3 Nov 2014

Dr. Shiiwua Manu receives first ever Marsh Award for International Ornithology

From left to right: Phil Hall, Andy Clements, Shiiwua Manu and Tasso Leventis (Photo: Nick Caro)
By Obaka Torto

The new Marsh Award for International Ornithology was presented for the first time this year to Dr Shiiwua Manu, head of the A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) in Jos, Nigeria. This Award, run in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology, goes to an individual scientist whose work on the international stage has had significant influence on British ornithology.

APLORI is a small but thriving research institute under the Directorship of Dr. Manu. Manu gained his PhD in ornithology at the Edward Grey Institute, Oxford and has been active in ornithological research and research management in Nigeria for the last 17 years.

The institute runs an MSc programme in conservation Biology, which annually takes on between 5 and 10 West African students with the aim of building much needed conservation capacity in this part of Africa. Research is carried out at APLORI by research staff and collaborators from other institutes including research associates and post-docs from APLORI. There are also PhD students and Masters’ students that train by carrying out research projects as part of their dissertations. There are usually one or two international researchers on site carrying out fieldwork using APLORI as a convenient base in West Africa, or actively collaborating with research staff on diverse projects such as avian influenza, migrant bird declines, biodiversity conservation or even nest building behaviour in weavers. In short, APLORI resembles a typical international academic research institute.

Dr. Shiiwua Manu receiving the award (Photo: Nick Caro)

At the award ceremony, Dr Shiiwua Manu said, "I am most grateful to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), UK, for this humbling recognition. The A P Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) University of Jos Nigeria provided me the enabling environment for achieving this recognition. All my colleagues in APLORI as well as the Laminga Community (our host), from where we operate, contributed immensely to this recognition. I am also grateful to my family for supporting me always. I thank you all for bringing this propitious and wonderfully exhilarating occasion to be."

The award was presented by The Duke of Edinburgh at a ceremony hosted by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) at the Mall Gallery in London.

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Story by Obaka Torto