Information about jobs, volunteering opportunities and holidays working in turtle conservation with SOS Tartarugas (Turtle SOS), Cabo Verde Africa. For more general information about the project please go to our website Turtle SOS Cape Verde or our main blog

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Paid & Voluntary Positions working with turtles in Sal, Cabo Verde 2015

Deadline for applications:  15th of March
Download an application form here.

The islands of Cabo Verde constitute the world’s third most important nesting site for the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta Caretta), one of seven marine turtle species found worldwide. This incredible species is a critical link in marine ecosystems, helping to maintain the health of sea grass beds and coral reef systems that provide food and shelter for a vast array of other marine life. 

Unfortunately, human exploitation of this amazing species has brought them to the brink of extinction.  In 2007 it was estimated that the Loggerhead population in Sal would be extinct by 2015 if immediate actions weren’t taken to halt the illegal hunting and trading of turtle meat. 

For the last seven years, both international volunteers and members of the local community have worked tirelessly to ensure protection of the female turtles - by patrolling the beaches every night throughout the nesting season, educating members of the community about turtle conservation, and working with the government to improve regulations.  While the number of turtles killed has drastically reduced, the illegal poaching and trafficking persists.

In 2015, we aim to further empower the community to take action against the slaughter of nesting females, through direct beach protection, as well as grassroots education and engagement.  As a critical part of our team, you will have the opportunity to directly contribute to the conservation of this endangered species, and ultimately help build a more sustainable Cabo Verde.

Click on this link to see lots of photos of our work and life in Sal. 

The project encompasses patrolling beaches (night and morning) to monitor nesting and deter hunting, data collection, research, working with tourists and local businesses, operation of hatcheries, education and outreach activities and beach clean-ups.  The work is undertaken by local and international Rangers and volunteers.   Although there is a wide scope of activities within the project, protection of nesting turtles continues to be the main focus and this can be stressful and tiring, but ultimately highly rewarding.  You can find more information about typical nights and days on our blog. 
Extracts from the log book



The usual nesting season is from June until October with hatchlings being born from mid-August until late December.  The project is based in Santa Maria, a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and water-sports.  Participants are based in field camps with self-catering accommodation in Santa Maria provided on rest days.

This is an opportunity to be part of an expanding project that is achieving excellent results and with your contribution will continue to evolve.  It will not only provide you with good experience of turtle conservation techniques but also give you the opportunity to make a real difference to the survival of marine turtles.  SOS Tartarugas staff have been directly responsible for saving numerous nesting turtles and hatchlings and experience a high level of satisfaction from being able to rapidly affect the declining situation in Cabo Verde.  


Please follow these links for more information about working or volunteering with us
When and how you can participate
How to apply



Job Descriptions and Benefits:

Wildlife Ranger
Assistant Field Coordinator
Tourism Ranger
Volunteers
About the camps
Why this project is different to others

FAQs 

When and how you can participate 2015

There are various ways in which you can contribute to the conservation of marine turtles in Cabo Verde, depending on your experience and the time you have available.  We are inviting applications for varying periods, ranging from a few weeks to the entire season.  You can even participate if you have only a few days on your holiday. The available positions are detailed below.  

WHAT'S THE KEY INGREDIENT TO WORK IN THIS PROJECT?
The ability to work hard under mentally and physically challenging conditions with a group of people you don't know who all have different personalities, cultures, experiences and continue to have a positive attitude.  We can teach you to work with turtles but you have to bring a great attitude with you!

Nesting usually begins in the second week of June and peaks during July, August and September, declining to one or two nests a day by the beginning of October.  Hatching goes on until late December.  July, August and September are intense and tiring and you will need considerable mental and physical stamina, commitment and calmness during this time. 

We are looking for people who really want to work in this field and who view the Ranger positions as jobs, not as a working holiday.  For this reason, unlike the majority of turtle conservation projects, we offer places with free accommodation and food.  If you would like a working holiday please look at the description for short term volunteers.

Our work consists of:

  • June – Night patrols and morning patrols.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach).  Turtle Walks for guests start in the last week of the month.
  • July – Night patrols, morning patrols. Field camps operational.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach).  Turtle Walks.
  • August - Night patrols, morning patrols. Field camps operational.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach).  Turtle Walks.  Nest excavations at the hatchery and on the beach, hatchling releases.  Hatchery checks throughout the night (usually sleeping all night in the hatchery).
  • September - Night patrols, morning patrols. Field camps operational.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach).  Turtle Walks.  Nest excavations at the hatchery and the beach, hatchling releases.  Hatchery checks throughout the night.
  • October - Morning patrols. Afternoon patrols to excavate nests.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach). Nest excavations at the hatchery.  Hatchling releases.  Hatchery checks throughout the night.  Field camps close.
  • November - Hatchery checks throughout the night. Morning and afternoon patrols to excavate nests.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach). Nest excavations at the hatchery.  Talking to visitors in our Turtle Centre.
  • December - Hatchery checks throughout the night. Morning and afternoon patrols to excavate nests.  Daily presentations at the hatchery.  Daytime work (maintenance, making signs, outreach).  Nest excavations at the hatchery.  Talking to visitors in our Turtle Centre.
To get an idea about Sal and about our work please look at these photos.

