Job Title: Team Leader - Forest Elephant Behavioral Ecology Project

Location: Gabon

Duration: 12-15 months

Job Description:
The Poulsen Lab at Duke University is looking for three enthusiastic, 
motivated volunteer team leaders to manage research teams, collect and 
process scientific data as part of the Forest Elephant Behavioral 
Ecology Project. This project studies 34 forest elephants fitted with 
GPS collars.  The research focuses on tracking elephants from a distance 
to study their diet, movement and social behavior.  Each team will 
collect plants for chemical analysis, fecal samples for genetic analysis 
and record habitat variables, phenology and weather.  Team leaders will 
also be responsible for monthly reporting of activities and 

While working in the challenging tropical forest environment, candidates 
will be rewarded with the opportunity to observe animal species in their 
natural habitats. Candidates will learn about tropical ecology, botany, 
natural history, and conservation biology, as well as what it takes to 
organize field projects in Central Africa. 
- Hiring, training and managing two Gabonese field assistants. 
- Tracking and collecting field data on GPS collared elephants.
- Collecting, storing and potentially exporting ecological samples.
- Working with collaborators in French-speaking Gabon.
- Reporting regularly to Duke and Gabonese government collaborators.

Applicants must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in biology, 
ecology or a wildlife-related field.  Candidates must be independent, 
reliable and responsible with the ability to work in challenging 
environments.  A successful candidate will thrive in small team settings 
and work across cultures.  Gabon is a French-speaking country and team 
leaders will be required to communicate primarily in this language.  
Candidates with previous experience in the tropics, especially Africa 
will be given preference.

Physical Requirements:
Elephants often occur in extremely remote and challenging habitats, 
including swamps and mountainous terrain. Candidates must be able to 
hike from 6-25 km (3-15 miles) daily in hot, muggy and even rainy 
weather, while carrying a heavy backpack of camping and research 
equipment. Research expeditions may entail camping in a tent for more 
than a week at a time. 

Support Provided:
- Food and lodging at the field site
- Visa fees
- Work-related travel within country
- Round trip airline travel to Gabon will be reimbursed at completion of 
a successful term of work
- Field equipment necessary for camping and conducting research

Candidates are required to cover:
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- All vaccinations required for the country prior to departure

To Apply: 
Interested applicants may send a CV and cover letter to:
 amelia.meier at with the subject line "(candidate's last name) 
- Team Leader Position.”

If your application is short-listed, you will be required to provide 2 
letters of reference (this can also be submitted with the initial 
application email if desired).  Skype interviews will be held after 
reviewing the letter of reference. A portion of the interview will be in 

To read more about the Poulsen Lab and what we do visit:

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