Friday, March 30, 2012

Research Internship, CIRCLE

Research Internship, CIRCLE

Deadline for applications 30th April 2012 – Interviews to be held in May

Title: Research Intern (four vacancies).

Time period: 1 year (1st October 2012 – 30th Sept 2013; dates flexible).

Pay: Voluntary (accommodation may be provided; part-time vacancies in the on-site catering and retail outlets will be available during summer months; subsidised food available in the staff canteen).

Working hours: Flexible. To be determined in agreement with zoo staff upon arrival.
Qualifications needed: Registration for B.Sc. or equivalent in a relevant field (e.g. conservation, zoology, psychology, education, environmental science). New graduates or sandwich year students are encouraged.

Experience needed: None. However, proven willingness to gain experience beyond the standard university education is strongly recommended. The position would suit someone seeking to gain practical research experience and training for a career in conservation, animal behaviour, education or zoo management.

Personal attributes: Hard working. Enthusiastic. Excellent inter-personal skills.

About CIRCLE: The Centre for the Integration of Research, Conservation and Learning is a collaborative initiative between the University of York (a world top 100 university and top 10 for teaching and research in the UK) and the UK’s most visited zoo, Flamingo Land (Malton, North Yorkshire). The aim of CIRCLE is to carry out ground-breaking research that will contribute to the conservation of wild animals and places, and to disseminate the information in a manner that is accessible, interesting and fun.

About Flamingo Land: The zoo at Flamingo Land is part of a global network of zoos and aquariums working together to manage the captive population of threatened animals, to educate visitors on biodiversity conservation and to raise funds for conservation causes. Included among the 130 animal species at Flamingo Land are several animals on the European Endangered Species Program. The park is unique among UK zoos as the site is shared with a large theme park and holiday village. The diversity of attractions includes a record-breaking roller-coaster, acrobats from Tanzania, educational zoo trails and a wide variety of shows, cafes, bars and restaurants. With 1.3 million visitors in 2011, it is currently the UK’s fourth most visited tourist attraction (of those with an entrance fee), and the UK’s most visited zoo.

Job Description: The four interns will be based at Flamingo Land and will each be responsible for carrying out a one-year research project in one of four disciplines (see page 2) under the guidance of experts in animal behaviour, conservation biology and education from the University of York and Flamingo Land. Interns will then undertake the research for a number of months before summarising their findings in a report. Development of a scientific paper will be strongly encouraged and interns will receive guidance in this. Interns will also make a final presentation on their work to zoo staff and at a relevant conference, and will be encouraged to participate in the general activities of the zoo, including fundraising events, meetings and public engagements. Interns will also have the opportunity to attend lectures and practical classes in applied ecology, quantitative methods using the advanced statistical package R, and other relevant courses at the University of York. There will also be opportunities to perform additional duties such as assisting in primary school classes, animal husbandry, library maintenance and presentations to the general public.

Submission requirements: cv, covering letter (stating one or more of the four research disciplines that you are interested in), full contact details for two referees (at least one from an institution of higher learning), copy of degree certificate (or most recent exam result transcript).

Postal applications: Dr. Andrew Marshall, Environment Department, University of York, YO10 5DD.

E-mail enquiries/applications:
Telephone enquiries: 07725 010100

Four Disciplines of Research at Flamingo Land

1. Tropical Forest Conservation: Flamingo Land’s Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) in Tanzania carries out conservation research on tropical forest management, habitat restoration and monkey population ecology. The research will assist the Director of Conservation Science in analysis of field data. Using these data Flamingo Land and UFP are developing a system for forest management driven by thorough research of ecosystem health and human livelihoods, with focus on the threatened forest of Magombera. The most recent data gathered will include various measures of success of conservation activities in the area, such as indicator animal populations, forest structure, environmental education and most importantly, rates of natural resource use. Other research data include population counts of endangered colobus monkeys, chameleons and duikers, and growth rates of trees in disturbed areas of forest. Together it is hoped that these data will contribute to understanding forest regeneration for reversing the disastrous effects of deforestation on plants and animals. The intern will also be encouraged to apply for grants to assist with fieldwork in Tanzania, and to assist with general fundraising and marketing.

2. Animal Management / Behaviour: The research will aim to understand the fundamentals of animal behaviour while also assisting in animal management. Potential animal behaviour projects are many and varied, and there will be opportunity to carry out short projects with a number of species. Longer-term research at Flamingo Land includes the scimitar-horned oryx, which is extinct in the wild. The zoo is keen to understand the behaviour of this animal in captivity such that one day it can be released back in its original range of north Africa. Other potential research projects include the evaluation of our innovative new Humboldt penguin exhibit and the assessment of visitor interaction with meerkats. The intern will also work closely with the Zoo Manager to research the decisions made by zoos in determining the diet of animals, and to help manage our European hammerkop studbook.

3. Education: Following a current Knowledge Transfer Partnership Grant for education research and development, Flamingo Land is striving to become a nationwide leader in zoo education science. Flamingo Land’s education program is linked to the national curriculum and covers various areas of wildlife conservation and natural history. The research will assist in the evaluation of various components of the education program, working closely with our Zoo Education Strategist. Education research is particularly rare among zoological collections, but will be important for understanding the best form of teaching practice for conveying environmental and conservation messages. Research opportunities will therefore include interpretation of zoo signage, effectiveness of different animal exhibits for holding visitor attention, evaluation of teaching methods and visitor surveys to determine how much people take away from a day out at the zoo.

4. Native Conservation: The 375 acre site at Flamingo Land has various areas of land
set aside for conservation of native wildlife, managed under the UK’s first formal Zoo Biodiversity Action Plan. The work includes close collaboration with The Woodland Trust, Ryedale District Council, the BIAZA Native Species Working Group and the David Bellamy Conservation Award Scheme. British Trust for Ornithology bird ringers also work with zoo staff to survey native birds, bats and invertebrates. The research will help to understand the wildlife and develop habitat management. Although some data are already available, Flamingo Land is particularly keen to develop baseline data for all types of wildlife, especially trees, and rare or threatened target species. This year’s primary research project will be an investigation into the effectiveness of alternative visual deterrents for preventing wild birds from striking windows.

“CIRCLE gave me the opportunity and freedom to develop my CV.”
“Thanks to my time at CIRCLE I found a dream job in no time!”
“A fun year with some great people in a very unique place"


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