Nigerian scientist receives prestigious British Ornithology award

At a ceremony in London, Dr Shiiwua Manu was awarded the Marsh Award for International Ornithology for his exceptional work in advancing the knowledge of birds in Nigeria.

Dr Manu is head of the A P Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), the Biological Conservatory of the University of Jos, Nigeria. Under Dr Manu’s guidance up to eight West African students per year enrol in a MSc programme in Conservation Biology, with the aim of building much needed biodiversity conservation capacity in this part of Africa. The programme has been running for 12 years and has been hugely successful, with many alumni now working in renowned international conservation agencies operating in Africa.
APLORI also hosts many researchers from Nigeria, other African countries, and around the world. These researchers work on a broad range of topics, from the ecology of the birds of the Jos Plateau, to broader questions about bird migration and wintering ecology of long-distance intra- and intercontinental migrants. The institute also supports research on other biota, including plants.
Additionally, APLORI  undertakes community development work in the institute’s vicinity, to help educate local people about the region’s biodiversity requirements, as well as to promote sustainable living alongside the birds and other wildlife supported by their immediate and wider surroundings. Many of the local people are employed in APLORI, and this contributes significantly to the local economy and fosters invaluable goodwill towards the conservation efforts of APLORI.
Dr Manu oversees all of these initiatives, skilfully navigating the bureaucracy that can impede such endeavours in Nigeria. He thus ensures that APLORI remains a powerful force for conservation in West Africa.
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.
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.”
Andy Clements, BTO Director said, “The Marsh Awards for Ornithology enable BTO to recognise the excellent work of ornithologists at a variety of scales, all of whom are partners with BTO in ensuring science contributes to conservation.  Dr Manu Shiiwua is an exceptional winner of the International Award, and his institute in Nigeria is a key partner in BTO’s work to understand the ecology of our migrant birds in Africa.”

Notes for Editors

  1. The A P Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI), Jos, Nigeria is the only field station dedicated to ornithological research and conservation training in Western Africa. The Institute contributes directly to the knowledge infrastructure, especially in West African countries, while also providing a unique base from which to set up long-term ecological research projects.
    The Institute was established in 2001 by the A P Leventis Conservation Foundation, which remains the Institute’s principal source of funding. The Institute is an autonomous field station of the University of Jos (UNIJOS), run by a management committee consisting of representatives from APLORI staff, the University of Jos, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), the A. P. Leventis Conservation Foundation, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria  and University of St. Andrews, UK. The Institute works closely with the local community of Laminga, as an employer and a facilitator of local sustainable development.
  2. The Marsh Award for International Ornithology – Awarded to an individual scientist whose work on the international stage has had significant influence on British ornithology, especially as reflected in the work of BTO scientists and volunteers.
    The Marsh Trust runs a portfolio of Awards with a number of internationally and nationally recognised organisations such as Barnardos, the British Museum and the Zoological Society of London. The Awards seek to recognise unsung heroes who all aim to improve the world we live in. Recipients of Marsh Awards range from scientists working in conservation biology and ecology, to authors and sculptors from the arts world, and those who give their time unselfishly to work with the young, the elderly, people with mental health issues and for our heritage.
  3. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO’s work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.
  4. The Society of Wildlife Artists is a registered charity that seeks to generate an appreciation of and delight in the natural world through all forms of fine art based on or representing the world’s wildlife.Through exhibitions and publications of fine art the Society aims to further an awareness of the importance of conservation in order to maintain the variety of the world’s ecosystems and its wildlife.

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