The Team

Director, Conservation Programs


Benneth Obitte is a PhD student in Dr. Kingston's lab at Texas Tech University, where he focuses on human dimensions of bat hunting across southern Nigeria. Ben has conducted multiple surveys in Nigeria and is very committed to working with local people on community participatory solutions to conservation issues. He co-founded SMACON and oversees the conservation programs by relying heavily on carefully collected evidence. Ben is a National Geographic Explorer.


Director, Research Programs


Iroro Tanshi is a PhD student in Dr. Kingston's lab at Texas Tech University, where she focuses on drivers of bat assemblage structure along elevational gradients. Iroro is a lecturer at the University of Benin, Nigeria, where she has conducted multiple bat surveys across sites in southern Nigeria. Iroro is very passionate about developing local science in West Africa. She co-founded SMACON and drives the research program and capacity building efforts. She is a multiple award winner including the prestigious Future for Nature Award and Whitley Fund for Nature Award a.k.a the Green Oscars.


Manager, Administration and Development


Eze Ajali holds a Bachelors in Microbiology and a Masters in Petroleum Engineering. He has volunteered in SMACON since 2019 in the areas of logistics, procurement and administration, and  joined SMACON fully in 2021. He currently oversees SMACON activities in Benin, and implements management systems to improve workflows and staff productivity at SMACON. Eze also contributes to our long-term strategic goals through fund-raising and managing donor expectations.

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Manager, Community Engagement and Research

Inieke Udokang has been a bat conservationist since her undergraduate thesis project on the roosting behavior of fruit bats in southern Nigeria. She has a bachelor's in Zoology and a master's in Ecology and Environmental Biology. As the Community Engagement and Research Manager at SMACON, Inieke protects bat habitat with community members living on the boundaries of protected areas in southeastern Nigeria.

Manager, Community Education  

Elizabeth Usen is a Plant ecologist and Teaching Assistant at the the Akwa Ibom state University. She is an alumnus of the Tropical Biology Association field course (2016/Kirindy). Elizabeth is interested in tropical forest ecology and conservation, and explores ways to better engage the public on science through her writing. As a consultant at SMACON she brings her experience with students and local people engagement.

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Manager, Communication and Social Media

Esther Nosazogie is a conservation biologist, ornithologist and science writer. She is also a researcher at the National Oceanography and Marine Research Institute. An alumnus of the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Institute, Esther studies raptors and water birds along the Lagos coastline. Esther is passionate about conservation and communicating science to nonscientists and writes a blog focused on local researchers in Nigeria, an experience that she brings to her role as a consultant at SMACON.

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Manager, Field Projects 

Juliana Adeola Labiran works as an Environmental Specialist at Hayat Kimya Nigeria. An alumnus of the Tropical Biology Association field course (2017/Amani) she is the current Secretary of the Nigerian chapter. Her curiosity and passion for field research and conservation led her to volunteer on multiple bat surveys at SMACON, giving her first hand experiences with the local people and landscapes where we work. Her role as a consultant at SMACON includes coordinating our mentorship program, overseeing field surveys, project plans, and evaluation.