Habituation Manager, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DRC
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Date de clôture15 septembre 2023
Location: Tshivanga, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP), DRC
Reports To: Head of Tourism
Collaborators: Head Guide, Visitors Manager, Site Manager, Program Manager, Logistics, Communications, and other departments and teams as needed
Direct Reports: Habituation staff and Trackers
Start Date: ASAP
The primary objective of the Habituation Manager position is to oversee an effective great ape habituation program in KBNP, for the purpose of gorilla-viewing based tourism, founded in international best practices.
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been active in Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) since the early 1950s. Since the 2000s WCS have been providing technical support to ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) – the government agency responsible for protected areas and wildlife – in managing the Park and supporting local livelihood and land tenure programs for communities and civil society living around the Park. IN 2022 WCS and ICCN signed a 10-year public-private partnership (PPP), which delegates management of the KBNP to WCS, through the Park Management Unit (PMU). The PMU is led by the Park Director and is the executive body in charge of all day-to-day management activities, operations and personnel in the KBNP. The tourism department is one of six departments in the PMU. The Habituation Manager reports to the Head of Tourism, and is based on site at the Park headquarters in Tshivanga, South Kivu Province.
The expansion of tourism is a top strategic priority for the park, both for sustainable financing of Park operations, and also as an important source of revenue that can be shared with local communities. Gorilla-based tourism is well established in KBNP with several families habituated or undergoing habituation.
The Habituation Manager will oversee the implementation and expansion of the habituation program and support the monitoring of gorilla families, in close coordination with tourism team colleagues and the research and monitoring department in particular. The candidate will need to clearly demonstrate they have the necessary experience and skills with which to manage a habituation program in a complex environment.
Leadership and team management
- Manage a team of habituation officers and trackers and provide capacity building, guidance and mentoring to team members as required
- Maintain strong working relationships with the Head of Tourism, Site Manager and Program Manager, and other park departments as needed
- Provide day to day management for the habituation team, ensuring close coordination with the tourism Head Guide to support gorilla viewings by tourists
- Develop a program of recruitment and professional training for habituation officers and trackers as needed, in coordination with the Head of Tourism, ensuring opportunities for indigenous peoples and women within the team’s expanding workforce
- Participate in annual park operational planning and quarterly and monthly work planning for the tourism department
- Lead the development of guidelines, protocols and procedures as needed, to ensure great ape habituation, monitoring and viewing practices in KBNP are in line with best practices
- Ensure all habituation staff follow guidelines, protocols and procedures meticulously in the process of habituation and monitoring, such as health protocols, providing training in these areas as needed
- Oversee the strategic expansion of habituation and monitoring activities to increase the number of habituated gorilla families and families undergoing habituation and monitoring in KBNP, in line with the park’s strategy and expansion of tourism services
- Develop a robust program of daily data collection, management and analysis to support and inform the adaptive management and evaluation of the habituation program and contribute to monitoring the health and other impacts of habituation and gorilla viewings on gorilla families
- Coordinate closely with partners in gorilla identification and provide training to staff on gorilla identification techniques as needed
Reporting and communications
- Provide substantive inputs to regular donor progress reports in relation to tourism activities and deliverables
- Contribute to fundraising proposals for the tourism portfolio
- Assess the habituation and monitoring needs on a regular basis and communicate these needs to the PMU, Site Manager and Program Manager, to ensure those needs are addressed
- Ensure productive working relationships and strong coordination with habituation and one health partners working in KBNP
- Represent the park in relevant forums as required, such as conferences and great ape collaboration platforms
- Master’s degree in primatology, biology or other relevant subject desired
- Minimum of 3 years’ experience in great ape habituation in Africa essential, experience with gorillas highly desirable
- Proven ability to manage, motivate, and train a team of field personnel
- Knowledge of great ape habituation and tourism best practices and guidelines required
- Proven ability to work sensitively with diverse groups of people such as those of different cultures, nationalities and backgrounds
- Excellent written and spoken communication skills in French and/or Swahili essential, English would be an advantage
- Strong commitment to wildlife conservation
- Pro-active, resilient, team-oriented, creative, and ambitious
- Willingness to live in a multi-cultural environment
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through this link before September 15, 2023.
WCS is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to hiring and supporting a diverse workforce. We are committed to cultivating an inclusive work environment and look for future team members who share that same value.