Conservation Pilot – Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park at Wildlife Conservation Society

Position title: Conservation Pilot – Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park

Reports to: Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park Director

Location: WCS Office, Kabo, District of Kabo, Department of the Sangha, Republic of Congo

Country Program/Sector: Republic of Congo

Position Type: Full Time

Internal liaison: Park anti-poaching and logistical team; national logistical team

Expected travel: Travel within the Republic of Congo and occasional international travel


The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US non-profit organization founded in 1895. Its mission is to preserve wildlife and wilderness by understanding critical problems, developing scientific solutions and taking conservation actions that benefit nature and humanity. With more than a century of experience, long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, a presence in more than 60 countries, and experience in the creation of more than 150 protected areas around the world, WCS has accumulated the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships needed to ensure that wild places and animal species 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 rural people whose livelihoods depend on the direct use of natural resources.

Program Overview

For the past 25 years, WCS Congo has been the primary conservation partner of the Government of Congo, providing support to MEF for wildlife and habitat management in several national parks, reserves and protected area buffer zones. Within these sites, WCS develops and implements actions for effective wildlife protection, community-based natural resource management, ecological monitoring, scientific research and environmental education. Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park (NNNP) covers more than 4,000 square kilometers of intact contiguous rainforest in the northern Republic of Congo. The forest is part of the tri-national Sangha Forest landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area is a stronghold for important populations of large mammals, including forest elephants, western lowland gorillas, and chimpanzees. Established in 1993, 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 wildlife conservation in Central Africa. In October 2014, WCS signed a public-private partnership (PPP) with the Ministry of Forest Economy (MEF) for the long-term management and financing of NNNP, creating the Nouabalé-Ndoki Foundation as the park’s management entity under a 25-year agreement.

Job Summary:

The Conservation Pilot will support protected area managers, notably in the Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park to carry out surveillance and monitoring flights as well as logistical support flights. They will manage aviation activities for the WCS Republic of Congo program on the ground, working with the WCS Aviation Program team. They will manage a small team of observers and assistants.

Major Responsibilities: Piloting

  • Expert application to safely pilot aircraft (PIC) for aviation logistical support to park operations and resource protection activities and monitoring.
  • Strictly adhere to procedures in place for all flight operations.
  • Ascertain all necessary aircraft documents are in place, up to date and according to relevant international and national aviation laws.
  • Participate and comply with regular flight and safety management training requirements
  • Maintain a detailed flight log report of all flights and hours flown, including location, passengers, purpose and duration.

Aviation Operations

  • Oversee and maintain the highest standards in aircraft management and operation, following regulations, legal requirements and maintenance plans as required.
  • Assure all aircraft documents are in place, updated and maintained.
  • Maintain the aircraft in a pristine, clean and well-managed state, including regular cleaning of the airframe, engine compartment and equipment.
  • Assure aircraft is always fully secured.
  • Train any staff involved in aviation operations on safety around aircraft and procedures.
  • Manage all survey and surveillance equipment assigned to the aviation wing.
  • Manage aviation stocks and plan accordingly for procurement (avgas, oils and other usable).
  • Manage aviation facility (office, stores and hangar) and equipment and assure the condition of the airstrip is according to agreed standards and operational needs.
  • Support local arrangements and logistics to aviation maintenance needs
  • Manage aviation operations finances in collaboration with the assigned finance manager, including operational costs (landing and navigation fees, passenger fees etc.).
  • Maintain regular coordination and planning meetings concerning aviation operations with WCS Field Operations Manager, Ecologist and Monitoring point person and law enforcement team
  • Closely liaise with the project logistics manager for aviation logistics (transport, fuel, oils) and documentation (aircraft and flight clearance).
  • Participate in regular planning meetings and develop annual plans/budgets for the NNNP Aviation Unit.

Aviation Safety Management

  • Assure the WCS Standard Operation Procedures are fully implemented in all operations and any requirements communicated by the WCS Fleet Manager.
  • Report all safety concerns, incidences and hazards and fully contribute and interact with the WCS Safety Management System as prescribed.
  • Maintain the highest safety standards at all times.
  • Participate and conduct regular internal evaluations, as agreed upon by the WCS Fleet manager and part of the WCS aviation SMS on operations
  • Report all aircraft issues and snags through the established procedures (online) and via direct communications with the WCS Fleet Manager.

Qualification Requirements

  • Current US FAA commercial pilot license with instrument rating;
  • FAA second class medical certificate;
  • 400 hours PIC flying experience and solid knowledge of operating under FAA regulations;
  • Experience in Africa, especially francophone Africa an advantage;
  • High-performance piston engine time is required, preferably on C206 model or similar;
  • Experience with wildlife surveys, anti-poaching surveillence and bush flying in remote areas is an advantage;
  • Experience flying under FAR part 135 and/or FAA A & P license is an advantage;
  • Ability to communicate effectively within cross-cultural teams or varied capacity, both orally and in writing, in working out solutions to problems or questions related to work;
  • English and French language fluency required.

How to apply

Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through this link by August 12, 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.


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