The Drill Project is a conservation initiative focused primarily on producing a wildlife documentary on an endangered species of primate called Mandrillus leucophaeus poensis, or the drill . These animals are in danger of extinction due to the increasing bushmeat trade in West Africa. The film is being used in a conservation campaign to educate, inform and generate awareness in West Africa about the drill.
The drills have never been filmed in their natural habitat and very little scientific research has been undertaken, contributing to the lack of knowledge and protection. By increasing awareness and providing protection for these animals, subsequent protection will be granted to many other species of endangered and endemic primates found on Bioko Island and in West Africa.
The Drill Project was conceived in 2010 after spending months in the rain forests on Bioko Island tracking and filming the drills . Once the conservation implications became apparent and the feasibility of undertaking such a project, much has been done to prepare for the production of a professional documentary. The project has been able to capture never before seen footage of these incredible animals to tell this incredible story to the world in hopes of saving biodiversity and preserving life.
All data collected while filming these animals is used for peer-reviewed scientific research aimed at understanding the drill and its interactions within its environment to better understand where conservation efforts can be most effective in stopping their extinction.
Our Core Team
As a conservation biologist and filmmaker, Justin has been going to Bioko Island since 2010 to film, photograph and conduct research on the endangered drill monkey. With previous experience working for government agencies such as the United States Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Services and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Justin specializes in locating rare and endangered species for scientific research. At home in the mountains, desert or jungle he is an expert in front line field craft methods in primitive conditions. In 2012 Justin completed the film “El Proyecto del Mono Dril” which is used in the Drill Project’s conservation awareness campaign throughout Equatorial Guinea. Justin received a BS in Biology from the College of Charleston, SC in 2008.
Dr. Honarvar is an ecologist and conservation biologist who has been working on Bioko Island since 2008 and was the Research Director of Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program. Honarvar has recently accepted a faculty position at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne where she continues her work on Bioko Island. Her research focus includes sea turtle ecology, population biology, and conservation, and on the Drill Project. Honarvar has also established the Bioko Heirloom, a self-sustaining micro-enterprising project that helps local women in small villages generate income by handcrafting jewelry from indigenous materials. Honarvar received her Ph.D. from Drexel University, a M.Sc. from the University of Pennsylvania, and an engineering degree in biotechnology from the Hogeschool Utrecht in The Netherlands. She has 13 years experience working on marine turtles and primates in Central America and Africa.
Lisa Sinclair has worked on Bioko Island since 2012, collecting important behavioral data on the drill monkey and supervising research on Leatherback sea turtles. After receiving a BS in Biology from George Mason University, Lisa has worked with a wide variety of wildlife from marine mammals and sea turtles to, more recently, endangered bats across the Eastern and Midwestern United States. At home in the rugged rain forests of Bioko, she spends months every season tracking Bioko drills and is one of the few people who have had the pleasure to study them in the wild. She hopes to help better understand their behavior and ecology in order to aid in the conservation and research of these incredible animals.
Demetrio Bocuma Meñe
As a native to Bioko Island and a passionate advocate for wildlife conservation in his home country, Deme provides the voice for “El Proyecto del Mono Dril”.
In the fall 2006, Deme enrolled in the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program’s Study Abroad Program in Malabo which marked the beginning of his involvement with BBPP. His continued involvement with the organization grew from managing the UNGE computer lab to the Moka wildlife center which eventually led to a scholarship to visit the United States to improve his English speaking skills at Drexel University’s English Language Center.
In the fall of 2010 Drexel University and BBPP offered Deme another scholarship in the Biology Department to continue his studies in environmental sciences and policy where he is currently enrolled.
Prospero Rivas Biaka
Currently attending UNGE for a degree in Geology, Prospero Rivas has been leading the Drill Project’s outreach events on Bioko Island. With a wide range of experience from biodiversity conservation to primary school teaching, Prospero has been perfect for the job to bring the message of the Drill Project to the people of Bioko. After attending several courses with BBPP he has now since become the Moka Wildlife Center manager where he provides natural history tours to visitors as well as the on island logistical support to BBPP research efforts. In addition, Prospero hosts an environmentally educational radio program every Friday on one of Equatorial Guinea’s only radio stations.