By Dr Folaranmi Babalola, TBA Alumni – Kibale 2003
Professor Jonathan Onyekwelu of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), gave the keynote address as the 5th Annual Biodiversity Conference by the Nigeria Tropical Biology Association (NTBA) got under way in Akure, Nigeria on 19th May 2015.
With more than 50 participants attending the event, the conference aims to explore the role of multidisciplinary approaches in sustainable resource management, and further, how collective responsibility in resource use can be enhanced in Nigeria.
The day began with a series of high-profile speakers, led by Professor Shadrack Akindele of the School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology (SAAT) at FUTA, and Joseph Onoja of the Nigeria Conservation Foundation.
Flying foxes, commonly known as bats are the second most diverse and abundant of mammals with great physiological and ecological diversity.
Previously unknown to science and considered mysteries, bats play important ecological roles in seed dispersal and pollination, which help to maintain plant communities, and insect control, which limits the distribution and abundance of many pests responsible for spreading human diseases and causing significant economic damages to crops and livestock.
Unfortunately, despite their numerous benefits, poor understanding of their ecosystem benefits, along with negative perceptions and traditional beliefs have often resulted to habitat destruction and direct killing attempts at roost sites.
The TBA Kenya alumni group (TBAAK) have just held a successful members meeting on 20th March 2015, at the National Museums of Kenya. Passionate about using collaboration to bring together different voices and views among themselves and their project partners for increased conservation impact, the members came up with ideas for strengthening their network.
“TBAAK members have diverse skills, knowledge and resources, giving it the potential to be a self-confident, creative and effective network of alumni, who can collectively make a huge difference in the conservation field” – Mr. Herman Chege, TBAAK Chairman.
11 alumni were present at this meeting, where discussions on functioning of the network, benefits to membership and opportunities available for their growth prevailed.