Form Five Selection 2024

Species Monitoring Specialist at Wildlife Conservation Society March, 2022

Job Description

Position: Species Monitoring Specialist

Reports to: Executive Director, WCS Big Cats Program, with dotted line report to the Regional Director of the East Africa, Madagascar & WIO region

Location: Tanzania

Country Program/Sector: East Africa, Madagascar & WIO region

Position Type: Full-time

Internal liaison: Regional Director of the Sudano-Sahel region; Regional Director of the Central Africa & Gulf of Guinea region; Country Directors in lion range states; landscape leads in lion range landscapes.

Expected travel: As required within the East Africa region, occasionally to other continents/NY if/when needed, and to donor/technical meetings as needed

Organization Background

The Wildlife Conservation Society (“WCS”) is a New York not-for-profit corporation founded by statute in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society. WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through research, science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. That mission is achieved through our global conservation programs (WCS currently oversees a portfolio of more than 500 conservation projects in 65 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and North America, and the oceans between them) and through the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks–the Bronx Zoo; the New York Aquarium; and the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos (the City Zoos)

Program Overview

WCS’s primary goal in Africa is to conserve key populations of elephants, lions, great apes, lemurs, and marine species, along with the intact wild places that contain their biodiverse habitats, and to ensure their resilience in the face of climate change. That work is implemented through three regional programs – Central Africa & Gulf of Guinea, Sudano-Sahel, and East Africa, Madagascar & West Indian Ocean (EAMWIO). The Species Monitoring Specialist will be focused primarily on the EAMWIO region. The EAMIWO Region contains some of the world’s most iconic wildlife and wild places. WCS’s work focuses on landscapes and seascapes across Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar, where we have national country programs (focused solely on the marine landscape in Kenya). In these countries, WCS develops and leads long-term conservation approaches and programs, provides technical trainings to build community and government

capacity, provides high-quality data on species status and trends, and develops mechanisms for sustainable finance to support conservation.

Job Summary

The primary objective of the Species Monitoring Specialist position is to advance the implementation of science-based surveying and monitoring of WCS Priority Species especially large cats. The position will have a primarily African mandate focusing on lions, leopards and cheetahs in WCS sites.

Major Responsibilities

  • Assist in designing and executing long-term monitoring programs for species where these are currently lacking at WCS sites, especially for lions, leopards and cheetahs;
  • Evaluate current approaches by WCS to monitor big cats in Africa; assist in identifying gaps in WCS’s capacity, and help devise and implement solutions; help train country staff and collaborators in undertaking all aspects of survey and monitoring efforts of big cats at WCS’s African sites;
  • Assist in the design, implementation and coordination of national lion surveys for candidate countries (e.g., Tanzania and Uganda);
  • Contribute to ongoing efforts to improve survey and monitoring methodologies for big cats, with a focus on tackling the problems inherent in monitoring lions (costs of large-scale monitoring, utility/lack thereof of index-based methods, utility of camera-traps etc);
  • Increase output of WCS-led peer-reviewed science on monitoring and ecology of large cats and potentially other priority species;
  • Assist in developing a comprehensive cheetah conservation strategy for WCS;
  • Evaluate the quality of WCS’s ‘by-catch’ data e.g. on leopards in African forest, for potential analysis and publication;
  • Support Country Program personnel in budget development and management where relevant;
  • Participate in fund-raising activities when appropriate e.g. assist in preparing donor reports and proposals; maintain contact with funding sources where appropriate;

Qualification Requirements

  • Doctoral degree in biology, conservation, wildlife management or equivalent with emphasis on statistical expertise/approaches relevant to big cat population monitoring;
  • 5+ years post-doctoral experience showing relevant monitoring and analytical experience;
  • Demonstrated record of designing and overseeing large scale monitoring programs on large mammals, with demonstrated experience in a variety of methodological approaches;
  • Comprehensive understanding of relevant conservation issues regarding large carnivores, and especially of issues at the interface of conservation implementation and monitoring population level outcomes;
  • Demonstrated experience mentoring junior staff/graduate students in design, implementation and analysis of monitoring/survey efforts;
  • Strong record of publishing peer-reviewed papers in highly rated journals;
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including ability to work with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds and cultures and within a dispersed team that includes both WCS and non-WCS staff;
  • Proficiency in the use of standard computer software applications, as well as in use of appropriate advanced analytical software (SPACECAP, R, etc);
  • Proficiency in spoken and written French;
  • Willingness to travel internationally.

WCS is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.


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