Duration: 3 months minimum, all year around
Macaw populations have declined significantly over the past decades. The main causes are illegal poaching for the pet trade and the loss of mature forest habitat, which macaws rely on for feeding and nesting. MRN's vision is to see a future with thriving parrot populations in healthy, connected forests, across their former ranges. This field program is of crucial importance for understanding the populations trends in the wild to help assess conservation action needed.
The role of the Volunteer Field Biologist is to help our Field Team Leader and our Program Manager to monitor Costa Rica’s wild macaws. This includes extensive fieldwork to locate, monitor, track and support breeding pairs and their offspring in order to collect data and improve rates of successful reproduction. During the non-breeding season, it involves monitoring known roosts and finding new roosts. This will take place in the rainforests of Sarapiquí, focusing on the wild and endangered Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus).
The field biologist might also contribute to population counts, mapping projects, reintroductions and other additional research for the outreach and the restoration program throughout their stay depending on the time of year. Successful applicants will receive orientation training and will have the support of specialists where necessary, however much of the work will be carried out independently, thus a high level of self-reliance and motivation is required. In addition to fieldwork, the field biologist is expected to help out in other areas of the organization as the need arises.
The successful applicant:
Will be able to demonstrate a commitment to, and wants to pursue a career in science-based wildlife conservation
Has animal handling experience
Has fieldwork experience
Has an independent work attitude.
Is comfortable being away from family and friends for long periods of time
Enjoys being outside and is not put out by extreme weather and temperatures (hot, rainy, humid)
Is happy to live communally in isolated and rustic accommodation, with limited electricity and no internet.
Is experienced and confident in their self-reliance skills.
Dedicated to learning and perfecting work-related skills in a month.
Great opportunity to experience Central America, off the beaten track and away from the tourist traps.
A chance to put all the theoretical knowledge gained throughout your studies to work by getting your hands dirty with real wildlife conservation fieldwork.
An unparalleled sense of satisfaction from supporting a non-profit wildlife conservation organization. You will become part of a team that aims to create a sustainable situation for an animal that is currently in great danger of extinction.
Real, hands-on, in-situ conservation experience and the satisfaction that comes with working closely with an endangered species.
Increased understanding and appreciation of different values and lifestyles.
Increased skills in creative problem-solving and time management.
Opportunities to work, and network, with avian and wildlife conservation specialists.
Learn and improve skills such as rope climbing techniques, bird ringing, map reading, data collection and using GIS software.
Taking advantage of opportunities and learning broader conservation skills that can then be applied throughout the organization.
A recognition certificate may be provided if placement is completed successfully.
All international and national travel costs to initially get to the site are the responsibility of the applicant. However, once on site, accommodation, daily transport, and utilities are provided. All team members buy and prepare their own food, for this we recommend you budget for at least $50 per week, or more if you like luxuries. Comprehensive insurance cover for the entire stay is a must, and should be arranged and paid for by the applicant.
- Full, manual transmission driver’s license (car and motorbike), Driving off-road on incredibly difficult terrain
- A high level of physical fitness – carrying heavy gear into the forest, followed by climbing 30 meters, multiple times per day should be expected, walking long distances (in some cases 3 to 4 km) Driving with care and confidence on roads where standards of driving can be low
A degree at BSc. level or above in a biological science or other relevant field
Basic level of spoken Spanish (desired to be fluent in Spanish)
Motorbike qualification such as a CBT, or overseas equivalent if not from the UK in order to drive a 125cc bike. Must be a license issued specifically for a motorbike.
Rock or tree climbing for either work or recreation. Knowledge of single rope access technique is beneficial.
Off-road driving (car & motorbike), particularly through deep mud and water-saturated terrain. If no experience in this area, you must be willing to learn onsite.
Wildlife handling, particularly large birds.
First aid training. Up to date qualification is beneficial.
High level of self-reliance such as previous fieldwork in developing countries, gold level Duke of Edinburg (UK), army cadets/OTC, Eagle Scouts, etc.
Essential personal qualities:
Dependable and responsible
Hard working, with early starts and late ends to the working day not being a problem
Motivated and positive with a desire to contribute
A passion for wildlife and nature conservation
Flexible, friendly, patient and optimistic
A sense of humor is helpful