Bat Research Intern

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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) and in partnership with the University of Bristol, UK. 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.

Summary:
Currently we are looking for a research intern to assist us in our data collection and field research in Liwonde National Park. We are seeking someone who can assist us with bat acoustic and fecal diet analysis for a period of 8 months. If accepted you will be trained in bat acoustic analysis and diet analysis in our urban research office in Lilongwe, and then you will be based at our field research camp in Liwonde National Park. Your primary role will be to conduct acoustic and diet analysis, but you will be able to assist in night time field work including harp trapping and mist netting as and when. (Check out our website for more details: www.africanbatconservation.org/volunteer.html)

Person Specification Summary:
We are looking for someone with:

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

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 the National Park, 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 Dr. Emma Stone and Matthew Town and alongside our ABC Community Outreach team
  • Conduct acoustic analysis of bat calls using AnalookW, BatSound and song scope software
  • Conduct diet analysis of fecal samples
  • Conduct some night field work (bat trapping and acoustic surveys)
  • Maintain, summarise and store data in a specifically designed Microsoft Access database
  • Create and edit maps in ArcGIS
  • Assist with data validation and preparing data for analysis and publication
  • Attend and contribute to project meetings if required
  • Be flexible in the hours worked to fluctuating demand
  • Fulfill all administrative requirements on time and accurately
  • Maintain accurate records of work activities and data entry in a Microsoft Access database

Requirements:

Essential:

  • BSc in conservation biology, zoology, biology or related field
  • Experience of working and living in field based environments, preferably in Africa
  • A confident communicator who is able to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • 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

Desirable:

  • 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
  • Experience of ArcGIS mapping

Contract Conditions: 

Timing: This is an 8-month position commencing from November 2016 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 our field research camp in Liwonde NP with some time based at our urban research office.

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

Accommodation: The post holder will be based at the ABC research camp with a kitchen, hot showers and flushing toilets. Accommodation will be shared with other staff and volunteers at certain times of year.

Costs and contract conditions: ABC will cover all work related accommodation, 3 meals a day when in camp, 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 Dr. Emma Stone on emma@conservationresearchafrica.org

Further project information: www.africanbatconservation.org/vacancies.html