Want to learn more about neotropical large and small mammal species, mammal census techniques, and mammal field work? Want to spend time living and learning about the jungle in the beautiful country of Belize? Want to learn field ecology skills from professional wildlife biologists, and tracking skills from local hunters and trackers? Then this is the internship for you!
The goal of this internship is to give the student various experiences in tropical mammalian field studies that will aid the student in developing their skills for a variety of future education and employment opportunities. The main component of the project will be to work with Ecorana tutors and T.R.E.E.S staff in establishing a long-term mammal monitoring project (observational surveys through track counts and remote camera sensing techniques, capture-mark-recapture for small mammals). These baseline data will contribute to future ecological studies on mammal movement and population abundance on the T.R.E.E.S property and elsewhere in the adjacent protected areas in the Maya Mountains. Ultimately these data will feed into Belize’s National Biodiversity Monitoring Program and the Central American Widlife Biological Corridor project. Although bats are the most speciose mammal group in Belize, the intern will not be conducting bat work through the course of this internship unless the intern is specifically trained in the capture, handling, and identification of bats and has an up-to-date rabies vaccination.
In addition to the survey work to be conducted at the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center, the intern(s) will also have the opportunity to visit other mammal conservation projects in Belize and volunteer for a few days on them, including with the University of Belize/Panthera joint project working on the Central Belize Wildlife Corridor project. In working on this project the intern will have an opportunity to trap and capture various species of mammals to be fitted with radio-collars, and practice radio-tracking them.
We are looking for interns who are independent yet willing to work in a team environment. Applicants should have a certain level of mammal identification and tracking skills and should be interested in improving their techniques for proper identification and survey methods applicable in the tropics. Applicants should have a desire for learning about the incredible biodiversity of Belize through systematic field surveys and data collection.
- Learn tropical mammals by sight, sound, and signs in the Maya Mountains.
- Learn and perform a variety of mammal surveys that will be most adequate to answer project questions, including: visual encounter track/scat surveys along transect lines, remote camera sensing techniques (baited and unbaited stations), small mammal trapping, bat mist-netting, and capture-mark-recapture techniques.
- Work with T.R.E.E.S researchers, international collaborators, and other interns on the development of protocol design and write protocols for continuing field work and data collection.
- Implement protocols in the field using the help of T.R.E.E.S staff and Ecorana tutors to find the best places to set-up long-term monitoring locations for cameras and small mammal traps.
- Be trained on use of GPS to navigate to and mark survey locations.
- Share knowledge with locals and with other fields.
- Learn to enter data in a systematic manner and compile it into a scientific report with introduction and literature review, methods, results (including basic statistical analysis), and discussion using peer-reviewed scientific articles.
- Complete a short 4-5 page summary report that will help to establish future research protocols.
- Depending on involvement in project, may have opportunity to collaborate on future publications.
- Scientific research and writing skills (be able to navigate through peer-reviewed resources and write a basic literature review).
- Previous experience working on mammal field studies in the temperate zone (minimum) or in the tropics (asset).
- Previous experience conducting field work at night (after dark).
- Knowledge of mammal inventorying and monitoring techniques an asset.
- Knowledge of bat capture techniques (mist-netting), identification/handling of bats, and rabies vaccination an asset (but not required as part of this project unless intern can lead all aspects of this component).
- Be physically fit (spend long hours in the field under often difficult conditions).
- Experience using Microsoft Office Suite including spreadsheet and other database programs
- Experience using statistical analysis software an asset.
- Flexible easy-going attitude.
Physical Requirements and Work Conditions
- Ability to tolerate high temperature and high humidity.
- Ability to work in environments where exposure to spiky plants, toxic vines, scorpions, spiders, ticks and biting flies is common. In addition, it is the jungle; venemous snakes are uncommon but present.
- Ability to live in remote conditions away from electronic ammenities.
- Possible indoor work is performed in a typical office setting.
- Ability to lift, carry, and position objects weighing up to 30 pounds.
- Gain a working knowledge of mammal inventorying and monitoring methods.
- Learn Central American mammals by sight, sound, and sign.
- Work with biologists in a professional setting.
- Opportunity to attend personal/professional development days with local experts on a range of projects.
- Opportunity to live in and enjoy the scenery, wildlife, and cultural resources of a beautiful country in Central America.
- Opportunities to work with other interns, guides and locals from diverse backgrounds that share a common interest in preserving and protecting our natural lands.
- Multiple positions available. But we are looking to fill 1 positions between June 15th- July 30th, 2016.
- No application deadline.
- Start-date: Positions available year-round for this continuing monitoring project.
- Length of position: minimum 6 weeks; longer is preferable.
- Schedule: 30 hours per week, Monday–Friday.
Ecorana fees for internships for international students are $25 US/day. This includes lodging and use of all facilities at the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center, training on methodologies by Ecorana biologists and local T.R.E.E.S professionals in their field of study, as well as mentorship from Ecorana tutors for the duration of the intended internship. International students must have international travel medical insurance during their stay in Belize. At the discretion of the T.R.E.E.S managers, local Belizean students (especially those not staying on site) can have fees reduced or exchanged for work. All interns (international and local) are required to pay for transportation to/from the site and their food while on site (cooking facilities provided).
Please indicate the position title in your email subject line. No phone calls please.
For more information about Ecorana Environmental Ltd. and their programs, visit: www.ecorana.ca
For more information about the internship center (T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center), visit: www.treesociety.org