The Alldays Wildlife and Communities Research Centre (AWCRC) based within the Limpopo Province, South Africa is playing a critical role in the research and conservation of local wildlife. We are looking for hands-on and passionate research assistants to join our team and help support our critical research into the conservation value of privately owned giraffe. The project provides a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure to behavioural ecology, working alongside experienced professionals. You will be working with giraffe, whilst developing a range of research skills, which is a perfect steppingstone for your future career in conservation.
Our project investigates the conservation value of privately owned giraffe on different properties in the Alldays area, a population which does not currently contribute to global giraffe population counts. We will be using the ‘wild and free framework’ set out by Childs et al. to assess the ‘wildness’ of these giraffe, indicating whether they are eligible to be included in such counts. All data collected on this project will be provided to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
Giraffe Research Assistants’ main tasks will be to collect behavioural data and conduct regular population counts on the giraffe on a single property; a number of properties are available. Other projects concurrently run at each site, which assistants can get involved with, time permitting. As the projects at AWCRC involve a social anthropological aspect, assistants will be expected to interact with local people, communicate positively, and have knowledge of all our projects so that they can be conveyed and promoted.
Salary and costs
This is a volunteer role so no salary is provided, however you will be exposed to a range of research techniques and therefore this could be an integral steppingstone to your next role.
You will need to cover your own accommodation and food costs at the research centre. Accommodation costs are currently ZAR 8,500 a month. Research equipment will be provided. Volunteers will also be responsible for their own airfare and travel to the centre, visas and medical/travel insurance. International travel to South Africa for research purposes is currently permitted with under COVID-19 regulations; we can provide necessary documentation for visa applications.
The research centre is located in a rural location so there is housing available onsite. Accommodation is two to six bed apartments with shared bathroom facilities (hot showers, flush toilets) and kitchen area equipped with a gas stove, fridge/freezer, tapped water, and electricity.
What we are looking for
Everyone at the research centre is passionate about the work they do, so we are looking for someone who is excited to make an active contribution to the project. We are open to your background, what is important is that you are passionate about giraffes and their conservation. There are a few qualities that make you more relevant for the programme: a background in biological sciences (or similar) or prior field experience with giraffe, the project’s field techniques or working in a southern African environment; being reliable, responsible and motivated to work hard; enjoy working as part of a team and be happy to operate under the authority of field research coordinators, whilst being competent working unsupervised; happy to work long and unsociable hours in sometimes very hot conditions. Applicants should be prepared for long challenging days spent on farms with little or no shade.
How to apply
Positions are available from August, as well as into 2023 and beyond. To apply for a position or for further details please contact Ellen Soeters at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a brief cover letter and CV. Please use your cover letter to explain why you are interested in working with us, to outline your relevant experience or transferable skills, and to indicate when and for how long you would like to volunteer, as well as where you saw our advert. We encourage longer stays and recommend a minimum duration of three months, shorter durations can be discussed on application, however. Please also include contact details for two referees. Applications will be accepted until positions are filled.