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Position: Herpetology Volunteers
Type: volunteer with program fee to cover board, meals, more
Organization: Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation
Location: Soutpansberg, South Africa

Interested in Biodiversity, Conservation and Herpetology? Want to gain practical experience in field research techniques? Want to travel off the beaten track in South Africa?

Why not volunteer at the Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation in South Africa?

Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation is urgently looking for volunteers to participate in biodiversity data collection programme for 2016/2017. How long you want to participate is up to you.

The Soutpansberg Centre For Biodiversity and Conservation is an independent, not-for-profit research and conservation organization based in the Soutpansberg range to the west of Louis Trichard, Limpopo Province, South Africa and we are currently looking for volunteers to assist us with our project.

Currently we are looking for people interested in herpetology, entomology arachnids and small mammals. Participants need to be comfortable around reptiles, reasonably fit and happy to live without electricity (we do have solar power) and in a remote area.

The Soutpaspansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation was established in 2014 in order to catalogue the biodiversity of understudied animals in the region. The project initially began with a strong herpetological emphasis; soon it became apparent that it would be impossible to limit the study to a single group. Soon amphibians, small mammals, scorpions, Theraphosidae, Odonata and Lepidoptera were added to the focus of the study. The inclusion of the additional groups has not hampered the reptilian data collection as these groups are often encountered while searching for reptiles.

The Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation (SCBC) is an on-going and evolving project that aims to generate information on biodiversity in the Soutpansberg region of northern South Africa. The project’s primary objectives are to find and identify neglected, overlooked and understudied organisms in the Soutpansberg area; generating an inventory of species to assist researchers, conservationists, landowners and interested members of the public in understanding the richness of this ‘biodiversity hotspot’. Presently the SCBC is focused on reptiles, amphibians and scorpions. Searching for these organisms results in a lot of ‘by-catch’ and activities have grown to include: Theraphosidae (baboon spiders) and allies, Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and small mammals.

The information generated from this project will include species lists, distribution within the region, habitat preferences and also biological notes of observed behaviours. One of the intended outcomes of the project and the collected information is the consolidation of the information into a publication for future research reference as well as for the education of the interested public.

Data is collected through fieldwork as well as accessing existing databases and private collections/lists. Where possible fieldwork will be conducted in understudied regions to the East and north of the Soutpansberg range. The collected information will indicate biodiversity hotspots and highlight areas for the consideration of conservational action.

In order to conserve the biodiversity of the area it is essential to attempt to create an on-going inventory of species.

The SCBC is an experimental and independent space for the exchange of ideas, biodiversity research and the practice of conservation. Through approaching conservation from an inclusive rather than exclusive position, our goal in terms of research is to collect information on biodiversity in the Soutpansberg and contribute this knowledge to a greater scientific and conservation community.

We are looking for individuals from all walks of life, specifically those that have a strong link to the natural world and want to be part of a new venture.

Biodiversity research is accomplished by actively searching for organisms, setting pit-fall and funnel traps as well as the use of camera traps. All records and documentation are uploaded to the South African National Biodiversity (SANBI) database, making them accessible to the general public and scientists alike. The SCBC will also engage with other conservationists within the area, sharing research and raising awareness of the project within a broader community.

SCBC aims to provide an experience that will bring people into close contact with nature – uncoupled from the everyday routines of urban-based consumer culture – and to facilitate new ways of relating to the world.

What sets the Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation apart from other volunteer programmes is that our organization is small, allowing us to direct our objectives using a bottom-up strategy. This empowers participants to steer both the research and the future of the organization. Our groups are small.

The main role of volunteers at this stage in the project is to help us build up the Soutpansberg Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation. This is achieved through active participation in the programme and of course the funds generated through volunteer fees.

Currently we are looking for people interested in herpetology, entomology arachnids and small mammals. Participants need to be comfortable around snakes, reasonably fit and happy to live without electricity (we do have solar power).

Skills and Knowledge you will acquire through participation:

  • Reptile and Amphibian Identification and Data Collection for Conservation
  • Setting up and maintaining Pit Fall and Funnel Traps for small vertebrates and invertebrates
  • Arthropod Identification and Data Collection for Conservation
  • Horticulture for Conservation
  • Basic Tracking
  • Bird Identification and Bird Conservation Data Collection
  • Basic Ecology and Conservation in a Changing World
  • Macro Photography
  • Living off the Grid.

For more details see:

Or contact Ryan van Huyssteen at:
ryanvanhuyssteen mask*

Please note this is not an employment opportunity.

When applying, please indicate that you saw this posting at

*Email: The e-mail address above has been masked to prevent spam. Please copy the address or type it manually, add the @ sign, remove “mask” and any spaces.

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Note: This posting is provided on an "As Is" basis and for general informational purposes only. People and Planet (also known as "GoodWork") is not responsible for the content, accuracy, timeliness, completeness, legality, reliability, quality or suitability of this posting. We do not screen or endorse the organizations or individuals involved. If you decide to accept an offer of employment, volunteering or any other arrangement, you do so at your own risk and it is your responsibility to take all protective measures to guard against injury, abuse, non-payment or any other loss. Please read our full Terms & Conditions.

GoodWork ID: 35791       Date posted to Mar 14 2017

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