Dr Ryszard OleksyPresident
Dr Ryszard Oleksy is the President and founder of ERA IO. He graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 2009, where he conducted field work for his honours project focusing on the conservation consequences of hunting fruit bats in Madagascar. He also has a PhD from Bristol University, with his research project geared towards investigating the role of the largest Malagasy flying fox (Pteropus rufus) in seed dispersal and forest regeneration. His research focuses on germination success of bat-processed seeds and GPS tracking of bats to assess their ability to disperse seeds over long distances. Ryszard’s research aimed to clarify the role these bats play in the maintenance and regeneration of Madagascar's forests. In a nutshell, Ryszard is a bat scientist specialised in role of fruit bats in forest restoration, GPS tracking and movement behaviour of large flying foxes. Ryszard has also conducted pioneering research studies in mitigating the current fruit bat-farmer conflict in Mauritius. He is also a member of the IUCN SSC Bat Specialist Group.
Mr Ismaeel JanooPlant and Forest Man
Ismaeel is our plant and forest man! Having a BSc in Agriculture, he is ERA’s powerhouse. He joined ERA IO in 2017 as our Forest Officer and is responsible for propagating plants for our restoration projects and overlooks the weeding exercises. Need to learn about Mauritian plants? Then Ismaeel is your man. He also has extensive experience working with Pink Pigeons. When not caring for plants, Ismaeel likes to do sports in particular play football, hiking and bake amazing yummy cakes
Ms Yogishah Ashmi BunsyVice President
Ms Yogishah Ashmi Bunsy- Ashmi has a BSc (Hons) in Biology from the University of Mauritius and joined us in 2018 as Education Officer to continue and extend our educational outreach project. She also looks after our rescued orphaned baby bats. Ashmi has extensive reptile handling, survey and identification skills, having worked as reptile conservation biologist at the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation. She also is experienced in invasive plant and animal control having worked on Ile aux Aigrettes, the South East islets and Round Island. Ashmi is also the Mauritian Ambassador for the Global South Bats network . She is also an MPhil/PhD student from the Tropical Island Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation (TIBEC) research pole at the University of Mauritius.
Mr Raphael Reinegger
Raphael is a PhD student at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol. He has a keen interest in island biology, tropical plant communities and frugivores (primates in particular). In the past 3 years, he has collaborated closely with ERA IO on various research projects including his own PhD research. Raphael’s PhD research consisted of assessing the effects of invasive long-tailed macaques on availability of native fruits to endemic fruit bats, surveying several native remnants forests and studying the effects of local fruits availability on activity budgets, diet and ranging patterns of invasive long-tailed macaques. He is currently working on a long-term study on the effects of weeding on passive forest recovery and native fruit production, with assistance from Vashist Seegobin, an MPhil student at the University of Mauritius. After completing his PhD, Raphael would like to study mammalian frugivores in SE Asia (including primates) and learn more about the application of drones in primate research.