Individual Consultant - carry out aerial survey for elephants and other large herbivores

Location : Harare, ZIMBABWE
Application Deadline :29-May-20 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Climate & Disaster Resilience
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :4 months up to 30 October 2020
Expected Duration of Assignment :4 months up to 30 October 2020

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


To view detailed Terms of Reference, please refer to link

The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Tourism and Hospitality Industry (MECTHI), in partnership with the UNDP is implementing a 6-year GEF funded project entitled “Strengthening Biodiversity and Ecosystems Management and Climate-Smart Landscapes in the Mid to Lower Zambezi Region of Zimbabwe, known as the Zambezi Valley Biodiversity Project (ZVBP). The project is implemented under a National Implementation Modality (NIM) where MECTHI is the Implementing Partner. This is a child project being implemented under a global parent programme entitled “Global Partnership on Wildlife Conservation and Crime Prevention for Sustainable Development.” The project seeks to address multiple threats to biodiversity and sustainable community development in the Lower Zambezi which include poaching and associated wildlife trade, retaliatory killing of wildlife, deforestation and associated land degradation due to unsustainable agriculture and firewood consumption, and uncontrolled veld fires.

The Zimbabwe project is therefore a multifocal area project whose objective is to promote an integrated landscape approach to managing wildlife resources, carbon and ecosystem services in the face of climate change in the protected areas and communal lands of the Mid to Lower Zambezi Regions of Zimbabwe. The project has 4 components namely: Component 1. Strengthening capacity and governance frameworks for integrated wildlife and woodland management and wildlife/forest crime enforcement in Zimbabwe; Component 2. Strengthening Zimbabwe's PA estate and CAMPFIRE Wildlife Conservancies in areas of global BD significance; Component 3. Mainstreaming BD and ES management, and climate change mitigation, into the wider landscape; and Component 4. Knowledge Management, M&E and Gender Mainstreaming;

The project is being implemented in Muzarabani, Mbire and Hurungwe Districts as well as Mana Pools National Park, and Chewore, Sapi, Hurungwe, Dande, Charara and Doma Safari Areas.


Zimbabwe has a proud history of successful elephant conservation. Elephant populations in most of Africa were reduced to very low numbers by the late 19th Century. In 1897 approximately 100,000 tonnes of ivory were exported from Africa. In 1900 it was feared that elephants might become extinct south of the Zambezi River. Using historical accounts of elephant numbers, backwards extrapolations based on population growth rates, and known levels of elephant kills, it is unlikely that Zimbabwe held more than about 4,000 elephants in 1900. More than one hundred years later, in 2014, this number had increased twenty-fold to nearly 83,000 elephants despite attempts to limit elephant population growth between 1960 and 1989 by culling 45,000 elephants in tsetse control areas and state protected areas. The primary rationale for limiting elephant numbers in protected areas was to reduce their impact on woodland habitats and the loss of plant and animal species as a result of elephant-induced habitat change. Elephant impacts on woodlands and associated and biodiversity remains a concern today.

Between 1990 and 2006 elephant populations grew exponentially but growth has since been limited by an escalation of illegal killing. However, the overall population in the country remains at more than 80,000 elephants which is more than twice the national target population envisaged in the 1980s. Elephants are distributed in four main regional populations in Zimbabwe, namely, Northwest Matabeleland, the Sebungwe, the mid-Zambezi Valley, and the South East Lowveld. The mid-Zambezi Valley had more than 11,500 elephants, according to the 2014 survey.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), has a national mandate to manage wildlife in the country and is the lead agency in elephant management. Current management efforts include protection, research and monitoring. ZPWMA is planning to carry out a national survey to establish the current population status of elephants and other large herbivores. These national surveys will be expected to cover an estimated total area of 66334 km2 in four known major elephant range areas namely Matabeleland North West, Sebungwe, Middle Zambezi Valley and South East Lowveld.

The elephant is a key indicator species of the impact of the ZVBP. Surveys in the mid-Zambezi region will therefore be supported under the current project. This process is important as it seeks to ascertain the baseline information of flagship species in the project area (Indicator 3).  UNDP is therefore seeking the services of a competent individual or firm/organisation to conduct aerial surveys in the Mid to Lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe and establish the current status of the population of elephants and other large herbivores.

Duties and Responsibilities

Aerial surveys have traditionally informed wildlife management policy and strategy in Zimbabwe. Objective three of Zimbabwe’s National Elephant Management Plan 2015-2017 focuses on maintaining continuity in research and monitoring necessary for effective adaptive management and conservation of elephants hence the need for the survey. In this instance the survey will also contribute to the baseline data of the project which will be used to track the impact of the investments coming through the ZVBP.


The goal of the aerial survey is to provide an estimate population numbers, structure and distribution of elephant and other large herbivores within the Zambezi Valley landscape.

Specific Objectives

  • Provide up-to-date information on the status of Zimbabwe’s elephant population to ZPWMA, international bodies (e.g. CITES, IUCN, African Elephant Specialist Group) and the general public, in both Zimbabwe and abroad;
  • Inform changes over the past 5 years, in the number and spatial distribution of elephants and other large herbivores in the Zambezi Valley;
  • As part of a national survey, provide a framework for informed policy decision driving the implementation of Zimbabwe’s Elephant Management Strategy;
  • Inform the GEF ZVBP’s indicator species baseline.


Middle Zambezi Valley (17,003km2) comprises the Escarpment and the Valley floor. The area includes Charara, Chewore (North and South), Dande, Doma, Hurungwe, Sapi Safari Areas, and Mana Pools National Park. The survey will cover communal areas of Muzarabani, Kanyemba, Dande and Mkwichi. The consultant must produce a detailed methodology and provide survey designs on how they will conduct the aerial surveys.


A technical report that includes methodology, survey design, animal population estimates and confidence limits and distribution maps;

  • Draft Report: In-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data collected to be availed no later than four weeks following the conclusion of the aerial survey. Comments on the draft will be provided within three weeks of submission of the draft report;
  • Final Report: In-depth quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data collected to be availed no later than one week after the receipt of comments.



High Level of Professionalism:

  • Strong analytical, quantitative and problem-solving skills;
  • Ability to provide clear messages on complex information;
  • Ability to seek and synthesize information from a variety of sources and draw solid conclusion based on in depth analysis;
  • Accuracy and attention to detail;
  • Good communication skills, including the ability to write high quality reports, conduct studies and to articulate ideas in a clear and concise style;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, teamwork and adept at working with people of diverse cultural and social backgrounds;
  • An understanding of and ability to abide by the core values of the United Nations.

Strong Planning & Organizing Capacity:

  • Organizes and accurately completes multiple tasks by establishing priorities while taking into consideration special assignments, frequent interruptions, deadlines, available resources and multiple reporting relationships;
  • Plans, coordinates and organizes workload while remaining aware of changing priorities and competing deadlines;
  • Demonstrates ability to quickly shift from one task to another to meet multiple support needs.

Demonstratable Teamwork:

  • Works collaboratively with partners to achieve organizational goals;
  • Solicits input by genuinely valuing others’ ideas and expertise;
  • Facilitates the development of individual and multi-cultural/team competencies;
  • Ability to provide substantive training and mentoring and manage teams.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Minimum qualification of a B.Sc. degree in either Zoology, Wildlife Ecology, Wildlife Conservation or related qualification;


  • A wildlife biologist with extensive practical experience in wildlife management, research and monitoring in African Savannah ecosystems;
  • Have at least 20 years’ experience in conducting aerial surveys of elephants and other large herbivores in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa;
  • Experience in budget preparation, organisation, planning, survey design, execution and reporting on aerial surveys;
  • Experience in conducting training courses for aerial surveys.


  • All reports will be done in English.

Application Proceedure
Applicants are requested to upload copies of:

  • Latest CV highlighting the relevant experience;
  • Updated P11 Form template of which can be downloaded from this website -
  • A detailed technical proposal on undertaking the tasks and evidence of previous work;
  • Letter Indicating the role applied for;

Please group all your documents (CV, P11, Technical Proposal and certificates) into one (1) single PDF document as the system only allows to upload maximum one document. Incomplete applications will not be given consideration. Applicants must reply to the mandatory questions asked by the system when submitting the application. Please note that only applicants who are short-listed will be contacted. Please do not submit your Financial Proposal at this stage.

Evaluation criteria:

The Consultants will be evaluated based on qualifications and the years of experience, as outlined in the qualifications/requirements section of the ToR.  In addition, the Consultant will also be evaluated on the following methodology:
Technical Criteria weight: 70%;
Financial Criteria weight: 30%;
The award of the contract shall be made to the Consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as: Responsive/compliant/acceptable; and having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the Terms of Reference.

UNDP is committed to gender equality in its mandate and its staff, and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Well qualified candidates, particularly women and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

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