Worker wanted for one of world’s most isolated islands with low wages and ‘long hours’

A British wildlife group is looking for someone willing to spend 13 months on one of the world’s most remote islands to study its bird population.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has published a job listing for a new field officer on Gough Island, a British territory about 1,500 miles from Africa in the South Atlantic Ocean, according to the BBC.

The position pays between £25,000 and £27,000, less than $35,000, and requires a science degree or equivalent field experience, as well as a willingness to work “frequently many hours” tracking birds, according to the listing.

“This position offers a unique opportunity for a highly motivated and disciplined candidate with relevant fieldwork skills and a strong interest in wildlife, who can adapt well to small island life in a remote and challenging sub-Antarctic environment,” said the listing.

Gough Island, part of the British Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha, has no permanent human population, although the RSPB employs seven people there and around 8 million birds call it home, the BBC noted. The island can only be reached by boat.

UNESCO has designated the island a World Heritage Site for its relatively intact ecosystem, which serves as a crucial refuge for seabirds that nest in the South Atlantic. Its location between latitudes 40 and 50 south of the equator is prone to strong winds.

The position would pay less than $35,000 a year.

Rebekah Goodwill and Lucy Dorman, two of the seven full-time workers on the island, told the BBC they eat canned or frozen meals that are stored in two cold rooms that are restocked annually.

“One is full of frozen vegetables and the other is basically full of frozen meat, and then we have a lot of canned frozen fruits and vegetables,” Goodwill told the outlet. “They give us a year’s supply of food during that two-week takeover time, and we live on that for the rest of the year.”

The island is a British territory over a thousand miles from Africa.
The island is a British territory over a thousand miles from Africa.

Despite its isolated location, the island has internet access, which the women say allows them to communicate with friends and family back home in the UK.

“In a weird way, I feel like I’m more connected to my friends and family here than I probably was when I was working in Scotland,” Goodwill said. “It’s a very nice community here, so we can share stories, learn from each other, and support each other when you can’t be at a wedding or funeral.”

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