This is challenging work that can be extremely tiring and stressful.  You will work during the night as well as during the day.  A good level of fitness and physical and mental energy is required as patrols are long (some are all night), conducted on foot and may be as much as 15km.  Shift patterns vary but you will have one day’s rest per week.  Read the FAQs for more information.

We patrol in pairs and are sometimes supported by the military but you will encounter hunters on the beach even if soldiers are present.  You should be sure that you are mentally strong and calm enough to accept this. 

Why this project is different to others 2015

  • The work is very direct and hands on.  We are saving turtles from being killed, preventing the loss of nests and protecting habitat.  You will see immediate results from your work.
  • We do not charge you HUGE FEES.  The majority of participants actually GET PAID a living allowance plus accommodation.  
  • We are constantly expanding and are looking for creative, ambitious people to help us to do more to protect biodiversity here in Cabo Verde.  New projects might include working with sharks, birds or whales and dolphins.
  • By taking on more responsibility you have the opportunity to EARN MORE. 
  • We are based in a tourist resort so there are a lot of restaurants and bars plus great beaches and access to watersports (world famous windsurfing spot, diving, sailing)
  • You can get involved in other aspects of the project such as tourism, outreach, research (ongoing work on beach suitability, sex-ratio and in-water studies).
  • It's not just us - there's loads of people who live here of all nationalities who give one or two nights a week to protecting the turtles - it makes it a multi-national, multi-aged, interesting place to work.

How to Apply 2015

Deadline 15th March 2015

Short term volunteers can apply at any time.

Please read the job descriptions and FAQs carefully before deciding which position you are most suitable for and the dates to which you can commit. Please think carefully which time of year would suit your skills and personality best and whether you have the stamina to sustain a long period of patrolling.  An application form can be found at the end of this document.  Please follow the instructions very carefully as incomplete or incorrect applications will not be accepted or acknowledged.  Send your application to volunteerinsal(at)gmail.com  (Replace with at symbol).

Your application will be acknowledged within a few days and you will be notified if you have been shortlisted.  We interview all shortlisted candidates except for volunteers by skype.  You must have skype, we will not call by phone.  Interviews will take place between  23rd of March and 5th of April, if you are not available during this time please advise us.  If your application is successful you will be sent a detailed job offer with terms and conditions.  You will have 14 days to accept the position.

Download the application form for international staff here.  
Download the application form for national staff here.

Send your application form to volunteerinsal(at)gmail.com (replace with @)

Assistant Field Coordinator 2015

Working in Sal as an Assistant Field Coordinator will give you the opportunity to make a hands-on contribution to the conservation of turtles, since the primary function is to assist the Field Coordinator to ensure the efficiency of patrols in order to prevent loggerhead turtles from being killed for their meat. 

The Assistant Field Coordinator role is not a volunteer position. You will assist the Field Coordinator as a key contributor to the conservation team and you will have the chance to gain valuable experience in turtle conservation techniques. 

Your responsibilities will include: helping with the training and motivation of a multinational and multilingual team of rangers and volunteers in conjunction with the coordinators, organisation of night and morning patrols, nest relocation and supervision of the data collected by rangers and volunteers.  You will also be responsible for the database in conjunction with the Field Coordinator. This includes data input, correction and interpretation.  

As a member of the field team your duties will also include both day and night patrols to deter hunters, as well as data collection through track identification, tagging and measuring. There will also be day patrols to relocate nests to the hatchery or other locations on the beach. Following the end of the nesting season, you will be responsible for monitoring and excavating nests and releasing hatchlings.

You will have a probationary period of two week  and will be expected to pass a written and practical test. 

The Assistant Field Coordinator is based in a camp on the beach for six days per week, with your rest day in an apartment in Santa Maria. This position benefits from a monthly living allowance. 

Requirements for Assistant Field Coordinator
  • Desire to work in conservation
  • Relevant qualifications
  • High level of energy and flexibility
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • At least 20 years old
  • Good attention to detail
  • Able to work independently and show initiative
  • Driving license 
  • Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities
  • Used to physically challenging conditions (long walks, late nights, hot weather, insects)
  • Understand written and spoken English 
  • Experience in similar working conditions and living in a field camp 
Requirements
Degree in Biology, Environmental Science or similar
Experience in a similar turtle conservation project (including collection of biometric data, flipper tagging, relocation and excavation of nests)
Experience training and managing volunteers in a similar project
Speak more than one language- particulary Capeverdean Kriolu, Portuguese, Spanish

Benefits 
Monthly allowance of 100€, plus bonuses or pay increases if objectives are met. Accommodation (field camp and apartment in Santa Maria for rest days) and meals in camp are provided. See FAQs for camp conditions.

