The African Conservation Foundation provides opportunities to volunteer on conservation projects.
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Volunteer expedition to the Lebialem Highland rainforests of South West Cameroon saving Cross River Gorillas and Chimpanzees.
The Cross River gorilla could become extinct within 10 years, unless we act now. South West Cameroon harbours two of the most threatened African great apes: the critically endangered Cross River gorilla - the rarest of the gorilla sub-species with 250-300 individuals left in the wild - and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee - also the most endangered chimpanzee subspecies in Africa. They are both keystone species in the montane forest ecosystems of the border region of Nigeria and Cameroon.
Volunteering on this conservation project in Cameroon will take you to work on the frontline of conservation, taking part in surveys of the montane rainforests - some of which have never been surveyed before - and in community education and awareness-raising activities.
Helping to conserve Cross River Gorillas and chimpanzees; working with local staff; participating in great apes surveys; environmental education activities at primary and secondary schools; being immersed in the indigenous communities of the highland rainforest; meeting with local kings, chiefs, teachers and children; visiting Limbe Wildlife Centre; and experiencing this unique, authentic African rainforest expedition.
The expedition will focus on great apes surveys and education and awareness raising activities. Each survey period generally will last two-four weeks (with breaks every three-five days) - the sampling design of which will be established prior to the start of the surveys. Former local hunters have been employed by the project to serve as field guides. Your life during the surveys will be nomadic, breaking camp each day to move to the next site - with the help of field guides and porters. You'll cover steep slopes, sometimes making for extreme hiking and trekking, as you follow family groups of gorillas and chimpanzees. You'll look for animals and nest sites, signs of feeding and habitat use, documenting observations through photography and GPS coordinates. You may encounter other endangered primates and hundreds of bird species and other wildlife. The project language is English, and you'll receive field training in scientific survey techniques and GPS tracking and mapping.
Education and awareness raising will form a key part of this expedition. Changing the attitudes towards great apes and improving empathetic relationships between children and wildlife is a prerequisite to sustainable co-existence and the protection of apes.
What difference does this project make?
Identified threats to the survival of Cross River gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates in the Lebialem Highlands are agricultural encroachment (the conversion of forest habitats to farms and plantations), commercial logging, habitat and great ape population fragmentation due to settlements and roads, and most especially hunting, trapping and the illegal trade of bush meat. There is an urgent need to complete the assessment of the distribution of great apes as well as the threats and opportunities for their conservation. Currently the project is establishing the first community wildlife and forest reserves, conducting environmental education activities and setting up reforestation projects. The project is also developing income generating opportunities such as bushmeat farming with the local villagers, in order to curb bushmeat hunting and provide the villagers with a sustainable source of protein.
Expedition Members must be highly motivated and physically fit as the environment is very demanding. Some trekking and climbing experience would be an advantage. The local climate is hot and humid; temperatures are ranging from 25-40°C. It is important that expedition members can work as a team and assist the local staff in the daily tasks.
Skills gainedVolunteers should expect to gain exposure to current fieldwork and processes and the working methods of small independent NGOs. The focus is to provide volunteers with the opportunity to assist in research projects, great apes surveys and attend workshops and meetings with local communities and schools. Training will be provided in great apes surveys and biodiversity monitoring, use of GPS and navigation tools, data collection, and environmental education.
Expedition Dates and Costs
15 July 2011
14 November 2011
2 Weeks $1,925
4 Weeks $2,765
To reserve your place on this expedition, please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and contact details (email), dates and duration of interest and we will send you an application form as soon as possible.
Volunteer Research Assistants: Carnivore Ecology and Conservation in South Africa
Written by Administrator
We're looking for two volunteer field assistants to help establish and maintain a long-term monitoring project of the carnivore populations (and their prey) within the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa. Our montane environment supports one of the highest densities of leopard (Panthera pardus) recorded anywhere in Africa, although caracal (Caracal caracal), brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea), civet (Civettictis civetta) and large spotted genet (Genetta tigrina) all form part of our study. Our research aims to focus on understanding the ecology of these species alongside an assessment of the perceptions and drivers of human-wildlife conflict in the region.
Volunteers will work alongside an experienced team of field biologists and will be involved in the following tasks:
1. Remote camera-trap monitoring of carnivores (and other mammals), including camera monitoring and download, image cataloguing and data analysis.
2. Leopard monitoring via GPS collars. Volunteers will play an important role in setting and monitoring traps, tracking via VHF receivers, data download, and collar retrieval.
3. Transect surveys, and scat/dietary analysis.
4. General data entry and analysis and preparation of reports and papers for publication.
We are looking for volunteer research assistants with the following experience:
1. A background in biology/zoology/ecology or related field and an interest in the behaviour, ecology and conservation of carnivores.
2. Be physically fit, and capable of undertaking fieldwork in a mountainous environment in hot temperatures at certain times of year.
3. Be capable of working well as part of a team, under the authority of field research coordinators, and be a valuable team member.
4. Be reliable, responsible and motivated when it comes to following research protocols and methodologies, and an ability to work at unsociable hours when necessary.
5. Relevant experience of the project's field techniques and of working in southern Africa is desirable but not essential.
No salary is provided, although payment for contributing to certain elements of our research project may be possible on an ad hoc basis. At other times you will need to cover your own food and accommodation costs at the research station. All research equipment will be provided. Volunteer research assistants will also be responsible for their own airfare and travel to South Africa and medical/travel insurance.
Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Housing is available at the Lajuma Research Station, which is equipped with hot showers, flush toilets, a gas stove, fridge, tapped water, washing machine, gas, firewood and electricity (220V). Volunteers may join one of the two trips to Louis Trichardt (Makhado) a week for shopping, visits to an internet café, landline phone calls, etc.
Duration of Appointment:
Positions are available from March 2011. We are looking for volunteers who are able to commit for a minimum of 3 months, although positions may be held for up to 12 months or longer, depending on availability. Volunteers able to contribute for a minimum of 6 months may take responsibility for certain sub-projects, including data analysis and publication where appropriate.
Application Procedure and Deadlines: