Project Leader Chiribiquete Landscape, Colombia

Conservation of the biodiversity-rich forests in the greater Chiribiquete Landscape in the Southeast of Colombia.

The Project Leader will implement and lead the mentioned project for FZS and in close cooperation with the National Protected Areas Agency PNNC. As a protected area specialist the Project Leader shall provide practical support and technical advice to the administration of Chiribiquete National Park and to neighbouring areas in the southeast of the country in order to strengthen their operation and management.


The full-time position will be based in the town of Leticia in the southeast of Colombia but frequent trips to the field are an integral part of this position. To ensure close coordination with PNNC and other institutions regular visits to Bogotá are essential. Also, an annual visit to FZS headquarters in Frankfurt is envisaged. Starting small, it is intended that in the medium-term a team of several people will be established and guided. FZS’ approach to conservation is based on a long-term commitment, and after an initial two-year contract, the position offers a long-term perspective. 

Responsibilities and Tasks

In line with annual work and budget plans discussed and agreed with FZS HQ the Project Leader Chiribiquete Landscape is expected to work on the following key themes:



  • Providing practical support and technical advice to the administration of Chiribiquete National Park and local PNNC branches, in particular in the fields of protection, monitoring and control, e.g. by helping to construct control posts and to protect entry points;
  • Helping to build local capacity for effective protected area management;
  • Supporting the relevant authorities to protect the last refuges of indigenous people living in isolation;
  • Supporting local and indigenous communities in the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • Supporting regional collaboration and facilitating a regional conservation approach for the protected areas of the greater Chiribiquete landscape;
  • Enhancing policies, plans and awareness to support protected areas as a cornerstone in the national conservation strategy.


Project Management:

  • Implementing the project and managing the project budget as well as project staff;
  • Developing a mid-term project strategy with PNNC, FZS and other stakeholders;
  • Acquiring third-party funding and supporting FZS HQ fundraising activities;
  • Ensuring close coordination with PNNC and their Amazon Territory Department and providing reports according to agreements;
  • Establishing contacts and coordinating closely with other conservation NGOs, as well as with scientific institutions;
  • Seeking exchange and cooperation with other FZS projects, in particular with the FZS programme in Peru;
  • Representing FZS in Colombia towards government partners, donors, partner organisations and the general public, and promoting awareness of FZS activities in Colombia;
  • Negotiating agreements with partner organisations where needed;
  • Ensuring all legal requirements in relation to FZS operations in Colombia are met;
  • Providing regular technical and financial reports to FZS HQ and donors in accordance with requirements;
  • Supporting communications work of FZS HQ.



  • A postgraduate degree in environmental or biological science;
  • Significant knowledge in protected area management;
  • At least 5 years of working experience in the field of nature conservation in South America, preferably in the Amazon region;
  • Proven experience in project and grant management, including proposal development, planning, budgeting and reporting;
  • Experience in working with local and indigenous communities;
  • Experience in and understanding of field-based activities;
  • Ability and willingness to work in remote areas under basic conditions;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in Spanish and English;
  • Demonstrable commitment, initiative and perseverance;
  • A passion for nature and wildlife conservation.


Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world with many different tropical ecosystems. In the vast plains southeast of the Andes several protected areas have been created over the last decades that are of considerable size and comprise forests with very low human impact. Difficult access has contributed to their preservation which, coupled with a strong policy framework at the national level, has made it possible for some of these areas to serve as a refuge to indigenous people living in isolation (PIACI). Outstanding in terms of size, beauty and isolation as well as of biodiversity is the large Chiribiquete National Park. Together with other protected areas in the region it forms an essential part of a conservation corridor from the Andes to the Amazon. National parks in Colombia are managed by the governmental authority Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia (PNNC), and those overlapping with indigenous territories are supported through a co-management arrangement between the Government and indigenous communities.


For several reasons it has been difficult to demonstrate governance presence and enforce law in the protected areas in the Southeast. Illegal activities such as illegal logging and alluvial gold mining are increasing and pose a major threat to the parks. An arch of deforestation and land conversion is approaching the parks in the Amazon lowlands and natural resources inside and outside protected areas are often not used in a sustainable way.


The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is an internationally operating conservation organisation based in Germany and has been supporting conservation projects in Africa, Central and South America, Southeast Asia and Europe for many decades. FZS aims to conserve large natural landscapes with an extraordinary biodiversity and with low human impact. In South America, FZS focuses on the Amazon basin and adjacent areas following its mission to conserve wildlife and ecosystems focusing on protected areas and outstanding wild places.


Over the last years, FZS has expanded its engagement in the Amazon region, and in Colombia a cooperation with PNNC started in 2014. So far, FZS has supported PNNC and the indigenous association PANI in the management of Cahuinarí National Park through financing patrols, monitoring of the Giant River Turtle and environmental education.


A national branch of FZS, the Sociedad Zoológica de Frankfurt, is currently being registered as a legal NGO under Colombian law. A Memorandum of Understanding between PNNC and Sociedad Zoológica de Frankfurt will be signed soon.

Terms of Employment

The full-time position offers a two-year working contract, subject to successful probation, but candidates should be considering a longer-term commitment. A competitive salary and benefit package will be paid according to qualifications.


Applications shall include a letter of interest, a CV, references and a desired salary and be sent to by 15thSeptember 2016.


Short-listed applicants will be notified by mid-October and invited to a personal interview in either Bogotá or Frankfurt.


Download Job Advertisement – Project Leader Chiribiquete Landscape, Colombia (f/m) – PDF 1,2 MB
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