Assistant for Bonobo Habituation

20 May 2019 Jobs

The LuiKotale Bonobo Project (LKBP) is looking for ambitious field assistants to join an international team of senior researchers, PhD students, and research assistants at the LuiKotale field site in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Candidates will join an international team habituating bonobos in the Ekongo forest. While habituation is still in an early stage and direct contact hours relatively rare, conditions are improving and contact hours are gradually increasing. New assistants will be trained by current staff and will work together with Congolese and international assistants.

The Ekongo camp of the Luikotale research site is located in a very remote area that can only be accessed by taking a small charter plane from Kinshasa and then hiking 25 km through the forest. Ekongo camp is about two hours away from the main camp (LuiKotale). There is no running water, phone coverage or internet access, and no electricity apart from the limited power supplied by a solar panel array. Daily communication is limited to short emails that are sent via the camps short wave radio system. However, satellite phones are available in the event of an emergency. Assistants are housed in sheltered tents and mostly eat simple, local foods (e.g., beans, manioc and rice). French and English are spoken in the camp and candidates with skills of the former language are preferred.

Overall, the field conditions are physically and mentally challenging. The forest is often dense and swampy; the work hours can be very long; and assistants are sometimes exposed to severe weather and tropical diseases. In addition, team members live in close proximity to one another and have to continually adjust to changes in the team composition. The search effort and the fact that bonobos are still reluctant to tolerate contact with humans make habituation a particularly challenging task.

Ideal candidates will express an interest in animal behavior, behavioral ecology and/or anthropology. The position may be particularly appealing to someone who is interested in taking on particularly demanding tasks. Due to the remoteness of the field site and its challenging physical and social environment, candidates must be (a) physically fit; (b) resistant to psychological stress; (c) self-motivated and able to work with minimal supervision while out in the field; and (d) tolerant of different social customs and beliefs. Social skills and the willingness to work as part of a team are essential, and assistants must be able to adapt to regular changes in the team composition. Previous tropical field experience and experience navigating with a compass and GPS unit are assets, but not required. Please note that the LKBP adheres strictly to gender equality and will not tolerate any form of sexual harassment.

300 Euro per month

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
- food (mix of mainly local food and some western food items)
- lodging (in tents) at the field site
- airfare for one domestic flight from Kinshasa to the field site and back
- *expenses for visa, letter of invitation and other administrative support
- *contribution to an international return flight of up to 800 Euro


People joining the research team in the field are required to have a health insurance that covers expenses for evacuation by charter plane in a case of emergency. Please note that expenses for the health insurance cannot be covered by the project.

Term of Appointment:
9-12 months starting as soon as possible

Application Deadline:

Applications include an updated CV, a letter of motivation that shows how the candidate meets the qualifications outlined above, references of three people (or their contact information). Applications should be send to Dr. Gottfried Hohmann (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and to Barbara Fruth (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Information about the research and conservation activities at LuiKotale are available at;

Contact Information:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Deutscher Platz 6
Leipzig 04103

Telephone Number:
++49 341 3550 208


E-mail Address:
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