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Site Director, KBNP

Congo DRC

  • Organization: WCS - Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Location: Congo DRC
  • Grade: Level not specified - Level not specified
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date:

Job Description

Location: Tshivanga, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo 

Reports To: Country Director, WCS DRC  

Start date: Immediately 

Duration: Full -Time 


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. 

The Kahuzi-Biega National Park (KBNP) extends across 600,000 ha; represents a unique example in Sub-Saharan Africa of an area protecting rare wildlife and plant assemblages transitioning the full gradient from dense lowland forests to Afro-montane forests. Its high species diversity and endemism merited its inscription on the list of World Heritage Sites in 1980. The KBNP, together with the surrounding Oku community forests contains approximately 60% - and by far the largest single population - of Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri); an endemic subspecies of gorilla found only in eastern DRC. The Park is a reservoir for ecosystem services for local communities as well as the surrounding towns and cities.  

KBNP also sits adjacent to some of the highest human population density areas in the DRC and faces severe pressures on its biodiversity and natural resources. At the same time the significant tourism potential and natural capital of the KBNP provide real opportunities to provide significant co-benefits for both biodiversity and local communities and Indigenous Peoples.  

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has been active in the KBNP for more than 20 years, working closely with ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) – the government agency responsible for protected areas and wildlife – in its management. In April 2022, WCS and ICCN signed a 10-year management agreement that delegates management authority of the KBNP to WCS. This mandate is implemented through a Park Management Unit (PMU) that is the executive body in charge of all day-to-day management activities and personnel in the KBNP. The Park Director is a WCS-appointed position in charge of the PMU.  

KBNP is today at a critical crossroads, and the new management agreement provides a significant opportunity with which to address the escalating threats to its wildlife and forests and capitalize upon its potential.  

Position Objectives: 
WCS is seeking a highly experienced Site  Director with strong protected area management expertise to ensure the effective protection and conservation of KBNP and its wildlife while helping to improve economic and social benefits to the surrounding community and the government of the DRC. 

The Site Director will be expected to provide a solution-oriented coordination approach to ensure smooth, efficient and accountable of Park operations, stakeholder relationships, and partnership with ICCN.  Leadership skills will be expected in ensuring day-to-day coordination and oversight at the Park HQ to ensure that all aspects of the Park management including ranger deployment and wildlife protection, community liaison, research, tourism development, fundraising and reporting, communications, M&E, and capacity building of the KBNP staff are aligned within an integrated program. 

Candidates will need to clearly demonstrate they have the necessary management experience, leadership, communication, and inter-personal skills with which to coordinate and achieve expected results in such a large and complex project operating in a remote, challenging and insecure area.  

The Site Director is based permanently on-site at the KBNP headquarters in Tshivanga, South-Kivu Province.  

Duties and Responsibilities: 

The KBNP Site Director will deliver on the following principal responsibilities in full coordination with, and supported by the WCS DRC Senior management team and the WCS Central Africa Regional team: 

Strategy and Partnership 

  • Build and maintain collaborative relations and platforms with ICCN at the national and provincial levels, the local authorities prominent State agencies including provincial judicial courts and civil society. This will include but not be limited to ensuring coordination of CoCoSi and Park Board Meetings. 

  • Ensure delivery of the Bukavu Roadmap by working with DRC national and provincial agencies, civil society and WCS leadership on site, at national, regional and global levels. 

  • Proactively engage with the Provincial Governor and Provincial institutions in particular for addressing the ongoing deforestation in the highland sector. This will include working with WCS National and Regional technical teams to implement the Deforestation Avoidance Strategy against agreed work planning. 

  • In close collaboration with the WCS national and regional leadership, engage with the provincial military authorities to assess the collaboration between the DRC defense and security forces and the KBNP eco-guards for law enforcement operations when necessary and as appropriate. 

  • Establish and maintain strong relations with bi-lateral, multi-lateral, foundation and private donor partners, technical partners, civil society partners. 

Program Management 

  • Provide leadership to the Kahuzi Biega National Park team, especially the Senior Management Team, and collaborators, fostering staff motivation and high-quality performance to ensure the team achieves impact and promotes an inclusive work environment. 

  • Provide overall leadership of the conservation, operations, and administration (including human resources) needs of the Kahuzi Biega National Park.  

  • Ensure, through delegation to the KBNP Senior Management Team, the development of technical and financial reports related to the Kahuzi Biega National Park, ensuring compliance with WCS SOP, donor requirements, legal contracts, and budgets. 

  • Provide direction to a leadership team that will command and control anti-poaching and law enforcement operations (including the Control Room and ranger patrols). 

  • Provide direction to ensure delegated technical leadership of Community Conservation, Biomonitoring, Logistics and Tourism Departments as well as Program Development and Management. 

  • Facilitate communication between Park Senior Management Team, across projects, and with Country Program headquarters in Kinshasa and the Goma Office to ensure proper coordination. 

  • Ensure the development and implement an integrated, systematic field operations plan and budget aligned with the DRC Program 

  • Ensure the preparation and submission of the Park annual work plans and budgets. 

  • Any other duties as requested by the DRC Country Director.   

Qualification Requirements

Qualification Requirements: 

  1. A master’s degree (or higher education level) in conservation, natural resource management, or other relevant field experience in African conservation. 

  1. Significant experience in protected area management (at least 5 years) in Africa, experience in Central Africa is highly preferred. 

  1. Experience managing international donor-funded projects, with multiple project partners and diverse project elements preferred. 

  1. Proven experience managing a dynamic team across different departments. 

  1. Experience in wildlife law enforcement preferred. 

  1. Practical skills and experience in developing infrastructure and monitoring systems. 

  1. Initiative – must be able to get things done and solve problems with minimal support. 

  1. French language and English Language fluency required.   

  1. Strong communication and leadership skills required. 

  1. Proven experience in capacity-building relationships with partners. 

  1. Proven ability to live and work in a remote multicultural environment under difficult field conditions.   

  1. Excellent computer skills and various office applications. 

  1. Competency in writing and editing of professional reports and other written products. 

    How to apply

    Interested candidates, who meet the above qualifications, skills and experience, should apply through the application tab below by July 19, 2024, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis .

     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.


Salary Range

Competitive salary commensurate with experience

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