The Barbary Macaque Project – Field Assistant Positions Available

Adult male with infant and juvenile

The Barbary Macaque Project is looking for 3 research assistants to continue work on an ongoing project examining the role that forest ecology (e.g. tree phenology and food abundance) and human activity play on the behaviour (e.g. feeding ecology and ranging patterns) and conservation of the Barbary macaque (Macaca sylvanus) in the Middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco; as part of a longitudinal study on the socio-ecology of the Barbary macaque started in January 2007

The field site is in the beautiful cedar and oak forest of the Atlas Mountains and it is close to the Moroccan imperial cities of Fes and Meknes. Work at the field site is physically and mentally demanding; it is between 1,400 and 2,000 m above sea level and weather conditions can vary dramatically across the year, with temperatures ranging between a current 35ºC, and -5ºC (with abundant snow) in the winter months. Hence, interested individuals should be physically fit; just as important however is the possession of a mental toughness that will allow you to work with a (reasonably!) cheerful disposition even when tired.

Forest patches

This really is a key requirement for the positions, both in the field and in the apartment where we live; we share our working and personal space with the same small group of people for very long, tiring days and it is absolutely essential that applicants can behave maturely and reasonably, living in relative harmony with others, regardless of whether you are tired, homesick, ‘not used it’ etc. The rewards, both in terms of the career experience gained and the daily experience of working in the forest with the monkeys, are certainly worth the effort!

The successful applicants will live in the town of Azrou in an apartment block with basic amenities including wireless internet access and hot water. The accommodation will be shared with various international researchers and assistants from different universities and projects, making a total of 5/6 people in the apartment (sharing rooms with one other person) once the positions are filled, and we share all cooking and cleaning duties according to a rota. These positions would be particularly suited for individuals who wish to expand their field experience, immerse themselves in a wide-ranging project, and are looking to pursue careers in this field.

The main responsibilities include (but are not limited to):

1) Collection of behavioural data (e.g. activity budgets, ranging patterns) on the monkeys.

2) Collection of ecological data (e.g. climate, tree phenology and growth) on the forest used by the macaques.


Previous field experience (though not necessarily with primates) is essential.

Applicants should:
• Have a background and strong interest in conservation biology, ecology, primatology or related fields.
• Have a sound knowledge of ecological (e.g. transect and quadrat methods) and behavioural (e.g. scan and focal sampling techniques) data collection methods.
• Be prepared for long days in the field in a challenging environment.
• Be open-minded and independent, prepared to adapt to living in a foreign culture, and able to work as part of a team.
• Being able to speak French/Arabic would be an advantage; being able to speak English is essential.
• A valid driving license would be useful, but is not essential.

This is an unsalaried post, and in order to help cover the basic living costs involved with the project applicants will be required to make a financial contribution. This will go towards rent, internet and utility bills etc., and should be sufficient to cover collective food costs also (which we generally share as we cook on a rota system). The research assistant will be responsible for their own flight costs and health insurance, however I can collect applicants from Fes airport if required upon arrival.

Term of Appointment:
We hope to fill these positions as soon as possible, so early availability is a bonus when applying. In addition, given the time required to familiarise applicants with individual monkeys, and the time required to ensure scan/focal agreement between observers, we would ask that applicants can commit for no less than 6 months.

We require 1 applicant to begin as soon as possible (July/August 2013), and 2 others to begin in August/September 2013.

Application Deadline:
Review of applicants will begin immediately and will continue until the positions are filled.

To apply please send a cover letter discussing your suitability for this position, your CV, and the contact details of two academic referees to

Source: The Barbary Macaque Project