Reports To: Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Director
Position type: Full-time
Application deadline: 15 January 2022
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places by understanding critical issues, crafting science-based solutions, and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. Working with local communities and organizations, that knowledge is applied to address species, habitat and ecosystem management issues critical to improving the quality of life of poor rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct utilization of natural resources.
Republic of Congo Program Overview:
Over the past 25 years WCS Congo has been the government’s principle conservation partner, assisting the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) in managing wildlife and its habitat in several of the country’s national parks, reserves, and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites WCS is developing and implementing actions for effective wildlife protection; community based natural resource management; ecological monitoring; scientific research; and environmental education. The program is the largest in WCS’s global portfolio and reports to the Regional Program for Central Africa and Gulf of Guinea. WCS Congo’s current portfolio of programs includes the management of the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park through a Public-Private Partnership with the Government of Congo, wildlife management in the substantial buffer zones of the Park, co-management of Lac Tele Community Reserve, a national program to support reform of marine conservation and resource management and a substantial policy support program to the central government in Brazzaville.
The Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact contiguous lowland rainforest in northern Republic of Congo. The forest is part of the larger Sangha Tri-National Forest Landscape inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. The park also contains forest clearings that offer a window into the lives of shy forest wildlife, creating fantastic opportunities for tourism development and conservation science.
Created in 1993, the NNNP and its buffer zone have benefited from more than 25 years of collaborative management between the Congolese Government and WCS to emerge as one of the most successful protected areas for the conservation of wildlife in Central Africa. In October 2014, WCS signed a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with the Ministry for Forest Economy (MEF), for the long-term management and financing of NNNP, creating the Nouabale-Ndoki Foundation as the Park management entity under a 25-year agreement.
We are seeking a Protected Area Operations Manager to support the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park’s Conservator in coordinating law enforcement operations and developing technology solutions geared towards halting the current and future threats facing the Park and its immediate periphery.
There are several core features to the Park’s existing law enforcement strategy: reconnaissance patrolling, and intervention operations led by rangers; aerial surveillance from the project’s aircraft; a strong emphasis on information collection by the rangers and the Wildlife Crime Unit; and a communications infrastructure and information management system.
The primary role of the Operations Manager is to enhance the effectiveness of these activities through strategic planning, provision of training opportunities and technical assistance, introducing new tools and technology, and ensuring that appropriate procedures are in place. A secondary role is to development projects proposals geared to bring in new technologies, infrastructure and operations systems to support protection activities.
She or he will be directly responsible for a small team of law enforcement assistants (the anti-poaching department’s technical support team) that help run the Park’s command and control center which ensures an effective coordination and monitoring of law enforcement.
The Operations Manager will deliver on the following principal responsibilities in full coordination with, and supported by, the NNNP management team and the WCS Congo team:
• Manage the anti-poaching department’s technical support team, which includes the Control Room operators, the patrol analyst (SMART focal point) and the NNNP wildlife crime analyst.
• Work in close collaboration with the Park’s Conservator, Sector Wardens and the technical support team to develop and implement a law enforcement strategy able to counter the evolving threats to the Park.
• Support the Park’s Conservator in aspects of human resources within the anti-poaching department – including ranger recruitment and career development opportunities
• Plan, organise and support ranger-training programs with NNNP’s in-house trainer.
• Liaise with other Law Enforcement Technical Advisors operating across the landscape including those based in Tri-National Sangha – a protected area network comprising of three adjoining National Parks (Inc. NNNP).
• Oversee the development of NNNP’s new LAB HQ in the southern sector of the park: – installation and operation of control room, improvement of living quarters for rangers, logistical arrangements, construction of training quarters.
• Ensure that the Park’s ranger team is well equipped for patrolling activities and put in place a procurement plan to ensure that the ranger kit stocks are sufficient to replace faulty or worn items.
• Oversee the implementation of coordinated LE monitoring and evaluation systems (SMART, Vulcan EarthRanger), and develop SOPs for their effective use.
• In collaboration with NNNP’s logistics department, ensure the Park’s communications systems are well maintained and operational – this includes satellite trackers, Digital HF NVIS radios and Internet systems.
• Assist the Park’s Logistics department in the planning and development of infrastructure projects relating to law enforcement.
• Work with management teams to develop annual work plans and fundraising proposals to fundraise for activities and development improving the effectiveness of the Park’s law enforcement activities.
Experience of protected area management and/or conservation technologies;
• Able to use a diverse range of ICT tools (cartography, SMART, intelligence tools);
• Previous experience with protected area management highly preferred;
• Experience using field-based technologies, from camera traps to VSAT, is desirable.
• Law enforcement experience not required, though depending on the background, may be advantageous.
Strong technical and logistical management of projects (planning, budgets, implementation, monitoring and evaluation).
• Efficient at coordinating multiple resources to get things done, multi-tasking, problem-solving and solution-oriented.
• A “doer” – someone who is resourceful and hands on.
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Knowledge of African conservation issues.
• A Master degree (or higher education level) in conservation, natural resource management, or equivalent relevant field experience in African conservation.
• Proven experience of working in Africa, with experience in Central Africa desirable.
Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Demonstrated competency in writing and editing of reports and other written products;
• Fluency in English and a working proficiency in French language required (though strong candidates with lower French language skills will be considered if they have a basis from which to quickly learn French).
• Proven ability and comfortable with living and working in a multicultural environment in isolated areas, under difficult field conditions.
Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply by emailing a detailed application/cover letter and CV together with the names and contact information of three references to [email protected]
Please include “Operations Manager – Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park” in the subject line of your email. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted for interviews.
Application deadline: 15 January 2022
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.