Feeding station and breeding monitoring assistant

applications are CLOSED

estimated OPENIng date : 2022-12-15

The Sociable Weaver Project uses several automatic feeding stations to collect data on social network associations. These feeding stations operate throughout the year, and the project employs a field assistant to manage the feeding stations and also to assist with other field tasks, such as breeding monitoring. If you are interested in applying for this position, please read the description below:


Context

The Sociable weaver research program is a long-term project that uses the sociable weaver population at Benfontein Nature Reserve as a model to study the evolution and maintenance of cooperation. Monitoring of sociable weavers on the reserve goes back to 1993.

Benfontein Nature Reserve (property of De Beers mining company) is situated ca. 15 minutes’ drive from Kimberley (South Africa) and is a 12000 ha reserve on the edge of the Kalahari ecosystem. There is very good birding in the reserve (check ebird ) and several antelopes and some iconic mammals (aartvark, aardwolf, bat-eared foxes), but there are no large carnivores and hence the reserve is safe for fieldworkers. There are, however, venomous snakes (Cape cobras, Boomslangs and Puff adders) especially in and around the sociable weaver colonies! Therefore, to work at Benfontein it is important not to have a snake phobia and also to respect strict safety rules to prevent any accidents.

People in our research group reside at the Research Station within the reserve, a spacious house with office area and a garage/workshop that is shared by the field team. The project has its own field vehicles that are used to reach the study area (located 15-20 minutes away in the South of the reserve) and to access the nests.

Job description

Sociable weavers in our population are ringed with small coloured PIT-tags which are detected automatically when they perch on the RFID-antennas placed in our feeding stations. This is one of our main methods to study social associations. This job consists of operating these stations (every three days), and this also involves fixing any broken material and general troubleshooting in the field if needed.

In addition, this position also involves assisting with breeding monitoring and video camera work (placing cameras at the feeding stations and at the colonies, downloading videos, charging batteries etc).

Duration : We usually hire people for a minimum of 3 months but longer stays are encouraged.

Living conditions: The team lives and works together in a remote place. It is important to be able to endure long working hours and an intensive rhythm in the field while sharing communal tasks and life style at the house. The field team can vary, usually from 8-10 people between August and September down to 3-5 from November to July. Usually the team is international and good English knowledge is essential.

Snakes and heights: Given the frequency of encounters with snakes, fieldworkers should not have a snake phobia. In addition, the work often requires working on an elevated platform (on top of a vehicle) and sometimes using a step-ladder. As a consequence, this job is not well suited for people that suffer from vertigo or are afraid of heights.

Driving: All fieldwork at the project requires the use of vehicles in dirt roads. The roads do not require using 4×4 vehicles, but good driving skills are important. In addition, general vehicle checks and basic maintenance are part of the duties of anyone in the fieldteam.

Required:

  • Driver’s license
  • Not having a snake phobia or being afraid of heights
  • Being available for 3-4 months minimum

Desired Skills:

  • Previous fieldwork experience
  • Previous experince of team work
  • Good computer skills and being comfortable with electronics
  • Good troubleshooting skills

Covered by the project:

  • Accommodation
  • Traveling to and from Benfontein
  • Insurance
  • Stipend

The project will not consider applications outside of opening periods. We recommend that you to regularly check for changes.

In order to complete your application please download and join the following form with your CV and motivation letter and send them to us (as an alternative, you can select ‘copy email address’ using right clic). If your application is selected, we will contact you for an interview.


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