• Volunteer Opportunities
  • Malawi

Conservation Research Africa

African Bat Conservation (ABC) is a non-profit conservation research project based in Malawi, operating under UK Charity Conservation Research Africa (CRA). ABC works in collaboration with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Malawi (DNPW) to conduct three core activities:

  1. Applied research for wildlife conservation management: to determine and monitor bat population trends, assess species threats and provide conservation recommendations; as well as a number of smaller student projects to facilitate and inform long-term conservation management of bat populations and their habitats. Project results are used to update IUCN species status reports and assist Government in long-term population monitoring and management.
  2. Education and awareness of bats and biodiversity and related issues through comprehensive community based education programmes, human-wildlife conflict outreach in collaboration with LWT and their Eco-schools programme.
  3. Capacity building to increase project effectiveness and long-term success by building capacity in ecological research, biodiversity monitoring and management for DNPW through training courses, attachment programmes and postgraduate research projects at MSc and PhD level.


African Bat Conservation conducts research on bats and insects out of our field research center based in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve. We are currently recruiting for a field assistant based at our research center in Vwaza to conduct field research in partnership with our community outreach workers under the supervision of Dr Emma Stone and our Senior RA Matt Town.

Person Specification Summary:

We are looking for someone with:

Inspirational Leadership skills: You will need to be a great leader, able to inspire and motivate the team.

Organisational skills: We are looking for someone who is highly organised and practical, with an eye for detail.

Management skills: you must have excellent interpersonal and management skills.

Maturity is a must, as well as the ability to work maintain the motivation and research output despite the many daily challenges of working in Malawi.

The position is based in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, and requires field work at night and in the day. Therefore you will need to be willing to work in the field at night, out of hours. This post offers an excellent opportunity for career development for a researcher who is interested in applied conservation biology, bats and human-wildlife conflict.

The post-holder will:

  • Work under the supervision of Matt Town and alongside our ABC Community Outreach team
  • Lead the team and project on behalf of Matt during holidays or when required
  • Conduct field work at night and in the day including:
  1. bat harp trapping and mist netting
    II. bat acoustic surveys (AnaBat and SM2 detectors)
    III. roost surveys (internal, external and emergence counts)
    IV. community site visits and outreach, to educate communities regarding bat conservation and management and install/advise regarding conflict mitigation
    V. tagging and radio tracking bats
    VI. vegetation surveys
    VII. and any other field work as required
  • Conduct acoustic analysis of bat calls using AnalookW and song scope
  • Maintain, summarise and store data in a specifically designed Microsoft Access database
  • Create and edit habitat and roost maps in ArcGIS
  • Manage volunteers and volunteer schedules
  • Attend and contribute to project meetings when required
  • Be flexible in the hours worked to fluctuating demand
  • Work closely and co-operatively with other team members and partner organisations
  • Fulfil all administrative requirements on time and accurately
  • Maintain accurate records of work activities and data entry
  • Contribute to project reports, newsletters, bulletins etc as required



  • BSc in conservation biology, zoology, biology or related field
  • Experience of working and living in field based environments, preferably in Africa
  • Experience of field research, particularly with bats
  • A confident communicator who is able to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • Experience of working with volunteers from diverse backgrounds and ages
  • Proven experience of working co-operatively as part of a team
  • Enthusiasm and self motivation for working on applied conservation research
  • Maturity, and a positive mental attitude, resilient, ability to muck in and get on with it
  • Ability to work independently under minimal supervision
  • Experience of data collection under minimal supervision
  • Hard work ethic, flexible and conscientious approach
  • Driving licence


  • MSc or PhD in ecology, zoology, biology
  • Experienced in harp trapping and mist netting bats
  • Experience in dealing with human wildlife conflict
  • Experience of off road driving with 4×4
  • Experience of managing own workload and taking responsibility for projects
  • Experience of ArcGIS mapping, digitising and home range analysis

Contract Conditions:

Timing: This is an 8 month position commencing in March 2017, extendable to 1 year.

Hours: Full time flexible working hours, on average 6 days per week, with night work.

Location: The position is located in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve with some time spent at our other field sites during survey

The post holder will get the opportunity to train and work with our field teams in our field sites in our field research camps in Liwonde, Kasungu, and Nyika National Parks.

Accommodation: The post holder will be based at the ABC research camp in a shared Safari tent with a bed and mattress.

Costs and contract conditions: ABC will cover all work related accommodation and travel costs including airport transfers. The post-holder will be required to cover flights, food, visas, insurance and vaccinations.

Application process

To apply please send a completed application form and covering letter (outlining why you think you would be suitable for the post) and a CV if you wish, to Matt Town: matt@africanbatconservation.org

Further project information can be found at: www.africanbatconservation.org