Research Assistant – Primate Project in Paraguay

Fundación Para La Tierra
Pilar, Ñeembucú, Paraguay
Job Category
Volunteer Openings
Last Date to Apply
Para La Tierra is a not-for-profit conservation organization that protects habitats and species in Paraguay through scientific research and community outreach. The Para La Tierra Primate Project is focused on the study of two of Paraguay’s five primate species – the Hooded Capuchin and the Black-&-Gold Howler Monkey. This project is the only long-term research into the behaviour and ecology of these species in Paraguay, and a unique opportunity for those interested in primatology. The Hooded Capuchin is the only member of its genus found in Paraguay and is critically understudied in the country. This species of capuchin is virtually unknown and its conservation status remains unclear. Due to extensive habitat destruction across their range in Paraguay, population numbers are predicted to be low and getting lower. For that reason, there is an urgent need to study this fascinating species, their behaviour, and their habitat. The PLT Capuchin Research Project is based at Nueva Gambach, a property within the largest remaining fragment of the critically endangered Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest in Paraguay. Para La Tierra has joined forces with Pro Cosara to provide a scientific basis for conservationist claims that the continued existence of the park is vital for the ecology not just of the immediate surroundings, but for the world at large. Our main priorities are: Monitoring home range, forest strata use and mapping of sleeping and feeding sites. Determining group demographics, dietary diversity and foraging techniques. Collecting faecal samples for future analysis. Habitat surveys of study groups home range. Para La Tierra needs volunteer research assistants to assist with the data collection for these important projects. Volunteer research assistants will work with the Primate Project Leader Rebecca Smith, a PhD candidate with the University of Aberdeen. The team spends Monday to Friday (3 weeks/month) at Nueva Gambach. Duties will include: following monkeys through the dense Atlantic Forest; carrying out observational follows capuchins, recording location, interactions and movements, marking feeding trees, camera trapping and collecting faecal samples. When not in field, research assistants' time will be spent at the PLT base in the city of Pilar where they will organise the data collected.
Qualifications: Required: - Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking long hours of fieldwork in hot/humid conditions. - Be capable of team work and following instructions. - Have a background in biology/anthropology/zoology/psychology or a related field. - Be interested in primate behaviour, ecology, and conservation. - Be hardworking, trustworthy, and disciplined in following field procedures. - Enjoy being outdoors and experiencing the tropical rainforest. (If you prefer to try field work with home comforts you can take part in the howler monkey project only). Preferred: - Knowledge of animal behaviour and data collection preferred but not required. This is an excellent opportunity for someone preparing for further study in primatology or wild animal behaviour. This program will give you first-hand experience of life on a research station as you have the chance to explore both the critically endangered Atlantic Forest and the city of Pilar, while learning the skills you need to progress in your biology career. You will gain experience in tracking and observing wild primates both in their natural habitat and in the anthropogenic environment, scan and focal sampling data collection techniques, techniques for collection and storage of faecal samples and seed identification from faeces, camera trapping and use of GPS units and mapping software. Paraguay remains one of the least visited countries in South America yet is also amongst the most friendly, safe and traditional. Paraguay is perfect for an adventurer ready to explore a different world off the beaten track. Costs - $925 per month for the 1st 2 months and $875 for each subsequent month. There is a 25% discount for South American nationals. This price includes all of your living costs during your stay with us. The meeting point is the bus terminal in Pilar. You’ll get three meals a day, a bed in shared accommodation with hot showers and access to WiFi. The fee also covers small administrative costs associated with your stay, and a small contribution to Para La Tierra's conservation and education projects. We are looking for volunteer research assistants to start as soon as possible and applicants must be able to stay a minimum of 6 months. So if you're motivated to do something 'Para La Tierra' [For the Earth] and make a real contribution to conservation in a little-known corner of South America, then send your CV to
Contact Person
Karina Atkinson, Executive Director
Contact eMail
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