The Job

Research Assistants

Our focus is primarily on human-wildlife coexistence and possible mitigating solutions, but we welcome any other proposals depending on the feasibility and material available. General volunteering activities are ad-hoc and are scheduled when possible or seasonally suitable. You can join in on an existing project or carry out your own research project, either independently or for your undergraduate degree, Master’s, or PhD thesis. Your project can either be one from our list, or a project that you come up with yourself – providing of course it is in line with our research aims. For personal projects, we advise a minimum stay of three months. You can visit our research centre page for a list of wildlife species on the farm.

General Activities

  • Conducting mitigation trials, usually through observing and recording wildlife behaviour from a hide.
  • Walking electric fence transects to record species and circumstances of mortalities.
  • Walking transects to assess damage to crops.
  • Conducting counts of primate groups.
  • Checking camera traps in the field.
  • Identifying and tagging camera images.
  • Data entry.

PPP Projects

Currently, PPP volunteers are focusing on the habituation and/or behavioural data collection of troops of crop-raiding, dump-raiding, and wild chacma baboons (Papio ursinus); this is a perfect opportunity for those interested in primatology.

Baboon Habituation (Metsi Troop & Kotsi Troop)

  • We currently under the process of habituating two baboon troops in the Alldays area for a PhD project, one a wild foraging troop and the other a crop raiding troop.
  • In the early stages, this involves visiting areas that the baboons are known to visit (e.g. a waterhole), waiting for them to arrive, and habituating them to human presence.
  • In the later stages, this involves visiting their sleeping sites and attempting to follow after they depart; this can currently range anywhere between 20 minutes and 8 hours.

Baboon Collaring (Spilsby Troop)

  • For a PhD project, we are collaring baboons on a nearby farm. This involves trapping and then following the baboon troop to ensure behavioural data is being received from the collars.
  • This project will only be running for two field seasons, July 2021 – November 2021 and March 2022 – July 2022.

Behavioural Data Collection (Lahala Troop)

  • Data were collected throughout 2020 for a PhD project. We are continuing behavioural data collection on the troop with the aim of setting up a long-term study for our habituated dump-raiding troop in Alldays.

Electric Fences

  • We monitor electric fences for farms in the area to check for dead wildlife.
  • The intention of this project is to determine how deadly electric fences can be and to offer other solutions to crop-raiding for local farmers.

Baboon Sleeping Sites

  • We have been gathering data since March 2020 on sleeping site usage.
  • On Campfornis, baboons use baobab trees in the absence of sleeping cliffs.
  • This involves surveying sleeping site data from historical camera trap images, as well as continuing data collection by driving around the farm at sunset and sunrise to monitor baboon presence in baobabs.

Crop Preference Trials

  • This experimental project aims to determine which crop foods baboons are more likely to raid. Experiments are carried out on Campfornis.
  • We aim to share to share this information with local farmers to prevent baboon raiding and minimise human-wildlife conflict.

Crop Raiding Camera Traps

  • We currently have cameras on crop fields at six different farms with the intention of determining when raiding occurs and what foods.
  • This project involves carrying out monthly vegetation surveys to assess natural food availability, servicing the camera traps, and tagging images.

AWCRC Projects

AWCRC volunteers and students have the chance to study a variety of wildlife groups available on the farm and in the local area. There are various projects that are upcoming that you can get involved in.

Rock Hyrax

  • Habituation for “dassies” began before the pandemic, but we would like to pick this project up again for behavioural data collection and dassie biodiversity.
  • Experiments using Giving Up Densities.

Mongoose

  • We would like to study interspecies interactions between banded mongoose and chacma baboons; both species interact and raid at the dump in Alldays.
  • It would also be interesting to study their diet, which would involve surveys of their natural food availability and local dump food availability.

Teaching & Community

  • We are currently seeking teaching assistants to work in the local schools to teach English.
  • We would also like to branch out again into environmental education.
  • Litter picking.
  • Snare sweeps.

Elephant Shrews

  • We have small mammal traps that will be used to assess elephant shrew home range and elephant shrew biodiversity.

All research assistants will receive full training for each activity prior to commencing any data collection. Data collection can involve travelling to other farms in the area from our base at Campfornis. If you have a full driving license and are happy to help with driving the project vehicle, please let us know in your application.

Workdays can sometimes start with leaving before sunrise and coming back after sunset, but more often the days are split into morning and afternoon shifts. However, with only two project vehicles, all our assistants need to coordinate and may sometimes have to wait for a pick up. Each assistant’s schedule will vary from week to week and will be different to other assistant schedules. We do not have set days off but will depend on what research is taking place when you join us.

If, as part of your university degree, you do want to conduct your own research project, please ensure that we are aware of this upon accepting your position and that your project has been approved by us and your university. We will support you through the process, but the data collection needs of the project are prioritised over personal projects. As such, the time you are allocated to work on your personal project, aside from data collection, may be restricted. This may mean that you will have to focus on data analysis and writing up during your time off or when you return to your home country. Assistants completing such projects will be expected to give a short presentation of their methods and results to staff and other research assistants before they leave.

Teaching Assistants

As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to teach English to children with little or no knowledge of the language, and truly make a difference in their lives whilst making an active contribution to the community. This is the perfect opportunity for those seeking teaching experience.

Activities

  • Planning interactive and fun lesson plans or adapting pre-existing lesson plans that we have available.
  • Assisting with additional community projects, such as environmental education.
  • Working alongside local teachers.

Workdays will vary, depending on the coordination with the local schools and teachers, but volunteers will typically be dropped off in the mornings and picked up at the end of the school day, or split into morning and afternoon shifts. We ask that all teaching volunteers have hold a TEFL certificate and can obtain a valid police background check because you will be working with children.

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