Timing: From 25 June (the latest) until 20 November (the latest)

Deadline for applications: 15th of March

Wildlife Ranger 2015

The position of Wildlife Ranger is an internship open to candidates with a serious commitment to a career in conservation and a particular interest in working with marine turtles.  You will be trained to work with turtles including the collection of biometric data, flipper tagging, nest relocation and nest excavation.  You have the opportunity to make a direct contribution to the conservation of turtles since your primary function is to patrol at night to prevent turtles being killed for their meat.


Wildlife Rangers are responsible for protecting nesting loggerhead turtles, their eggs and the nesting beaches.  Duties will include night patrols to deter hunters, tagging and measuring turtles and collecting data and day patrols to relocate nests to the hatchery or other locations on the beach.  Following the end of the nesting season Rangers will be responsible for monitoring nests, nest excavations and releasing hatchlings.  Additional responsibilities include maintenance of the camp and its facilities, and assisting in the training of the volunteers.

We need motivated, committed and flexible individuals with a strong desire to make a difference.  You must have previous fieldwork experience but not necessarily on a turtle project.  You will be based in a camp on the beach for a minimum of six days per week with rest days spent in an apartment in Santa Maria. 

Priority will be given to those with relevant experience and who wish to develop a career in conservation work.   You will have a probationary period and will be expected to pass a written and practical test. 

Following your training period you are expected to lead patrols and supervise volunteers and local monitors.  Priority will also be given to applicants of Caboverdean nationality.

This position is supported with accommodation (field camp and apartment during rest days) and meals (camp only).

This is not a volunteering position. You must be able to commit for the entire period specified. It will give you solid work experience that will help you to continue your career in conservation, but living under these conditions can be challenging, extremely tiring and stressful: you will work during the night as well as during the day!   A good level of fitness and physical and mental energy is required as patrols are long (possibly all night), conducted on foot and may be as long as 15km. Shift patterns vary but you will have 1 day of rest per week.  Read the FAQs for more information.

Requirements for Wildlife Rangers
Desire to work in conservation
Relevant qualification
Previous volunteering experience, preferably in a camp
High level of energy and flexibility
At least 18 years old
Understand written and spoken English
Good attention to detail
Good level of physical fitness
Used to physically challenging conditions (long walks, late nights, hot weather, insects)
Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities
Able to work independently and show initiative

Other skills that are useful
  • You speak more than one language – particularly Caboverdean Kriolu, Portuguese, Spanish Italian, German or French
  • You have experience training and managing volunteers in a similar project

Benefits for Wildlife Rangers
Free accommodation (field camp and apartment in Santa Maria for rest days).  Free meals in camp.
Meals on days off are not provided.

See FAQs for camp conditions.

Timing:  The Wildlife Ranger position is for the entire nesting season from 25 June (the latest start date) until 20 October (the earliest end date)

Deadline for applications:  15th of March
Apply here.

Tourism Ranger 2015

This position is suitable for candidates who wish to pursue a career in eco-tourism or those interested in the educational side of conservation.  You will gain excellent experience in leading groups and sharing information about environmental issues as well as making a contribution to the conservation of marine turtles and participating in scientific work. 

You will work for The Cabo Verde Nature Company, an organisation set up specifically to generate funds for turtle conservation in Sal.  Reporting to the Tourism Manager, you will be involved in all our activities with visitors.  These will include, but are not limited to, leading night-time visits to nesting beaches, hatchling releases and interacting with tourists at the hatchery and our educational centre. You will be promoting our Adopt a Turtle scheme and other ways that people can support the project.  This job is a mixture of daytime and nighttime shifts.  Please consider that you will be accompanying people on turtle walks six nights out of seven for as long as 14 weeks, sometimes without seeing a turtle.  You need to be confident, outgoing, resilient and cheerful to fulfil this job.


Previous experience with turtles is an advantage but is not necessary, as full training will be given.  However, you need to have a strong desire to contribute to turtle conservation and be able to communicate the project’s goals as well as having a belief in environmentally conscious living.   You must have previous experience in a tourism, sales or customer service environment.  You should be comfortable talking to small groups as well as individuals and recognise that contact with turtles is often a life changing experience for visitors.  A large part of your job is making that experience the best that it can be.  We need native English speakers as well as people who are fluent in English plus another language (German, Dutch, Italian or French). You must be trustworthy, financially astute, organised and have computer skills.

Requirements for Tourism Ranger:
Desire to work in eco-tourism
Previous experience in tourism, sales or customer service 
Outgoing personality and good communication skills
Fluent in English OR fluent in English and at least one other language
Good level of physical fitness
High level of energy and flexibility
Able to communicate well with small groups of people
Ability to work and live with people of different backgrounds and nationalities
Able to work independently and show initiative
Organised and presentable

Benefits:  Shared accommodation in an apartment in Santa Maria and a living allowance of between €100 and €300 a month depending on experience.  You must complete a two week training period and written test.  Your allowance may be increased if you reach your performance objectives.

Timing :  16 June - 15 December (27 weeks) OR 16 June - 14 October (17 weeks)