Meet our team

We are a dedicated team of early‑career conservationists to well‑established experts. Together, we believe we can achieve more for wildlife by expanding international cooperation across our rich and diverse nations.
Rodrigo Medellín

Prof. Rodrigo Medellín

Network co-founder & Board of Directors

Mexico
Paul Webala

Paul Webala, PhD

Network co-founder & Board of Directors

Kenya
Angelica Menchaca

Angelica Menchaca, PhD

General Director

Mexico / USA
Luis Víquez

Luis Víquez, PhD

Board of Directors

Costa Rica / Uganda
Bismark Opoku

Bismark Opoku, MSc

Africa Regional Manager

Ghana / Germany
Cecilia Montauban

Cecilia Montauban, MRes

Latin-America Regional Manager

Peru / UK
Luisa Gómez

Luisa Gómez, MSc

Capacity Building Coordinator

Colombia / Netherlands
Begoña Iñarritu

Begoña Iñarritu, BSc

Marketing Coordinator

Mexico
Ashmi Bunsy

Yogishah Bunsy, MS

Liaison Coordinator

Mauritius
Ugo Diniz

Ugo Diniz, BSc

Digital Content Coordinator

Brazil

Paul Webala, PhD

Network co-founder & Board of Directors

Paul Webala is award-winning regional expert on small mammals, especially bats. Collaborating with scientists from around the world, one of his principal interests are the processes that drive rarity and abundance of mammals in natural and human-dominated environments. This research involves behavioural, ecological, and systematic/taxonomic questions and is central to his work of promoting bat conservation in Africa. He has published extensively in reputable international peer-reviewed journals; He is co-chair of Bat Conservation Africa and a science advisor to Bat Conservation International (USA); and together with colleagues he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for science, capacity building, and biodiversity conservation projects in Africa. He is also a member of the Bat Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

Luis Víquez, PhD

Board of Directors

My name is Luis Víquez-R, and I am a tropical biologist turn disease ecologist. My work revolves around answering three crucial questions: how do animals in their natural habitat cope with infection? How is this balance affected by the human modifications of the landscape? And finally: How can we use these lessons to procure a healthier environment for the next generation of humans? I have tested this hypothesis in several Latin American countries and will soon start a new project in Uganda. Growing up in the global south has informed my research; therefore, my work does not only look at bats as a sampling organism but as critical members of the ecosystem and providers of many ecosystem services that have cultural and economic implications for human populations in the surroundings. As a GSB member, I have helped create collaboration bridges between Bat scientists across the Global South. My work has taken me to different countries for research and studies; Now, I want to use that expertise to help other young scientists choose a career path and navigate the technical training required by our profession.

Luisa Gómez, MSc

Capacity Building Coordinator

I am a Colombian bat biologist affiliated to Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands. I am especially interested in animal social and cognitive behaviour. I started my career researching the incredible frog-eating bats in Panama trying to understand the role of different sensory modalities in their foraging behavior. I later journeyed to Europe to study the roosting ecology and social behaviour of noctule bats. I believe bats offer a window to understand the mechanisms that shape our sociality and that we have a lot to learn from them.

We, as a global community of bat allies, are better off improving our communication and working together to address the pressing threats bats face worldwide, so that we can ultimately achieve more for their conservation.

As the GSB Capacity Building Coordinator, I aim to strengthen the exchange of ideas and practical skills between people across our diverse network. By expanding cooperation and inclusion, we will make conservation science more accessible for everyone and will put the Global South at the forefront of bat conservation. Through science communication, I am passionate about enhancing the engagement of different audiences and I envision a community where people across different continents, disciplines and backgrounds thrive in understanding and protecting bats.

Begoña Iñarritu, BSc

Marketing Coordinator

I am a Mexican biologist working as Assistant Director of Development and Park Control at the State Commission of Parks and Fauna (CEPANAF), Mexico. I am working to enrich visitor experience through science communication and I lead state-wide biodiversity inventories. I combine my love for social media and science communication to share information on natural history, biodiversity conservation, and environmentally friendly practices. Bat research sparked my curiosity and allowed me to engage with a wide community of people trying to make our world a better place. My research on tequila bats led me to become a National Geographic Explorer. It also helped me understand the need of working with people of different backgrounds to achieve a real impact on conservation. Using current technologies that help us communicate better, we can strengthen our force and potentiate our shared vision for a better world. As the Marketing Coordinator at the GSB, I aim to build a platform that facilitates exchanges between members, solves common problems, and becomes an inspiring force to others.

Bismark Opoku, MSc

Africa Regional Manager

I am a Ghanaian bat researcher and PhD student at Ulm University, Germany. I am currently studying the feeding ecology, echolocation calls and dietary adaptions of Western African bats across modified landscapes.

