Research Assistant - Ozouga Chimpanzee Project, Gabon

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Ozouga Society

Apr 8, 2024, 12:03:04 PMApr 8
Research Assistant position Ozouga Chimpanzee Project (OCP), Gabon

We still have ONE vacancy for a motivated Research Assistant (RA) to collect behavioural data on central chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) living in the Loango National Park, Gabon. The OCP is a long-term field site conducting research on many aspects of chimpanzee behaviour, health, and cognition (For more information see:

Responsibilities include:
The RA will receive an initial training of one week at the Comparative BioCognition Group, Institute of Cognitive Science (IKW) in Osnabrück, Germany, by members of the OCP on the data collection methods and health and safety protocols. After the initial training, the RA will travel to the Loango National Park in Gabon. The RA will be responsible for conducting daily focal animal follows on the habituated chimpanzees of the OCP. This entails following a focal chimpanzee all day long, observing and documenting aspects of their behaviour. The RA will also collect fecal and urine samples, demographic and nutritional information and potentially other data needed for specific projects (e.g., audio or video recordings). Assistance with phenology transects and camera trap maintenance will also be required. The RAs are locally supervised by the OCP field-site manager and remotely by a team of experts.

Qualifications include:

The RA should have a Bachelor/Master in Biology, Anthropology, Zoology and/or Psychology with a strong interest in behavioral ecology/animal behavior. Field experience and knowledge of behavioral data collection will be a strong advantage.

Living conditions are extremely basic. There is no running water, very limited phone coverage and internet access, and only basic solar power for electricity. Satellite phones are available in the event of an emergency. Team members live in wooden huts and the food is local and basic. Additionally, the challenging aspects of living in remote tropical conditions, coupled with the necessity of both living and collaborating with team members, underscore the importance of stress resilience, excellent social skills, and maintaining professionalism in the work environment. Working with the chimpanzees is also physically demanding, so excellent physical and psychological conditions are necessary. The RA needs to speak French AND English, and needs to be able to work independently after the training in the forest. Note that the OCP adheres strictly to gender equality and will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment.

Compensation and training:
We offer the initial training of about 1 week (depending on existing knowledge and experience) by experts from the OCP in Osnabrück, Germany. Afterwards we expect a tenure of 12 months in the Loango National Park. The research assistant receives free accommodation and a compensation of 200€ per month for living expenses etc and a contribution of 50€ towards health insurance costs. After the successful tenure, we reimburse return international flights from Düsseldorf to Libreville, as well as visa costs (to a max of 1000 €).

Please apply by sending a motivation letter, a CV (including your experience with behavioural data collection), and contact information for two referees to Dr. Tobias Deschner ( and Prof. Simone Pika (, and state “RA OCP 2024” in the subject line.

We will start evaluating the applications on April 15th, 2024 and continue until the position is filled. The start of the appointment will be as soon as possible.

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