Location : Brazzaville, with frequent travel to field sites, Republic of Congo
Reports to : Program Coordinator
Position type: 1-year fixed-term contract, renewable
Application deadline: 14 January 2022
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.
The WCS Health Program is central to delivering on our mission to save wildlife and wild places around the globe. Wildlife, livestock, and human diseases will likely have a significant impact on the future development of sustainable land uses, protected areas, transboundary natural resource management, other biodiversity conservation approaches, and livelihood opportunities in many of the landscapes and seascapes where we work. Our work at the interface of wildlife, domestic animal, and human health has demonstrated that a One Health approach can build new constituencies for conservation and strengthen existing ones, while mitigating a key threat to conservation.
WCS Congo Program Overview
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.
For over 15 years, the Wildlife Health Programme (WHP) implemented by WCS Congo in partnership with the National Laboratory of the Congolese Ministry of Health, has been working to monitor wildlife mortality and minimize the risks of disease transmission to communities. This OneHealth project raises awareness among communities in northern Congo and has set up an early warning system for unexplained wildlife deaths that covers more than 30,000 km2. The WHP is responsible for the care and release of African Grey parrots, as well as any other seized animal brought to the rehabilitation center of the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park. Also, this program covers an expanding disease surveillance and diagnostics program of research on bats conducted in collaboration with NIH and other stakeholders, as the trade and consumption of bats is becoming more common in urban areas.
We are looking for a motivated, dynamic Technical Advisor with a strong interest in international wildlife conservation, and a particular interest in issues at the nexus of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health to provide overall programmatic support to the WCS Congo Wildlife Health Program and our broader One Health strategic vision.
The successful candidate will be highly organized, with wildlife health experience, excellent communication skills, and a strong interest in field-conservation and capacity building. This is a full-time position.
The WHP Technical Advisor will support the WCS Congo WHP Lead and a small national team of staff. He/She will report to the WCS Congo Program and will collaborate closely with our Global WHP team of specialists based in New York and around the world. He/She will be based in Brazzaville, but significant travel to our field office in Ouesso and to our field sites throughout the country is expected.
The WHP Technical Advisor will have the following responsibilities:
● Ensure overall coordination of WCS’s wildlife health project portfolio – including technical and operational support to project activities to ensure effective and timely implementation for project activities
● Provide on-the-job mentoring and support to the WCS wildlife health national staff in executing project activities
● Act as primary point of contact for existing and future grants funding WHP activities in Congo, and assist in grant management and reporting on project implementation
● Contribute to achieving WCS’s national and landscape visions through integrating wildlife health activities into ongoing landscape conservation programs, and supporting the implementation of site-level conservation activities;
● Support the development of new One Health initiatives in Congo;
● Regularly communicate with the WCS Global Health Program to harmonize activities and external communications with the WCS wide ‘One Health in Action’ strategy
● Act as primary point of contact for partners and collaborators both inside and external to Congo, to ensure effective planning of activities and field missions;
● Assist in preparation of permits and shipping authorizations for export of samples for WCS and collaborator projects;
● Support the WHP Lead and in other WHP projects and activities across Congo, as required;
● Identify and document lessons learnt, and collect information for case studies;
● Undertake any other relevant duties as may be needed.
Qualifications and experience required
● An Advanced Master’s Degree in Science, Development, Conservation Science or any related topic would be preferred;
● Background knowledge of One Health, disease surveillance networks, outbreak response, and epidemiological tools used to monitor wildlife health, preferably with field-based experience;
● Demonstrated project management skills including workflow and budget planning, prioritizing tasks across multiple project components, mentoring projects teams, and delivering on deadlines
● Proven computer proficiency, particularly in word processing;
● Fluency in French and English is required;
● Interpersonal skills and the ability to interact with a wide variety of individuals;
● Willingness to travel, particularly to field sites;
● Interest in wildlife and conservation and a commitment to the mission of the Wildlife Conservation Society