Mammals and their habitat face immense threat from anthropogenic pressures especially habitat destruction and bushmeat hunting. An overwhelming conservation focus on so called "charismatic mega fauna" translates to limited protections for small and medium sized mammals including bats, rodents, pangolins etc. Across the tropics, a major challenge in mammal conservation stems from lack of local expertise, dearth of ecological evidence and government support. At SMACON, we seek to conduct basic ecological and conservation research, as the foundation for intervention plans that support local livelihoods, raise local capacity and influence government policy on species conservation. We believe conservation should be evidence based.
Protection of small mammals and their habitat through evidence-based conservation that safeguards local livelihoods.
Work with key stakeholders to empower local communities, maintain healthy landscapes and protect imperiled small mammal species.
Meet our co-Founders and Directors
Benneth Obitte, Director
Iroro Tanshi, Director
Ben and Iroro co-founded SMACON in 2016 (officially registered the following year) and are both PhD students in Dr. Kingston's lab at Texas Tech University. While hiking the spectacular Afi Mountains Wildlife Sanctuary for Iroro's PhD project in 2016, it became very obvious that to us that all mammals are “not born equal“. Although a protected area, not all animals received equal protection. On the ground conservation efforts focused on mega fauna to the exclusion of other species. This dichotomy translated to local "respect" for mega fauna, but hunting of small-bodied mammals was rife and largely unchecked, with the most hunted animals being bats. This quickly struck us as an emergency! The idea for SMACON was born!
Field Project Manager
Chidiogo Okoye started as a volunteers on the Straw-colored Fruit bat monitoring project in Benin City. She also volunteered with Iroro in 2017 alongside two other volunteers, surveying bats in both Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and Cross River National Park. These experiences with bats and science bought Chidiogo to the light. In 2018, she was hired as the Field Project Manager at SMACON.
Sponsors and partners
Our sponsors and partners provide generous funding and collaboration to support our research, conservation and capacity building projects. Our competitive funding is generously supplemented by private donors: Drs Marie Morgan, Cullen Gieselman, Mr and Mrs William and Terry Pelster. We are incredibly grateful for their support.