Voluntary assistant position to study behavior of male bonnet macaques in Kerala, India

Position description:

We, at the Thenmala Macaque Project, are looking for a highly motivated, energetic, and enthusiastic Research Assistant to collect data on male behavior in bonnet macaques in southern India. This project is a great opportunity for those who want to obtain field experience before graduate school, as they will learn field methods relevant to the study of behavioral ecology. The project is conducted near the small village of Thenmala, an ecotourism site and a predominantly forested area at the foothills of the Western Ghats, in southern India.

The successful candidate’s responsibilities include: 1) locating macaques according to known ranging patterns; 2) identifying individual macaques using natural features; 3) data collection of male behavior; 4) fecal data collection; 5) sorting data, and 6) providing daily and weekly updates about field work. Field work is conducted from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, weekends are free.

The research assistant, upon substantial contribution towards the project, will have the opportunity to contribute to manuscript preparation and submission. If contributions toward manuscript preparation are sufficient to merit authorship, they will be included as authors. However, participation in field work or participation in manuscript preparation does not guarantee authorship.


Prior research or work experience with primates is required for this position. Experience in individual recognition of animals is an asset. A willingness to work in challenging tropical conditions (rain, mud, hot weather) that demand physical stamina and mental stability is essential. 

Moreover, the ideal assistant would:

  1. Have a background in biology, anthropology, primatology, or a related field.
  2. Be excited to work independently as well as part of a team and learn from others.
  3. Be self-motivated, patient, and able to work with minimal supervision while out in the field.
  4. Be strongly motivated to output accurate and consistent data.
  5. Be hardworking, reliable, and committed to follow the working hours during the week.
  6. Speak English fluently, proficiency in Malayalam and/or Tamil is an asset.

This position does not currently receive remuneration and is subject to change based on availability of funding.

Support provided for internship (travel, meals, lodging):

Only accommodations (i.e., housing at the field station, electricity, and internet) will be provided by the Thenmala Macaque Project. All other expenses including, but not limited to, transport to and from the field site and food are the sole responsibility of the Research Assistant. Research-related equipment will be provided (tablet, binoculars, etc.), while assistants should provide their own personal equipment (adequate shoes and clothes, raingear, etc.). Personal travel, international flights, visas, vaccinations and medical aid, and insurance are not provided. 

Term of Appointment:
As soon as possible, for a minimum of 6 months. There is a one month probation period.

Application Deadline:

Applications should include: 1) the applicant’s latest CV, 2) a letter of motivation, and 3) contact information for two references. Please send applications to: with the subject title: “Volunteer Assistant_Thenmala Macaque Project”.

Review of applications will begin immediately after submission. Short-listed applicants will be contacted to schedule phone/Skype interviews as soon as possible. Upon selection, the candidate can join the project immediately.