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 (DRC). Depending on interests and experiences, candidates will collect data for one of several long-term research projects on (e.g. bonobo feeding ecology, health and nutrition, development and maturation). Assistants will contribute to the long-term data base by collecting ranging, behavioral and ecological data for the site’s long term data set. Successful candidates will be trained by senior staff and PhD students and are expected to work with local and international assistants in the field. Data are collected from members of two habituated bonobo communities using a combination of hand-held Cyber tracker devices, Dictaphones, and long-hand notes.

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. 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 camp?s 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). Both French and English are spoken in the camp.

The field conditions are physically and mentally challenging and candidates should carefully judge their capacity and determination to be exposed to a life in a very isolate place, a hostile climate, and physically demanding work. 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.


Ideal candidates will express an interest in animal behavior, behavioral ecology and/or anthropology. Due to the remoteness of the field site and its challenging physical and social environment, all 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. Good 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.


  • Salary commensurate with experience
  • 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
    – *contribution to an international return flight of up to 800 Euro

People joining the research team 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.


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

  • https://www.neuro.bio.lmu.de/research_groups/res-fruth_b/index.html;
  • https://www.eva.mpg.de/primat/research-groups/bonobos/luikotale-study-site.html
  • https://www.bonobo-alive.org/index.html

Term of Appointment: 9 months, starting in January/February 2020
Application Deadline: November 30, 2020

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 ([email protected])and Dr. Barbara Fruth ([email protected])

Contact Information:

Dr. Gottfried Hohmann
Deutscher Platz 6
Leipzig 04103
Telephone Number: +49 341 3550 208
Website: https://www.eva.mpg.de
E-mail Address: [email protected]