You will be assisting the principal researchers for one of our projects in the following types of activities: primate surveys, assessments of habitats and food resources, monitoring primate behavior, and trap and release of certain primate species. Currently the focus of this research is on tamarin monkeys (Saguinus imperator and Saguinus fuscicollis) and callimico (Callimico goeldii), although information may also be collected on other primates.
1. Daily follows of individual monkey groups
2. Behavioral observations during follows
3. Positional data recording (GPS) on ranging patterns of groups
4. Vegetation sampling
5. Recording locations and monitoring plant feeding sites
6. Setting up and monitoring traps
7. Assisting during processing of animals once trapped (when applicable). This will include:
a. Photographing individuals
b. Recording data as obtained from the individuals
c. Storing biological samples
This is a great opportunity for a student interested in a graduate program in biology, conservation, ecology or anthropology. You will learn how to conduct surveys, record behavioral data, evaluate habitats and food resources, identify and track primates by sight and sound as well as radio telemetry, and really learn to survive in the rainforest. This project is unique in that it involves more than just observations of behavior. Depending on the season, volunteers may also have the opportunity to learn how to handle wild animals (while keeping in mind both your own and their safety) and record morphometrical and health data from wild monkeys. On-site training will take about 1 month.
During trapping sessions, research assistants will assist in trap construction, baiting and monitoring. Traps will be set up in locations frequented by groups and every morning will be baited with fruit. Volunteers will take shifts monitoring traps for activity, noting the behavior of monkeys in response to the trap. We will work from 6 am to 5 pm every day, and either return to the camp for lunch or take it with us.
During behavior sessions, volunteers will get the opportunity to learn to track primates by sound and sight. Follows will include tracking of the animals from their sleeping site one morning to the sleeping site they choose that night. These days will be 8-10 hours long and we'll be on the move except for when the monkeys take naps (usually in the afternoons), a welcome respite for both the researchers and the primates!)
Ideally, volunteers should have past experience working or living in a tropical country, preferably in South America. More importantly, a background in science that allows you to understand the scientific method, basic research terminology, and maintenance of data records is vital.
- Degree or expected degree in a life science or anthropology
- Knowledge of at least basic Spanish
- Good physical and mental health
- Ability to hike long distances (> 4 miles) in a day
- Ability to carry a moderately heavy pack
- Cheerful, optimistic approach to work
- Ability to be independent of family and friends for extended periods
- Commitment to the project during days of work (5/6 days a week)
- Ability to work with Microsoft Office and Excel for data entry/backup
- No fear of snakes, insects, etc.
Saki Monkey Project
You will be assisting the principal researchers at CICRA in the following types of activities: primate surveys, assessments of habitats, monitoring primate behavior, radio-telemetry of ocelots, and camera trapping of wildlife at the site. Currently the focus of this research is on saki monkeys (Pithecia irrorata) and ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), although information may also be collected on other primates and felids.
1. Surveys of motion-detecting camera traps
2. Daily follows of individual monkey groups
3. Behavioral observations during follows
4. Positional data recording (GPS) on ranging patterns of groups
5. Habitat quality assessments
6. Radio telemetry of collared ocelots to estimate home range use
This is a great opportunity for a student interested in a graduate program in biology, conservation, ecology or anthropology. You will learn how to locate saki monkeys, record behavioral data, evaluate habitats and food resources, identify and track ocelots by radio telemetry, and really learn to survive in the rainforest. This project is unique in that it involves more than just observations of primate behavior. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to learn how to track collared felids, and triangulate their positions in the forest (while keeping in mind both your own and their safety). On-site training will take about 1 month.
First, we will position traps along commonly used trails within saki monkey home ranges. They require constant monitoring to ensure adequate battery life and for data downloads.
We will also conduct full-day follows on three saki monkey groups, during which we will stay with the group from dawn to dusk. We will also collect information on group sizes and compositions. Individual primates will be followed for the collection of detailed behavioral data as well. During behavior sessions, volunteers will get the opportunity to learn to track primates by sound and sight. These days will be 8-10 hours long and we'll be on the move except for when the monkeys take naps (usually in the afternoons), a welcome respite for both the researchers and the primates!
Team accomodation consists of separate wooden cabins (2 people to a cabin, always one of your team mates), with a shared restroom within short walking distance.
Flying to Lima is available on a number of international airline carriers. With advance notice, it is possible to book a roundtrip ticket from Chicago or Washinton D.C., USA, to Lima, Peru, for ~$600-900 USD.
Travel within Lima can be more expensive if you fly LAN or TACA. Both charge higher rates for foreigners and it costs ~ $300 (roundtrip) to get to Puerto Maldonado, from which you take a boat to CICRA. Another airline that is small-scale and flies only within Peru is StarPeru – round trip tickets from Lima to Puerto Maldonado (one-stop in Cusco) can cost $140 -180. The station boat from Puerto Maldonado to the field station will be covered by your program fee when you arrive and leave the station.
Welcome to the world of field research. Currently, there is no research stipend and volunteers are responsible for getting to the field site and paying for their stay there. Looking into grants and scholarships will be a practical thing to do at this point (Explorer's Fund, National Geographic, college specific travel grants, etc.). We are willing to write reports on your work in case you require them for college credit or funding.
Ready to Sign Up??
- either a few more questions/clarifications regarding your application (via email)
- or, if you are accepted directly, a login and password to the portion of this website meant for registered users. This will give you access to reading material, travel assistance, and much more!