Overview

Our RAs have the opportunity to help with any of the accruing tasks throughout the field season. The work schedule will be very dynamic and will be structured as demanded by the workload, but usually includes nightly patrols of 5-8 hours six nights out of the week with one day off per week. This means long hours, little sleep, no weekends, no holidays, no fixed finishing times, and no predictable days off.

Each successful applicant will receive a training on-site on the incurring tasks. Some work will be during the day (e.g. preparing and cleaning equipment, transferring data, beach cleanups, and surveys). Major parts will be at night, searching for nesting females. Ultimately, we are expecting our RAs to be dependable assistants that help with any of our daily tasks and the ongoing research and being able to solve problems independently and proactively.

Our RAs will live in a locally run cabina in Gandoca in shared quarters, and the local host will prepare three daily meals. Successful applicants are part of a small research team, and will spend much time with the other team members, due to long working hours, and shared quarters. Our local field staff only speaks Spanish (including the beach coordinator), and the research team will be a mix of different nationalities and cultures.

Managing Expectations:

We are based in the tropics, so temperatures are hot (32 °C/ 89 °F) and humid year-round and it rains almost every day for a few hours. We also have many bugs that range from flies and beetles to more annoying ants and the stinging blood-sucking variants (e.g. mosquitoes, sand flies,  chiggers, etc.), which are our close companions.

The nature of our work, conserving endangered species, means that we are working with animals that have decreased in numbers and are just not very abundant anymore. We cover a large area in shifts and hence, you should not expect to see hundreds of adult turtles during your time in the project but rather a single nesting female every few nights. So, you should be prepared to walk many nights without seeing a single nesting female, being miserable from sleep deprivation, too much rain, and overall rustic conditions. On the bright sight, you will get a realistic view into the life of a marine conservationists and you should see a fair amount of baby turtles during your time in the project as we produce between 12 and 20K babies each season. And keep in mind, our work is essential for the survival of these populations and your support as RA is invaluable.

Our expectations :

A dedication to a positive and respectful working environment is crucial. We like our RAs to be highly enthusiastic individuals that understand the importance of our work, and that are willing to complete the job meticulously and with dedication. We need our assistants to pull their weight and be ready to pitch in and carry more if another team member is unable to. Successful applicants will be flexible individuals that can focus on a variety of tasks (nightly patrols, in-water water work, data collection, handling animals, handling equipment, data entry, equipment maintenance, helping clean our workspace, etc.).

Large parts of our work encompass walking for long distances in soft sand at night without light and climbing steep and muddy trails. The climate is very warm and humid with frequent rain at any hour of the day. Thus, for the work as RA, adequate physical fitness is a requirement, as well as being comfortable on a beach at night without light and in potentially harsh weather.

Requirements:

  • 18+ years old
  • Student or a recent graduate in biology, wildlife management, ecology, marine biology, or similar or have relevant field experience etc.
  • Willingness to sign an indemnification/waiver (!)
  • Travel Health Insurance that covers Covid-19 related expenses
    Fully vaccinated with mRNA vaccine against Covid-19 (e.g. MODERNA, Pfizer/BioNTech)
  • Excellent physical fitness and ability to walk long distances in soft sand and steep terrain
  • Being comfortable living in remote, shared, and rustic conditions (no AC, no internet, only cold showers, shared rooms, next major hospital several hours away)
  • Professional demeanour
  • Positive and upbeat personality, even in the face of severe sleep deprivation
  • Ability to carry 50 pounds, and restrain a 90-pound animal for several hours
  • Proficiency in Spanish highly desired, but not a requirement
    Previous experience conducting fieldwork desirable
  • Experience working abroad, under harsh weather conditions, especially in a tropical country desirable
  • Flexible, patient, and able to follow instructions

Benefits of working with us:

Working as an RA for us is a unique opportunity to gain valuable field experience and knowledge relevant to the conservation, research, and management of endangered marine species (or expand on existing experience):

  • Learn and practice sea turtle research and conservation methodologies and general field biology skills with our experienced team;
  • Practical training in data collection and handling of endangered wildlife;
  • Access to staff and biologists for gaining insight into professional conservation work;
  • Opportunity to learn or improve your Spanish language or your English skills with the local staff and international RAs.