Location: Mbeli Bai, Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP), Republic of Congo
Reports to : Director of Research and Monitoring, NNNP
Application deadline: 8 November 2021
Start Date: December 2021
Position type: 1-year fixed-term contract, renewable
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wilderness by understanding critical problems, developing scientific solutions and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in the creation of more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships needed to ensure that wild places and animal species thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.
WCS Congo Program Overview and Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park
Over the past 30 years, WCS Congo has been the government’s principle conservation partner, assisting the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in managing wildlife and its habitat in several of the country’s national parks, reserves, and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites WCS is developing and implementing actions for effective wildlife protection; community based natural resource management; ecological monitoring; scientific research; and environmental education. The program is the largest in WCS’s global portfolio and reports to the Regional Program for Central Africa and Gulf of Guinea. WCS Congo’s current portfolio of programs includes the management of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) through a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Congo, wildlife management in the substantial buffer zones of the Park, co-management of Lac Tele Community Reserve, a national program to support reform of marine conservation and resource management, and a substantial policy support program to the central government in Brazzaville.
The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact contiguous lowland rainforest in northern Republic of Congo. The forest is part of the larger Sangha Tri-National Forest Landscape inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. The park also contains forest clearings that offer a window into the lives of shy forest wildlife, creating fantastic opportunities for tourism development and conservation science
Mbeli Bai is a 13 ha large swampy forest clearing in the south-west of NNNP, with minimum levels of disturbance. Since 1995, the Mbeli Bai Study (MBS) has been a long-term conservation program that has provided unique insights into the social organization and life history of the elusive western gorilla. These findings have attracted significant international media attention while the continuous monitoring of individuals provides essential baseline life history data of this critically endangered flagship species. The MBS aims to continue to enhance our knowledge of western gorillas and ensure the long-term protection of gorillas and other large mammals in and around the NNNP, through applied research, capacity building of Congolese assistants, raising awareness both locally and internationally, and offering permanent vigilance against potential poaching.
We are looking for a rigourous and dynamic MBS P.I. who will be responsible for the management and implementation of a coherent and scientifically rigorous research program, for the supervision of research assistants, students, and volunteers, for the management of the camp, and for the communication of results to donors and the public. S/He will mainly work closely with the Mbeli team, the NNNP teams and the Director of Research and Monitoring, NNNP.
The successful candidate will be highly organized, with a strong scientific background, excellent interpersonal relationship and management skills.
The MBS P.I. will have the following responsibilities, in close cooperation with the Director of Research and Monitoring
• Ensure regular collection, entry, cleaning, storage, and back-up of high-quality accurate data per existing protocols and further develop/improve research protocols when needed and possible;
• Provide training, evaluation and oversight to researchers, research assistants, and students/interns at MBS, develop capacity building plan for each employee;
• Extend the scope of the MBS through the development of research projects and the establishment of collaborations with external research institutes and/or independent researchers;
• Oversee the development and implementation of revised and digitalized data collection and identification techniques as well as the development of a relational data base;
• Ensure necessary research equipment is well-maintained and correctly used, advise on procurement of (research) equipment;
• Ensure communication of (scientific) results to the scientific community, to relevant conservation applications, and to the general (inter)national public;
• Analyze MBS data and publish results
Fundraising, reporting and communications for the MBS
• Assist with developing fundraising proposals, donor reports and support identification of potential MBS grant providers;
• Provide monthly and annual progress/status report to the Director of Research and Monitoring, NNNP;
• Oversee development and publication of MBS annual report, and where time allows, other communications such as the MBS website, newsletter, factsheets, etc.
Site management and operations
• Ensure that the camp structures, equipment, and infrastructure are properly maintained and in good working order;
• Develop and implement work plans for the MBS research team, and tracker/camp team and oversee activities and planning;
• Act as focal communication point between MBS and Bomassa NNNP;
• Work with NNNP Bomassa to ensure that food/equipment/material orders, team rotations, inventories, and health and safety protocols and guidelines are up to date and correctly implemented;
• Advise NNNP Bomassa on construction, rehabilitation and procurement needs for MBS and support such projects, when applicable.
Qualification and experience required
• 1+ years postdoctoral experience in relevant field of research
• Proven track record of tutoring and research dissemination experience
• Project management experience (1+ years)
• Fluency in French and English; knowledge of Lingala is a plus
• Previous experience in living and working independently in isolated, physically and psychologically challenging environments
• Work experience in international settings
• “Roll up your sleeves” work ethics
• Preferred: first aid certificate
Interested candidates who meet the above criteria are invited to submit their application (CV and cover letter with the contacts of three references) to AfricaApplications@wcs.org
Please indicate « Mbeli P.I. » in the subject line of your email. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Deadline for applications: 8 November 2021
WCS is an equal opportunity employer that strives to recruit and support a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and are looking for future team members who share this same value.
The Wildlife Conservation Society is an international NGO headquartered at Bronx Zoo in New York City working to save wildlife and wild lands and to meet global challenges in over 50 countries in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the world’s oceans. The Africa Program is the largest of WCS’s field programs, with approximately 1,100 staff in 12 country programs focused across four major regions (Central Africa, Sudano-Sahel, East and Southern Africa, and Madagascar and Western Indian Ocean).
Our MISSION is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education and inspiring people to value nature. Our VISION is a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. Our GOAL is to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 16 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the world’s biodiversity. Our VALUES are Respect, Accountability and Transparency, Innovation, Diversity and Inclusion, Collaboration, Integrity.
EOE/AA/M/F/Vets/Disabled – END