Project background Mauritius was once home to one of the world’s richest reptile diversities, which was integral to the pristine ecosystem. Following the island’s colonisation in the 16th Century numerous non-native species have been introduced and most of the natural Mauritian forests have been destroyed. These disturbances caused the loss of more than 60% of Mauritian reptile species from the main island. Several species went extinct, but some managed to remain on one or a few of the offshore islands. To enhance their survival and restore missing ecological processes we have been restoring endemic reptile species back to islands that have been made safe for their return. Using a mixture of translocations, captive breeding and intensive monitoring we have reduced the risks of extinction for a number of reptile species. For example, the Telfair’s skink and Günther’s gecko, have been translocated to the island Nature Reserve Ile aux Aigrettes. Ile aux Aigrettes is a small lagoon island (26ha) where conservation activities have been ongoing since the 1980s to restore the endangered fauna and flora of Mauritius. The island has a field station, which is permanently occupied by approximately ten staff and volunteers. The MWF also operate ecotourism and educational activities on the island. The Mauritius Reptile Recovery Programme is a collaborative project involving the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the National Parks and Conservation Service operating on nine islands. The programme was started in 2006, but is built upon three decades of island restoration work by the project partners. The Reptile Programme sits within the Islands Restoration Programme, which runs four other projects to restore island ecosystems. The position We are looking for a highly self-motivated and conscientious Conservation Biologist to work on Ile aux Aigrettes to: • Monitor the health, distribution and abundance of the Günther’s gecko populations • Enhance Telfair’s skink productivity through rearing of wild hatchlings • Search for and monitor Günther’s gecko nest sites and eggs • Maintain invertebrate colonies for reptile feeds • Apply bio-security procedures and measures • Control of invasive exotic species • Conduct post-mortem examinations on endemic and exotic animals • Assist in disease screening and caring for sick/injured reptiles • Conduct data entry, data analysis and produce monthly progress reports • Train and supervise students/interns • Conduct basic routine maintenance of project facilities • Purchase animal food, bait and other items needed for the project • Assist with workshops, presentations and project awareness exercises when needed • Assist with population surveys on expeditions to other islands when required • Assist with other projects within the Islands Restoration Programme when required The work involves intensive systematic searches throughout the forest on the island, reptile capture, handling and assessment of condition and health. Invasive species control is an ongoing and important component of the work. Accurate data collection/entry and reporting are a necessity. The chosen candidate will receive training and guidance from the reptile team. Requirements Applicants will need to: • Have a BSc in the biological sciences and have a keen interest in island restoration • Be physically fit and able to stay focused on repetitive work in a hot and humid environment • Have good written and spoken English • Be a proficient user of Microsoft Office and have knowledge of R, GIS and population analyses software • Have experience of working with and maintaining databases • Be ready to adapt to unforeseen circumstances with initiative and due care • Be proactive and work well within a team and alone • Be flexible with working at odd hours when required • A full driving license is preferred The Conservation Biologist will be expected to stay in the Field Station on Ile aux Aigrettes from Monday to Saturday where they will be working/living communally with biologists from different nationalities. The field station is equipped with basic necessary facilities, such as kitchen, communal bedrooms and office space. The island has a permanent watchman and boatman.
To apply: Please send a CV (resume) and a covering letter (with the word ‘Reptile’ followed by your surname and initials at the start of each file name), by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org