Bat Conservation International is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to co-lead the 2024 and 2025 MENTOR-Bat Program. MENTOR-Bat uses the USFWS MENTOR Model, which brings together teams of early-career professionals for training, mentoring, and implementation of projects that address major threats to wildlife populations. MENTOR-Bat is the eighth MENTOR program, and the first to focus on strengthening capacity to sustain One Health conservation initiatives that protect bats and their habitats.

 
Konrad Wothe/Minden Pictures

Program Details

The MENTOR-Bat Team is composed of transdisciplinary cohorts of 3 Fellows and 1 Mentor, each cohort from Cameroon, Indonesia, and Colombia.  The program is an 18-month commitment, with start date in April 2024 and end date in September 2025.  The Program incorporates experiential learning in the field, direct mentorship, virtual learning, and participation in existing bat conservation, One Health and USFWS MENTOR networks, and working groups. The MENTOR-Bat Team receives resources, training, and mentorship to empower and grow capacity to identify threats and practical solutions for protecting vulnerable bat populations and advancing One Health priorities, such as the following:

  • Managing risks of human-bat interactions in caves
  • Reducing bat persecution
  • Reducing hunting for bat meat and trade
  • Promoting effective communications and outreach

MEET THE MENTORS AND FELLOWS

Dr. Patrick Atagana

Mentor

Assistant lecturer and researcher at the Biological Science Department of the University of Ngaoundéré, research assesses the impact of COVID-19 on the perception of bats and sensitization of the communities in Cameroon.

Daisy Gómez Ruiz

Mentor

Professor and researcher at Corporación Universitaria Remington in the Veterinary Medicine undergraduate program, research focuses on exploring parasite-wildlife interactions in human-transformed ecosystems spanning from urban to rural areas.

Dr. Sigit Wiantoro

Mentor

Researcher at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense, Research Center for Biosystematics and Evolution, National Research and Innovation Agency in Indonesia, research focuses on the ecology, taxonomy and systematics of Indonesian bats and Indo-Australian bats.

Aicha Gomeh-Djame

Fellow

PhD student at the University of Yaoundé I, studying bats of the Congolian forest, an area of high bat diversity but also one of growing human threats.

Cyrille Mbu’u Mbanwi

Fellow

Research Assistant and PhD Scholar in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Yaounde I, focuses on the identification and characterization of Henipaviruses in bats and rodents at the human-wildlife interface in Cameroon.

Dr. Agnes Monique Ndame Mioni

Fellow

Veterinarian for the Zoological Garden of Garoua, Cameroon, focuses on animal care and welfare and on raising awareness of wildlife conservation and One Health.

Gabriela Peña Bello

Fellow

Research assistant at the Behavioral Ecology & Conservation research group at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogota, focuses on movement ecology of oilbirds and bats.

Juliana Ruiz

Fellow

Environmental geologist, experience in the design and execution of projects associated with the integrated management of natural heritage, especially in karst systems.

Ana María Sánchez Zapata

Fellow

Biologist and researcher from Colombia, with extensive experience in rescuing animals from illegal trade, collaborating across sectors, and raising awareness about conservation threats to wildlife

Fauzan Rizky Pamungkas

Fellow

Bat specialist from Yogyakarta State University, focuses on cave mammal and insect surveys for conservation and public health projects in Indonesia.

Maria Suhatri

Fellow

Education manager based in Medan, Indonesia, committed to raising awareness about environmental issues, focuses on advocating for conservation, promoting sustainable practices, and emphasizing the significance of protecting natural habitats.

Ellena Yusti

Fellow

Bat researcher at CRC 990 EFForTS, investigates aboveground biodiversity patterns and processes across transformed rainforest landscapes, with a focus on the effect of forest transformation on bat populations.