Hey, everyone! Welcome to Rewildology, the show all about conservation, travel, and rewilding the planet. I’m Brooke Mitchell-Norman, conservation biologist and adventure traveler.
Think about your strongest passion. The one thing you’d dedicate your life to. You spend multiple years of your life studying it in school, invest thousands of dollars in student loans to become an expert in your passion, travel to different countries to learn how to study it and return home years later to make the difference you’ve been dreaming about.
Now imagine you’ve made the discovery of a lifetime for your passion. Your wildest hopes and dreams have come true! And then, 24-hours later, you realize it is all in immediate peril. What would you do?
That’s what happened to today’s guest, Iroro Tanshi. Born in Nigeria, Iroro grew up watching nature documentaries from all around the world, planting the seeds for her future love of biology. After a short stint trying to become a medical doctor, she turned her interests to environmental science, only to discover that policy wasn’t her thing either. Her big breakthrough happened when she signed up for a research course in Uganda which was led by a UK organization. After years of searching, she finally found what she was looking for – hands-on biological research with bats. After her Masters in the UK, Iroro returned to Nigeria to study the status of bats for her PhD. During what seemed like a normal field day, Iroro made the discovery of a lifetime. She successfully trapped a short-tailed roundleaf bat, a species that hadn’t been seen in the country for 45 years. However, her elation was soon squandered. Later that same evening, they could tell something was wrong. In the distance, they saw a fire heading their way and they had to leave the forest…fast. Since that moment, Iroro has been working diligently learning everything she can about this rare bat, and collaborate with local communities to keep them alive.
Iroro is a 2021 Whitley Award recipient, which is how I met her. If you listened to Episode 31 with Pedro Fruet, then you’ve already heard about this amazing organization. If not, as a quick recap, The Whitley Fund for Nature has given over 18 million pounds in grants to grassroots conservation projects around the world. THE Sir David Attenborough is on the board of this organization, which goes to show how prestigious it is. If you’re part of a grassroots conservation organization and have an incredible project that needs funding, then I highly recommend you check out the Whitley Awards.
Alrighty, everyone. Now onto my conversation with Iroro.