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.

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Director, Research Programs

Iroro Tanshi is a Ph.D. 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.

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Manager, Administration and Development

 

Eze Ajali holds a Bachelors in Microbiology and a Master's 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 habitats with community members living on the boundaries of protected areas in southeastern Nigeria.

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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.

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Intern, Social Media

Jess Wray is an Earth Science master's student at the University of Amsterdam. She currently interns with a local ecological consultancy where she conducts acoustic surveys and research on the Pond bat. Jess loves to share her enthusiasm for bats through stories and games and will make use of her creativity as a volunteer for SMACON's communications team.

Intern, Communication and Social Media

Enifome Awotu holds a Master's in Public Health Biotechnology that involved the use of molecular biology techniques and is interested in how genetic and environmental factors drive biodiversity. As an undergrad at the University of Benin, Fome, volunteered on the Eidolon population monitoring program, entering the exciting world of bats. Enifome is enthusiastic about writing and science communication. As a Communication and Social Media Intern, she works with the communication team to educate the public about SMACON’s amazing work with bats. 

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