Central Bedfordshire
£21,718 - £24,294 per annum
Contract, Full-time
Job description

Aviculturist - Gough Island Restoration Programme - 2 roles
Reference number: A0871020
Location: International - Gough Island
Salary: Starting at £21,718 to £24,294 per annum
Hours: Full time
Contract: Fixed term for 12 months

Do you want to use your skills to transform the future of one of the most incredible seabird islands on Earth?

The Gough Island Restoration Programme is seeking Aviculturists who will be involved with the execution of the captive management strategy for two land bird species (Gough bunting and Gough moorhen) during the restoration operation on Gough Island, all the way through to the release of these populations in late 2021/early 2022.

Gough Island, part of the UK Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha, is a World Heritage Site and one of the most important seabird islands in the world with 22 breeding seabird species. The Gough bunting and Gough moorhen are also endemic to the island. The major threat to Gough's biodiversity is the presence of introduced house mice that are preying on the chicks, eggs, and adults of endangered species including the Critically Endangered Tristan albatross. All of Gough's seabirds, and especially those breeding in the winter, are vulnerable to mouse predation, and low breeding success means that most breeding seabird populations are declining, which has a negative impact on the site's importance and value.

Working in partnership with the Tristan da Cunha Island Council, BirdLife South Africa, Island Conservation, and the Department of Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, the RSPB is now planning to relaunch the mouse eradication operation during the Southern Hemisphere winter of 2021. Populations of at-risk land birds (Gough moorhens and Gough buntings) will be captured and held in a protected, captive environment on the island during the eradication operation.

Qualifications and suitability for the position:

This position would suit a professional bird-keeper, with some field conservation experience. Alternatively, this could be a proficient field biologist, with significant bird-keeping expertise.

Candidates should have proficiency in a large number (but perhaps not all) of the following key skills:

  • At least 2 years of aviculture experience, including the administration of veterinary medications and provision of avian first aid.
  • Fieldwork experience, including bird releases, monitoring and remote camping.
  • Experience in bird capture, handling, and sample collection.
  • Practical/technical skills to be able to contribute to camp life and broader project areas (e.g. carpentry, construction, clinical pathology, radio telemetry).
  • Bird identification skills.
  • Map reading and GPS experience.
  • Data collection/data management skills.

Additionally, due to the challenging working environment and the isolated and inaccessible location of Gough, personal qualities and supporting attributes will be valuable:

  • Previous experience working abroad and in remote field stations.
  • A high level of fitness to work in Gough's challenging terrain, including strenuous hikes.
  • Experience of working collaboratively with project partners, academic institutions, and other stakeholders.
  • A willingness to embrace mud, rain, wind, other challenging fieldwork conditions and basic living conditions.
  • A willingness to minimise the connection with the "outside world" for the duration of the project.
  • Good communication, interpersonal and organisational skills, to be able to spend many months with a limited group of people in a confined situation, being able to help diffuse any tensions and add to group cohesion.
  • Self-motivated, adaptable and with a positive approach to working either as a team or alone.
  • A willingness to accept the realities of an eradication project.
  • A willingness to travel on expedition yachts for long voyages.

During late-January 2021, prior to traveling to Gough, there will be several days of team-building, training and logistical planning. There may be a requirement for a 10 day quarantine prior to departure for Gough to manage Covid 19 related risks.

Closing date: 30 October 2020

To Apply and for More Information:

If you would like to apply and find out more about this position, please click the apply button to be directed to our website. 

No agencies please.

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Posted on: 14 October 2020
Closing date: 30 October 2020
Job ref: 156108_RB
Tags: Policy/Research, Operations
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