FIELD RESEARCH ASSISTANT
The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) was established in 2008 when their first project, The Lilongwe Wildlife Centre (LWC), opened as Malawi’s first wildlife rescue, rehabilitation, and education centre. Since then LWT has expanded their programmes to include an extensive national environmental education program, a strong force in investigating and combating wildlife crime, and an expansion of their wildlife research programme.
LWT’s Research Programme has field-based projects in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve (VMWR), Nyika National Park (NNP), as well as captive based studies at the LWC. Our recent projects include; 1) Vwaza Primate Project (primate and habitat assessment of VMWR); 2) Samango monkey census and genetics project (across the country), 3) Primate Reintroduction Project (VMWR, LWC), and 4) Elephants for Landscapes Project which aims to assess the long term status, ecology and spatial behaviour of elephants in Northern Malawi (VMWR). Our primate reintroduction project was the first and longest-running research project at LWT, beginning in 2012, and having since successfully release 4 troops of primates, both yellow baboons (Papio cynocephalus) and vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus).
The Primate Reintroduction Project aims to assess how reintroductions increase welfare for rescued and rehabilitated primates. This project involves intensive pre-release and post-release data collection and monitoring of various welfare indicators, including behavioural indicators (stress, activity budgets, social network analysis), physical indicators (body condition), and life history data indicators (births and deaths) through multiple data sampling methods, including individual instantaneous and continuous focal sampling and scan sampling. We also conduct extensive ad lib health data, perform predator-awareness assessments, and do veterinary health checks during the pre-release phase.
We are looking for a motivated research assistant who will conduct the pre-release data collection and monitoring phase of this project on a troop of vervet monkeys in preparation for their release into the wild early 2019. This position will be based at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre. This position is perfect for someone who wants to gain research experience, especially with primates. This person will be responsible for:
- Coordinating and conducting the research on the pre-release vervet troop daily.
- Learning individual vervet monkeys by identifying visual features and coloured eartags.
- Responsible for ensuring data is accurately collected, input, and stored
- Produce bi-monthly project and logistics reports, newsletters, blogs, etc as required
- Conduct all research activities effectively and efficiently to ensure that accepted standards of research and ethical behaviour are always met.
- Deliver other related duties as assigned by the Research Manager.
- Maintain compliance with all LWT policies and procedures and the laws of Malawi.
- Attend and contribute to project meetings if required
- Be flexible in the hours worked to fluctuating demand
Requirements, Qualification and Experience
- BSc or higher in related field (biology, zoology, conservation, animal behaviour, etc)
- Experience in data collection, organization, and analysis
- Self-motivated, hard-working, flexible, conscientious, and enthusiastic about the work
- Able to work both independently and in a team, as well as live with others
- Clean criminal record
You will live on-site at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital city. You will stay in a shared safari tent (sleeps 2 people) with a provided mosquito net. Other LWC staff and volunteers also live on-site.
Terms of Position
Support: This is a voluntary staff position with no salary provided. Accommodation and airport transfers are provided. You will need to make a food contribution of 2,500mwk per day (= ~US$3/2.5GPB per day) during your stay at LWC. Food is provided and lunch and dinner are cooked by the resident chef. Cleaning and laundry are also done by local staff. Personal travel, international flights, visas, vaccinations and medical aid, and insurance are not covered by the project.
Term: August 2018 – March 2019