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Samburu Research Manager at Save the Elephants

Save the Elephants is a UK registered charity based in Kenya founded in September 1993 by Iain Douglas-Hamilton.

Reporting to: Director of Research, STE, with inputs from Founder & CEO.

Duration of Position: 3-month probation followed by 24-month contract with option for renewal.

Location: Based at Save the Elephants’ research center in Samburu National Reserve, with occasional travel to Nairobi for meetings.

Skills Required: PhD in the biological sciences with experience of analyzing animal behavior/ecology and managing science research in African field conditions.

Nationality: Ideal for a Kenyan citizen or resident. Qualified non-Kenyans may apply but a work permit would only be secured after a voluntary 3-month probation period was successfully completed.

Salary: Negotiable

Medical cover: Offered for in country medical cover or annual contribution to personal plan.

Working Week if in Samburu: 6 days a week Monday to Saturday, Sundays off in local area.

Working Week if in Nairobi: 5 days a week Monday to Friday.

Time Off: 30 days per year plus all Kenyan public holidays.

Living Expenses:

All food, accommodation, internet, communication, laundry and travel expenses whilst in the Samburu Research Center are covered by STE. Personal drinks and time off costs not included. Accommodation & food when in Nairobi are not paid for by STE.


  • Research (Time: 35%)
  • Carry out original research on elephant movement and behaviour within the STE research programme in Samburu, making use of data from collared elephants. The focus should be on patterns and drivers of movement, including risk, food, water and social behaviour, but exact research topics and methodology are to be determined.
  • Management and coordination (Time: 65%)
  • Day to day technical supervision of Samburu-based research staff and liaison with collaborators. Supervise STE database officers to ensure quality control of data collection and help with data management and back up protocols. In particular assist with (i) long term elephant monitoring project, (ii) wildlife corridors project (iv) MIKE data collection, (v) mammal census surveys, (vi) human footprint monitoring (vii) human elephant conflict monitoring (viii) monitoring of orphan elephants at Sera Sanctuary and (ix) recording of environmental data at the research center.
  • Field supervision of PhD and MSc students based in Samburu.
  • Scientific supervision of interns and assistance with their selection. Plan and supervise visiting interns on their independent projects ensuring each intern has a clear project plan and that their efforts are complementing and assisting with the work load of staff on site.
  • Oversight of STE Samburu radiotracking programme. Supervise monitoring of collared elephants in Samburu using the STE tracking app, be ready to support or lead a response team to track any collared elephants that need emergency assessment or to monitor interesting behavior & make sure that regular monitoring flights take place.
  • Assist in development of general STE research plans and collaboration with external researchers.
  • Local liaison. Ongoing support and collaboration with county wardens, rangers, KWS and local NGO stakeholders on Save the Elephants’ research activities in the Samburu Ecosystem. Ensure smooth coordination with Samburu and Buffalo Springs rangers and wardens over any research activities conducted in the conservation area in coordination with Head of Field Operations.
  • Research coordination: Work with STE’s Project Officers, Database Managers and ResearchCenter Manager to ensure integration of all research programs on site with particular emphasis with ensuring smooth work progress and co-ordination from each data collecting team.
  • Communication: Weekly updates to the CEO and Research Director, highlighting research and science activities. Attend STE management meetings.
  • Presentations: Be willing to present to donors/visitors to the research center on the research and science activities being conducted by Save the Elephants in Samburu.
  • Safety: Routine review of safety procedures and first aid equipment for fieldwork. Ensuring health, safety and well-being of all staff, interns and students when conducting research in the field.

Preferred qualities and experience

  • PhD in wildlife ecology or behaviour or similar topic.
  • Experience working on wildlife in Africa.
  • Interest in continuing applied research and engaging in research management.
  • Must be enthusiastic about the prospect of working in a moderately remote field
  • camp with basic living conditions.
  • Self-reliant and motivated, able to solve problems as they come up.
  • Good communicator both spoken and written, willing to engage with wide variety of
  • people.
  • Driving license and experience in off-road driving.
  • Enjoy working with complex, multicultural team and collaborators.
  • Interested in natural history and understanding elephant biology.
  • Skills in GIS and data management and analysis.
  • Swahili an advantage.

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