offer a window into the lives of shy forest wildlife, creating fantastic opportunities for tourism development and conservation science.  

 

Job Summary :  

 

This position oversees the management of one of the NNNP’s five departments – Research and Biomonitoring. The principle objective of this department is to provide essential data to inform management decisions as well as ensuring capacity building of national research assistants, students and researchers. S/he will oversee the coordination and development of research initiatives as well as long-term monitoring programs. The research program includes long- term biomonitoring activities in the park and in its periphery, as well as three permanent research sites in the park. The Research and Monitoring Unit Head will have extensive experience in research design, implementation, analysis, and publication. The successful candidate will be highly organized, and have excellent interpersonal and management skills.  

 

Major Responsibilities: 

  • Overall supervision of the Research and Monitoring Unit annual workplan and staff (currently including ~35 permanent positions). 

  • Participate in strategic planning and reporting in accordance with the park needs. 

  • Ensure review of data quality and research design. 

  • Develop new research initiatives and partnerships which adhere to the conservation strategy of the park management plan. 

  • Oversee all aspects of data management, storage, back-up and analysis including GIS. 

  • Coordination of the workplan of existing research sites, including overseeing staff managing logistics and operations for research missions. 

  • Supervise gorilla habituation efforts and work with the park Tourism team to ensure adherence of tourism activities to best practices for wildlife conservation, and monitor impact of tourism on wildlife. 

  • Ensure adherence to national and international research protocols, regulations, and standards. 

  • Contribute to OH projects in NNNP; Work closely with the WCS Health Program to ensure researchers and staff adhere to best practice protocols and that a health monitoring system is in place. 

  • Coordinate training and capacity building of national and international researchers. 

  • Ensure regular and standardized data collection and reporting. 

  • Supervise and coordinate regular landscape-wide wildlife monitoring survey (every 5 years, next one in 2027) and long-term ecological data collection, including system of monitoring at specific sites (baïs) and established transects and plots. 

  • Maintain and develop collaborations with national and international research institutions. 

  • Assist in the overall promotion of NNNP as a center for research and biomonitoring by building collaborations with external research institutions, promoting publication. 

Minimum Requirements: 

  • PhD in Biology, Ecology, Conservation Science or related field. 

  • At least 5 years’ experience conducting or overseeing research programs 

  • Demonstrable experience in peer-reviewed publication. 

  • Experience with tutoring students and research dissemination are preferred.  

  • Ability to manage teams, and work in a multicultural context. 

  • Previous research or conservation experience in Africa, ideally Central Africa, is highly preferred. 

  • Good communication skills, both written and verbal; English & French required; knowledge of Lingala is an asset. 

  • Effective “roll up the sleeves” work ethic, with attention to detail. 

  • Experience with Distance-based and camera trapping surveys a plus. 

  • Willingness to live in a remote location with few amenities and in a multi-cultural social environment. 

  • Commitment to the values and mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

  • How to apply

    Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through the application link. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and that the post will be open until appropriate candidate is found.
    ​​​​​​​
    WCS is an equal-opportunity employer dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.

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