West Africa Mammal Fellowship
SMACON addresses the lack of in-country expertise by inspiring, training and supporting the next generation (gender equitable) of West African ecologists and conservationists. Working with educators from West Africa, and the global north, it promotes carefully designed student-led, hypothesis-driven research that advances understanding of the West African biome. Bright passionate MSc and PhD students receive project support including expert-led SMACON residential training field courses; the loan of equipment, and the provision of a small field stipend; and mentored by a partnership of renowned national and international experts. The West Africa Mammal Fellowship supports post-graduate students from West Africa on relevant research skills to carry out effective biodiversity research in the region.
West Africa holds a diverse range of ecoregions and habitat types, with its coastal forests (Guinean Forest of West Africa) globally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot. Yet mammal research in West Africa is descriptive, with gaps in ecological knowledge, and conservation remains a budding enterprise, limited by in-country capacity, and funding for scientists and conservationists. West Africa is the next frontier in Africa for capacity building and funding for mammals especially small neglected groups like bats, rodents, and pangolins etc. Capacity for independent small mammal research does no match the scale of the ecological problem, and extinction threat. SMACON addresses the lack of in-country expertise by inspiring, training and supporting the next generation of West African ecologists and conservationists.