Assistant Coordinator, Marine Turtle Protection Programme

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United States



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Project Biodiversity aims to inspire communities to take action to protect turtles, through direct beach protection, as well as grassroots education and engagement. As crucial part of our team, you will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the conservation of this endangered species, and ultimately help build a more sustainable Cape Verde.

Loggerhead nesting season runs from June to October, with hatchlings emerging from mid-August to late December. Throughout the season the team of Project Biodiversity is made up of local and international assistants and volunteers. Our work involves patrolling beaches (night and morning) monitoring nesting and to deter hunting, collecting data, conducting research, collaborating with tourists and local businesses, operating hatcheries, running education and outreach activities and organising beach cleans. Although there is a wide scope of activities within the project, protection of nesting turtles continues to be the main focus and whilst this can be stressful and tiring, it is ultimately highly rewarding.

The position of Assistant Coordinator is open to candidates with a commitment to a career in conservation and a particular interest in working with marine turtles. You will gain valuable field experience conducting the following:

  1. Track identification
  2. Collection of biometric data
  3. Tagging and identifying previously tagged females
  4. Nest relocations and excavations
  5. Training Field Assistants and International Volunteers

Project Biodiversity’s strategy for the sea turtle protection campaign is to put together a strong, motivated team of international volunteers and local Cabo Verdeans. During the nesting season, the international participants are an important asset for the patrolling of the nesting beaches, and are the biggest part of the field camp team. As Assistant Coordinator your main duties are to assist in the logistics of the field camp and the supervision of the team.

More specifically your duties will be:

  • Welcoming new volunteers and introducing them to camp protocols.
  • Assist with data checking and correct care of our hatcheries.
  • Assist the volunteer coordinator with group activities/challenges aimed at maintaining the wellbeing of camp mentality.
  • To assist the Coordinators with tasks such as;
  • Maintaining camp equipment.
  • Ensuring proper care of patrol equipment.
  • Organising and monitoring adherence to camp duties/cleaning schedules.
  • Assisting patrols during the night and morning with any needs such as relocation of nests, lost turtles etc.
  • Maintaining a safe and clean camp environment.
  • Transporting teams to and from patrol beaches situated away from camp.
  • Coordinating pickup of weekly food shopping and daily bread pick-ups.

In addition to these specific duties, you will also participate in night patrols to deter hunters, data collection, track identification, tagging of turtles and assisting with the training of the field assistants and volunteers. There will also be day patrols to relocate nests to the hatcheries or other locations on the beach. Following the end of the season, you will also be responsible for monitoring and excavating nests and releasing hatchlings. We need motivated, enthusiastic and flexible people with a strong desire to make a difference. You must have previous fieldwork experience on a turtle project.

You will be based in a camp on the beach for six nights per week, with the opportunity to spend your rest night in an apartment in Santa Maria. After a probationary period you will be expected to pass a written and practical test. Following your training period we would like you to lead patrols & supervise assistants, volunteers and local monitors. This is not a volunteering position and will give you solid work experience that will help you to continue your career in conservation, but living under these conditions can be challenging, extremely tiring and stressful: you will work during the night as well as during the day! A good level of fitness and physical and mental energy is required as patrols are long (possibly all night), conducted on foot and may be as long as 15km. Shift patterns vary but you will have 1 day of rest per week. Read the FAQs for more information.

Requirements for Assistant Coordinator:

  • Understand written and spoken English and basic Portuguese (minimum)
  • At least 21 years’ old.
  • Hold a full driving license with experience in off-road driving conditions.
  • Desire to work in conservation.
  • Previous fieldwork experience on a turtle project.
  • Experience in similar working conditions.
  • High level of energy and flexibility.
  • Good attention to detail.
  • Good level of physical fitness.
  • Used to physically challenging conditions (long walks, late nights, hot weather, insects).
  • Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities.
  • Able to work independently and show initiative.

Other Desirable Skills:

  • Other spoken languages particularly Portuguese, Spanish or Cape Verdean Kriolo.
  • Experience organising group dynamics activities.
  • Relevant qualification.
  • Previous experience managing volunteers in a similar project.

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