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Two Hadlow Alumni Among Only 17 Students Selected Globally for Bat Conservation Research Grants

Posted on 27th April 2017 in Animal Management, Alumni

Pictured: Matt Town and a colleague at African Bat Conservation (ABC) in Lilongwe, Malawi

 

We are very proud to announce that two of our graduates have been selected to receive grants from a leading international conservation organisation for their research into bat conservation, with one of them receiving a prestigious international award for their work.

Matt Town and Angelena Efstathiou were two of the 17 students selected for grants as part of the Student Research Scholarship for Global Bat Conservation Priorities, awarded by Bat Conservation International, who received many outstanding applications from 32 different countries. The research work of the grantees is being conducted across 14 countries, including Madagascar, Uruguay and India.

Matt, who studied a BSc in Animal Conservation & Biodiversity at Hadlow College in partnership with the University of Greenwich, was also this year’s recipient of Bat Conservation International’s annual Verne & Marion Read Award for his MRes research, entitled ‘Identifying the Key Factors Which Influence the Nature and Magnitude of Human-Bat Conflict within Malawi.’ His work was seen to embody Verne and Marion Read’s mission of inspiring education and community action to protect bats and address critical conservation needs.

Following his graduation in 2014, Matt gained considerable experience in wildlife ecology and research, including roles as Research Associate studying the behavioural ecology of Edible dormice to inform conflict mitigation and as a Field Coordinator at a bush camp in South Africa. He now works as Senior Research Assistant at African Bat Conservation (ABC) in Lilongwe, Malawi. He commented on the award: "Through my work in Malawi, I noticed the need for research which examines the socio-ecological factors of human-bat conflict within Africa. I have been planning this research long before I imagined I could make it a reality, so I am extremely grateful that the Verne and Marion Read Award will provide me with the opportunity to carry out this project.”

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard that Angelena had also received a BCI grant. For two ex-Hadlow students to be selected from a huge number of international research proposals is fantastic.”

The recognition comes with an additional $1,000 research scholarship in support of Matt’s MRes project at ABC, run in partnership with the University of Cardiff.

The award's namesakes, Verne and Marion Read, became enthusiastic and passionate supporters of bat conservation after discovering thousands of bats roosting in their summer cabin in Wisconsin, USA. Therefore, it is incredibly fitting that Matt’s research studies the social and emotional factors of human-wildlife conflict.

Angelena, whose research project is entitled ‘Humane Roost Exclusions and Their Effects on Bat Behaviour, Roosting Ecology and Home Range Size’, also studied the BSc Animal Conservation and Biodiversity degree programme, achieving a first class classification in 2012. By pure coincidence, Angelena will also be conducting her research in Malawi alongside Matt in the African Bat Conservation team.

Dr Pamela Worrall, Lecturer and Programme Leader for BSc (Hons) Animal Conservation & Biodiversity, said: “My colleagues and I are thrilled to hear about Matt and Angelena’s success. Matt still maintains close links with the College, regularly linking up via Skype with my third year students to talk about the fantastic work he is doing in Malawi.  I have often met up with Angelena at bat conferences in the UK which we have both attended and I know she has been very determined to develop a career involving bat research”.

 

For more information, contact: Philip Orrell, Hadlow Group PR and Media Manager, Tel: 01732 372794, philip.orrell@hadlow.ac.uk

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