Field Assistant, Marine Turtle Protection Programme in Cabo Verde

Academic Credits


Hours per week




Start Date


End Date



Santa Maria
Cape Verde


The islands of Cape Verde constitute the world’s third most important nesting site for the Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), one of seven marine turtle species found worldwide. Unfortunately, human exploitation of this amazing species has brought them to the brink of extinction. For the last 9 years, both international volunteers and members of the local community have worked tirelessly to ensure protection of the female turtle – by patrolling the beaches nightly 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 2018, 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.

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. 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.

The position of Field Assistant is open to candidates with a commitment to a career in conservation and a particular interest in working with marine turtles. As 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 Cape Verde.

Requirements for Field Assistants:

•      Desire to work in conservation

•      Relevant qualification

•      Previous volunteering experience, preferably in a camp

•      Previous fieldwork experience but not necessarily on a turtle project.

•      Experience in similar working conditions

•      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

You will gain valuable experience in the field conducting the following:

•      Track identification

•      Collection of biometric data

•      Tagging and identifying previously tagged females

•      Nest relocations and excavations

In this capacity, Assistant duties will include night patrols to deter hunters and data collection through track identification, tagging and measurement. 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, Assistants will be responsible for monitoring and excavating nests and releasing hatchlings. Additional responsibilities include maintenance of the camp and its facilities, and assisting in the training of the volunteers. You will also have the opportunity to gain valuable cross-cultural experience by assisting other associations with various small short-term projects related to improving social and economic welfare within the community.

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.

You will be based in a camp on the beach for six days per week, with the opportunity to spend your rest day 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. After a probationary period you will be expected to pass a written and practical test. Following your training period we would like you to lead patrols & supervise volunteers and local monitors. 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. 


Assistants Field Assistants will be provided with accommodation (field camp & apartment in Santa Maria for rest days) and meals in camp. The meals during the days off are not provided.

How To Apply

  1. Download and complete the required application form and send it to
  2. Your application should be in a single Microsoft Word document only and no longer than 2 pages.
  3. Please title the document as your name and the year in the title of the document (ie: Sarah_Jones_2017.pdf) and save it as a PDF document. 
  4. Use regular (no bold, italics, or bullets) Calibri font, size 8, single spaced. Please do not use any formatting that will increase your file size. The simpler your document is, the better.
  5. Your photograph should be a recent head and shoulders shot embedded within the document. This is for our security purposes.

Submit all completed applications to