We’re ZSL, an international conservation charity. Through our unrivalled animal experts in our two zoos (London zoo and Whipsnade Zoo), the work of our pioneering scientists, our dedicated conservationists, our purpose is to inspire, inform and empower people to stop wild animals going extinct.  Our vision is a world where wildlife thrives and we’re working every day to achieve this. From investigating the health threats facing animals, to helping people and wildlife live alongside each other, we are committed to bringing wildlife back from the brink of extinction.

Role Profile

The Institute of Zoology of the Zoological Society of London is seeking a dedicated wildlife officer to conduct cetacean observations from the fisheries patrol vessel in the Chagos Archipelago. The successful candidate will be expected to spend roughly 6 months per year at sea, typically on a two-months on, two-months off basis. In addition to recording cetaceans and other wildlife (seabirds, sharks, rays etc.) and prey species (flying fish) during the routine patrols of the vessel, the wildlife officer is expected to support the wider activities of the Marine Science programme.

This is a 3 year fixed term full time contract. we particularly welcome applicants from the Chagossian community and foreign nationals from countries in the wider Indian Ocean region (Sri Lanka, India, Seychelles, etc.)All training in wildlife survey methodology, wildlife taxonomy, and science communication and outreach will be provided.

Cetaceans are charismatic yet vulnerable marine animals that capture the public imagination whilst serving a vital ecological role in our oceans. But many whale populations are still recovering from historic whaling and cetaceans worldwide are threatened by fishery bycatch, ship strikes and increasing noise pollution. The Chagos Archipelago may be one of the last tropical refuges where cetaceans remain protected from human impacts, yet we know very little of their diversity, distribution and abundance in the mid-Indian Ocean. This project provides a unique opportunity to promote and enhance regional science capacity and to conduct the first study of cetacean abundance and distribution within the Chagos Archipelago.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Remote expeditions, depending on opportunities.
  • Support outreach activities within the Indian Ocean & Chagossian communities
  • Support the wider Marine Science programme in the Chagos Archipelago
  • Risk assessment, data entry and report writing.
  • Regularly communicate with London ZSL office.
  • Ensure excellent working relationship with the vessel’s Master, crew and company and other stakeholders
  • Build relationships and liaise with the Chagossian community and conduct outreach activities within Diego Garcia, Maldives, Sri Lanka & UK

Please click here for a full job description

Essential Criteria

  • English language fluency qualification (unless English is first language)
  • Ability to work in remote places, and spend long times at sea
  • A love of the ocean and passion for conservation
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • High level observational skills, attention to details, and meticulous record keeping abilities
  • Evidence of report writing.

Desirable Criteria

  • Experience in boat-based field work and wildlife visual surveys (use of GPS, binoculars etc)
  • Experience in international travel
  • Knowledge of cetacean and seabird taxonomy
  • Knowledge of working in multicultural teams
  • Experience with passive acoustics and mooring deployments
  • Photography
  • Qualitative skills such as Excel, Geographical Information Systems (ie QGIS, ArcGIS) and R/Matlab
  • Experience with outreach/education type activities
  • Sc or equivalent in a relevant STEM
  • Marine Mammal Observer (MMO) training course


To Apply

Applicants will need to upload their CV and covering letter (detailing relevant experience and skills, stating why they want the position and including details of availability) and can do this by clicking the “Apply for this job online” button.


Closing date for applications: Midnight (23:59) BST on Sunday 07 August 2022.