Research co-ordinator Bugoma Primate Conservation Project (urgent call: start date April/May))

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Catherine Hobaiter

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Mar 3, 2024, 3:57:33 AMMar 3
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Title: Research co-ordinator Bugoma Primate Conservation Project, Uganda

Expiration date: as soon as filled, ideal start date: April 2024, minimum commitment 6-months.

Position Description: We are seeking a Research Coordinator to assist in the management of the camp, long-term research data, ongoing habituation of the Mwera chimpanzee community, and conservation activities etc. at the Bugoma Primate Conservation Project in Uganda. The Bugoma Forest reserve covers an area of 400km2 in Western Uganda bordering Lake Albert, and has an estimated population of 500 chimpanzees.

The Bugoma Primate Conservation Project was established in 2015 by Dr Thibaud Gruber, University of Geneva, and Dr Cat Hobaiter, University of St Andrews. In 2016, we started chimpanzee habituation and in 2017 we started habituation with Ugandan mangabeys. For more information about the project and area please see the website: http://www.bugomaprimates.com

Primate habituation and conservation work is a physically and mentally demanding job that involves long days and hard work in an isolated rainforest environment; however, it presents an excellent opportunity to gain genuine field experience for those hoping to go on into graduate field research. We have worked with the Mwera chimpanzee community for over 7-years and habituation is progressing well - we aim to nest-to-nest follow our chimpanzees so field days are long. At the same time there are periods of weeks in which we have difficulty in finding the chimpanzees at all, and must still search for them over physically and mentally demanding 12hr days. Our site is located inside the Forest Reserve, and has housing with basic cooking, showering, and solar power facilities.

This position will particularly focus on 1) managing the habituation teams and the long-term site data, 2) managing the field-camp in the Bugoma Forest Reserve, and 3) assisting in conservation outreach, and community meetings. We employ a low-impact habituation protocol, and also employ remote data collection such as camera-traps, as well as traditional focal follows. The research coordinator will go into the field, but this is on approximately 40% of working days, other working days are devoted to data, team, and site management, as well as off-site conservation and project-management duties.

The position comes with a stipend of 640 CHF per month. Accommodation is provided, as is return international travel if needed (as well as occasional travel for project related activity in Kampala etc.). Food costs, which are around 100-150 USD per month, and other personal costs such as insurance are not covered. Mobile phone and basic 3G email/whatsapp connectivity is possible from camp, and reasonable connections (including video calls) are possible from the local village.

Qualifications: Some prior experience managing a field team is required as the conditions are demanding and the area has a number of significant conservation and human-wildlife challenges. Prior primate experience and experience working in subsaharan Africa is optional but preferred, as are skills working with data, for example R and QGIS. The position will be supervised by Dr Thibaud Gruber & Dr Catherine Hobaiter who visit site regularly, but are usually located at other sites.

We particularly encourage people from traditionally under-represented groups in our field to apply.

The successful candidate will be able to demonstrate how their direct experience or the skills acquired in other areas make them suited to the work. They will have an excellent level of physical fitness and be able to work independently under isolated and demanding conditions in a hot and humid environment, and with a small diverse research team.

Please apply with a CV and a short personal statement indicating why you are suitable and what you would like to gain from this position (1-page max). Please contact Dr Gruber (thibaud...@gmail.com) & Dr Hobaiter (cl...@st-andrews.ac.uk) by email. Once individuals are short-listed for an online interview we will ask for 2 letters of reference.

 

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