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IPBio - Reserva Betary

Wildlife Research Assistant

Iporanga, Brazil

Help our biologists perform monitoring and research of wildlife. Tasks can range from setting up cameras for mammals in the forest to reproducing insects in the lab.

The Research Assistant role can take many forms. Either you will be assigned to: a specific research project as an assistant; split your time between a couple of projects; or assist in all research projects where needed. Moreover, you may be asked to assist other volunteers in the research projects on the following topics: bioluminescent mushrooms; tree inventory; aquarium research; amphibian research or bioacoustics research. This roles is good for non-specialized people with an interest in getting to know many of our research projects.

Other Research Assistant Tasks

The Biodiversity Observatory OBBIO - is a network of video cameras that record the fauna and flora 24 hours a day, generating films and content for use in research, education, eBooks and documentaries. Setting up camera traps (Bushnell HD Model 119537) and using various stationary cameras set up in the forest volunteers can gather data on forest wildlife to study their ethology. For example, volunteers have researched "The Effects of Watersource Proximity on Mammal Dispersion". Our videos have been used on the Discovery Channel and are regularly published on our Youtube channel.

Insect Reproduction in the Lab - we produce interesting insects and study their reproduction. Moreover, the insects are feed to the fish, reptiles and frogs we have in our aquarium and terrariums.

Fauna and Flora - focused mainly on biology and ethology. An example of a study conducted by volunteers is "Measuring Frog Biodiversity in the Betary Reserve" where volunteers set up pitfalls in the forest and conducted ex situ identification to quantify frog abundance.


Living at IPBio

Volunteers will stay at the Darwin Guest House, situated on the reserve itself, which accommodates up to 8 people in 2 rooms. This house has a bathroom with a hot shower and has a fully equipped kitchen where volunteers can cook. In addition, IPBio is in the process of constructing a new house to accommodate more volunteers, interns and researchers. It is the volunteer’s responsibility to maintain and clean the house; we take this very seriously. Shops are in the town of Iporanga 6km away from the reserve, which you can walk to or get a taxi, where there are various shops with all you will need. 

Every day you will wake up to the sound of birds, monkeys and frogs and can explore the reserves grounds. Our town is called the Cave Capital of Brazil so volunteers often visit our state parks to explore the caves.  Hike into the dense forest and visits to waterfalls are also common activities. Bouy cross, big balloons, are used to drift down the rivers, some of the river route are 3 hours long! After work volunteers can swim on the reserve deck, organize dinners, watch movies, read and go wildlife watching. On the weekend we often have a barbecue or organize dinner at a restaurant. Often there are social events or parties in the community that volunteers can go to.

Location

The Atlantic Forest stretches from the northeastern to the southern regions of Brazil and northern Argentina and southeastern Paraguay. Five hundred years ago, the Atlantic Forest of Brazil covered approximately 330 million acres, but today only 7% remains. In the Ribeira Valley, our region of the Atlantic Forest, we are at the footsteps of 21% of the 7% that is left, it being largest contiguous section of the Atlantic Forest. Despite the forests diminished state it still ranks as a global conservation priority. Although it is now just a small fraction of the size of the Amazon rainforest, the Atlantic Forest still harbors a range of biological diversity similar to that of the Amazon. The Atlantic Forest harbors around 2,200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians – 5% of the vertebrates on Earth. This includes nearly 200 bird species found nowhere else. The Betary Reserve is located next to one of the most famous Brazilian State Parks named PETAR. The region is called the Cave Capital as it known for containing over 300 spectacular caves, some which are accessible to tourists. 


Typical day

A typical work day starts at 9:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm. The Research Assistant role is very variable, however, a typical work day might go something like this:

  • 9.00-12.00: hike in the forest to set up bushnell camera-traps to photograph mammals
  • 12.00-13.00: lunch
  • 13.00-14.00: feeding fish in the aquarium
  • 14.00-16.00: assist biologist in the lab reproducing insects

Free-time activities

- Caves: Iporanga is called “The Cave Capital of Brazil” with over 400 caves in the town. Below are just the highlights.

•Casa da Pedra is the world’s largest cave entrance of 215 meters. The trip involves a 2-hour hike to the opening where there is a place to sit down and have a picnic and swim and then a hike back.

•Temimina Cave has a large opening in the ceiling illuminating its oddly shaped diagonal garden. Then you enter into a dark cave where at the end you find a natural shower hole.

•Nucleo Santana is a group of caves and is the most commonly visited as it has a wide range of different types of caves. In some caves you can swim.

- Tubing/Boia Cross: is a sport where by you get on a big balloon and float down the river. There are various waterways you can do in Iporanga, some more radical and some in the big river which is very relaxing and can last 3 hours.

- Cananeia: has various islands with dolphins swimming in between which are very easy to visualize. It is also known for its stunning beaches, awesome boat tours, great restaurants and the mangrove reserve where there are many crabs.

- Waterfalls: Iporanga has many waterfalls. “Sem Fim” is a small waterfall walking distance from the reserve. “Vale das Ostras” has 12 large waterfalls in a row.

- Quilombos: during the era of slavery many slaves would run away from the plantations and create settlements hidden in the forest. These communities live in relative isolation and you can visit their small towns. For some of the Quilombos the tours include travelling their by boat and having a traditional lunch at one of the families homes.

- Social Events:

•Dinners: there are many nice restaurants were volunteers can have dinner, some more classy like Casarao and some with traditional Brazilian food. There is also a great fish restaurant. Often volunteer will eat out on the weekends.

•Town Parties: the are a couple of bars in town, some have pool tables and some have dancing areas. On holidays, there are usually town festivals on the streets.

•BBQ: it is very common to have a BBQ on the weekend which is often accompanied with the traditional Brazilian drink called Caipirinha.

Water Sports
Swimming
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Required Documents
CV/Resume
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Any experience or education in relevent scientific fields would be useful but are not required.
You either need to speak English or Portuguese.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 09:00 - 16:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups

Any questions? Just ask. We at IPBio - Reserva Betary are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
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Included Services

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All program fees are charged directly by IPBio - Reserva Betary.
Services by IPBio - Reserva Betary

This covers your accommodation, full access to the reserve, internet access and the use of any equipment we have. Volunteers will pay for their own food and cook for themselves. Volunteers are also responsible for paying for any extra costs such as travel costs, visa costs etc. Volunteers are also responsible for covering their extra activities costs such as dinner out (without drinks) which ranges from 15 to 30 reais or PETAR State Park tour of caves (including a guide, equipment and entrance fee) which costs around 100 to 250 reais depending on how many volunteers go. 

 
 

Accommodation

The Darwin House, where volunteers stay, is situated on the reserve itself and accommodates up to 8 people in 2 rooms. This house has a bathroom with a hot shower and has a fully equipped kitchen where volunteers can cook.

Dorm Room Guesthouse Bedroom (Single) Bungalow Bedroom (Double)
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport (GRU) in Sao Paulo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Brazil.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Brazil provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Brazil you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Brazil.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$320.00
3 weeks
$480.00
4 weeks
$640.00
8 weeks
$1,280.00
12 weeks
$1,960.00
50 weeks (max. stay)
$8,000.00
Average fees
$160.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Iporanga/Brazil between 2 weeks and 50 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. IPBio - Reserva Betary will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Brazil.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with IPBio - Reserva Betary during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Americas South America Brazil Iporanga, Estrada Iporanga – Apiaí, Km 6
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