July 22, 2008

Center Opens in Wildlife-Rich Bioko Island

A new wildlife research station in Equatorial Guinea's Bioko Island should be a boon for conservation and educational opportunities, its U.S. founder says.

Located in a mountainous virgin rain forest, the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program will provide training and research for scientists, students and others interested in the island's cornucopia of fauna and flora, said Drexel University professor Gail Hearn in a release.

The island's sheltered location provides endangered monkeys and other wildlife a chance to thrive in relative abundance, Hearn said. Eleven species of primates -- including Africa's endangered drill money and Pennant's red colobus monkey -- call Bioko Island home, and four species of endangered sea turtles excavate thousands of nests on the southern beaches.

We are delighted to see this research station open, Hearn said of the joint educational project between the National University of Equatorial Guinea and Drexel of Philadelphia. It will serve as the linchpin of conservation efforts throughout the island, attracting scientists and students from around the globe to collaborate with local researchers and enrich our understanding of Bioko Island's unique natural heritage.