During my voluntary work at BatLife in Central Ghana, I became interested in understanding how bats adapt to rapid changes in their habitat. These changes might affect where a bat lives or what it eats and directly impact the people who share the same space. I believe that linking the role that bats play in the ecosystem and how humans and bats are affected by human-induced changes is pivotal to achieving a positive difference in how we perceive bats and their importance. To this effect, I spend a good amount of my time promoting conservation efforts in local communities and delivering educational talks at local schools near my fieldwork sites.

We need to answer many questions to protect our biodiversity better - especially in hotspots of the Global South. As the GSB African Regional Manager, I strive to motivate young people and encourage my fellow African friends to become part of the scientific community, lead conservation projects in their countries and work together to expand our network.

Angelica Menchaca, PhD

General Director

I am a Mexican biologist dedicated to the conservation of vertebrates through genetic tools to answer ecological and evolutionary questions that help inform conservation practice. I'm passionate about conservation and engaging young people in changing the world. During my career as a scientist, I have understood the importance of science communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders to achieve a real impact in conservation. I have developed storytelling and leadership skills that change the negative views people have on bats. My research has combined genetics to protect endangered species and has led to several awards, fellowships, grant funding and peer-reviewed publications. As General Director of GSB, I strive to build a positive bridge between bats and people, empowering young conservationists to work together and build a network that inspires others. My ultimate goal is to create a platform where every person committed to the conservation of bats finds a place and a group of people with a shared vision that transforms our world.

Cecilia Montauban, MRes

Latin-America Regional Manager

I am a Peruvian bat biologist and PhD student at Imperial College and the Natural History Museum of London. I specialise in bat acoustics and genetics to investigate cryptic diversity and natural ecosystem service provision, and how these are affected by land use change.

I research bats in Latin America, Europe and Africa; and am particularly interested in understanding how evolving technologies and citizen science can be used to effectively study and monitor bat diversity in different habitats and regions. Working across these regions, I soon realised the similarity in the threats and problems that bats face - ranging from habitat destruction to human perception. I believe that in order to protect our planet, people from across the globe need to work together and strengthen their capacities.

Having been born in South Africa and raised in Peru, I’m extremely enthusiastic about the vision of a Global South network uniting bat conservation forces across continents. As the GSB Program Manager of Latin America I aim to build the GSB network and establish cross-regional collaborations between passionate and committed bat researchers - to help expand the reach of the bat conservation work we do.

Yogishah Bunsy, MS

Liaison Coordinator

I am a PhD student from the University of Mauritius spearheading the fight to avoid the endemic Mauritian free-tailed bats from meeting Dodos in animal heaven. In addition, I am the Vice-President and Education Officer of the Ecosystem Restoration Alliance Indian Ocean. My work focuses on forest restoration, and I lead cave-cleaning campaigns, science communication and education outreach in local communities. My goal as Liaison Coordinator of the GSB is to facilitate communication, encourage participation and exchange of information amongst its members and anyone interested in learning and protecting bats. Working in a small island like Mauritius, I want to emphasize the urgent need for researchers and stakeholders to collaborate and include bat ecosystem services into policies and legal conservation frameworks. I believe that the GSB network is a great way to connect, interact and work collaboratively. Together we will find solutions to protect our bats and grow as conservationists.

Ugo Diniz, BSc

Digital Content Coordinator

I am a Master's student of Ecology at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. I study bat pollination and interactions between animals and plants. I wonder how bats select their food among the variety of options in the Brazilian landscape. I am working at the Cerrado and Caatinga, a highly distinctive ecosystem of South America, unique for its endemic biodiversity but poor conservation status.

I am a scientific illustrator, and I try to portray the beauty and artistic inspiration that nature provides and that can help convey scientific concepts. My drawings have been used in papers, presentations, logos and more.

As the Editor Content Coordinator at the GSB, I like to use my illustration and writing skills to help others communicate their work, achievements, adventures and discoveries. I believe that science can guide us in understanding our natural world. Still, effective science communication is key to inspire people to take action and make a difference for species and ecosystems at risk. My goal in the GSB network is to help create content that encourages everyone to care about bats and learn about their importance in their daily lives.

Prof. Rodrigo Medellín

Network co-founder & Board of Directors

Dr. Rodrigo A. Medellín is a Mexican ecologist and Senior Professor of Ecology at the Institute of Ecology, University of Mexico (UNAM). Known for his work in bat jaguar, bighorn sheep and other species conservation, his research has always been designed and conducted to advice conservation policy and conservation decision-making processes in Mexico and 16 other countries for over 40 years. Rodrigo uses community ecology, plant-animal interactions, population biology, and molecular ecology to solve conservation problems. He and his team have designed and implement a three-pronged strategy where research, environmental education, and conservation actions feedback into each other and develop activities in his projects. He is a very active professor, directing theses and teaching constantly. A charismatic communicator and lecturer that is sought and well-known around the world.
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