Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Bird Department and Chough project

  Bird Department and Chough project - Student Placement

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, registered as a charity in 1963, manages a worldwide species recovery program. Durrell’s headquarters is in Jersey and serves as a centre for breeding, research, professional training and fund raising.

A limited number of un-paid work experience places for students are available each year. On this placement Students will spend 6 months with the Chough reintroduction Project and 6 months at the wildlife park working with the Bird Department. Students may have the opportunity to carry out a research project. Please note that any projects carried out must be approved by Durrell staff before arrival. Placements are coordinated by the International Training Centre. Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is under no obligation to mentor projects.
It is important to note that the Trust cannot provide either funding or  accommodation.
Placement students must therefore be self-financing, and the costs of living in Jersey should be considered before applying. Some students find part-time jobs to help support their placement.

Chough Project Placement
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a student placement at Durrell, based in Jersey, working on the red-billed chough reintroduction project. This project is just one of many within Jersey’s “Birds On The Edge” project (www.BirdsontheEdge.org) run in collaboration with the National Trust for Jersey and States of Jersey Department of the Environment.
Durrell houses a captive collection of choughs at the Wildlife Park and at an off-site aviary near Sorel Point. Juvenile choughs bred in captivity will be released to the north coast of Jersey. Following a trial release in 2013, there are now sixteen choughs flying at liberty. All birds are intensively monitored and managed post-release. We aim to conduct several more soft releases over the next two years.
The student placement will assist the Field Manager in carrying out these activities. The student will spend 6 months with the project from September to March or March to September.
Choughs have been absent from the Channel Islands for nearly a century and with the UK population in serious decline this is an exciting opportunity to restore an enigmatic species.

Duties may include:
Activities will be focused around repeated soft releases, captive husbandry, radio-tracking and recording basic behavioural data in the field. Training will be given in radio tracking, habitat assessment and understanding chough behaviour.
The position will require data entry using Microsoft Office and potentially GIS software. Therefore, it is desirable that the successful candidate is competent in using these packages. The student may also be required to work onsite within the captive collection during periods of low activity in the field. Potential tasks include chick food provisioning, aviary maintenance and nest-camera monitoring.
This role will involve representing Durrell and the Birds On The Edge project in the media and engaging with the public. Therefore, good written and verbal communication skills are required.
Applicants should have a full driving license and means of transport is desirable. A mileage allowance is provided where appropriate. The release site is a 10 minute drive from the Wildlife Park and not accessible by public transport. The applicant should also be prepared to work weekends and Bank Holidays in a roster system although this is negotiable.

Placement location

The student placement will be based primarily at the chough release site at Sorel on the north coast of Jersey. Post-release monitoring of the birds will require a certain amount of travelling, mainly on foot, within the vicinity of the release aviary.
However, as these birds will be ‘free to roam’ there may be a need to travel further afield during the release phase. The project will also require the student to work within the captive collection at Durrell.

Bird Department Placement
The student will be involved in promoting the Trust's work in the captive breeding of endangered species by working on the daily management of the animal collection under the direction of the Department Head or the Deputy Head.
Students will gain valuable insight into the husbandry of a wide variety of bird taxa. They will get to see first hand how a busy bird department is run and get the chance to work within a motivated, experienced team in a conservation-oriented organisation. The student will spend 6 months with Durrell’s Bird department from September to March or March to September.

Duties may include:
• Maintaining high standards of cleanliness in all animal enclosures, public viewing areas and “off view” facilities.
• Cleaning sheds
• Cleaning ponds
• Raking enclosures
• Cleaning public areas in walk-through aviaries
• Changing substrate in enclosures
• Washing up food and drink bowls
• Preparing and helping keepers distribute food to the animals, following the prescribed diets.
• Fruit chopping and preparation of “dry mixes”,
• preparing food dishes,
• maintaining the insects kept for food
• preparing insect cultures,
• feeding various species/ routines (examples: flamingos, red-breasted geese, northern bald ibis, routine including various softbill species)
• Ensuring the accommodation for animals is maintained to a high standard for the safety, health and well-being of the animals and for attractive exhibition to the public. 

May include:
• Weeding,
• helping keepers maintain/ re-new perching,
• helping keeper by providing nesting opportunities/ materials
• Monitoring the animals carefully for behavioural, reproductive and medical problems and ensure prompt action is taken to alleviate them. For example:
• Watching newly mixed pairs of birds,
• watching groups of birds in aviaries where a new bird is being introduced,
• watching birds housed in large groups to identify pairs/ find nests
• Answering queries from volunteers and the visiting public to promote the work of Durrell. 

Overall requirements for the placement

• Applicants must be at least 18.
• Must be able to commit to 12 months.
• Have a good command of English.
• Applicants should be studying a relevant
degree or course at the time of the placement.
• A high degree of fitness is required as the work is physically demanding.
• Any medical problems, allergies, disabilities etc. which may affect the student’s work must be explained at the application stage.
• Applicants should be happy to work outdoors in all weather conditions.
• Have a valid driving license.
• Have your own transportation - to get to the chough project and for moving equipment.
• This is an unpaid placement so the applicant must be self-funding.
• Accommodation will not be provided; applicants therefore must organize and fund their own living arrangements.

• Have a background in biological sciences.
• Provide careful attention to data recording.
• Experience of ArcView and/or QGIS software, GPS handling, and radio tracking techniques.
• Experience of captive animal husbandry.

If you are interested in further details or if you wish to apply please contact Susie Brayshaw at volunteer@durrell.org or 01534 860045.

Closing date 31st March 2016 

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