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
After receiving a degree in biological sciences from the College of Charleston in 2008, Justin Jay has since worked for the United States Geological Survey, Fish and Wildlife Services and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. By spending much of his life outdoors working to understand the natural world he has made a career out of finding and studying rare and endangered species for scientific research. While working as a conservation biologist he has been perfecting the skills needed to track and film wildlife with an aesthetic eye. Self taught in film production, Justin has dedicated himself to the production of his first film “El Proyecto del Mono Dril” with his production company Drill Films llc.
Dr. Shaya Honarvar is a biologist and a conservationist who has been working on Bioko Island since 2007. She completed her MS in 2004 at the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in 2007 at Drexel University, working on the nesting ecology of olive ridley sea turtles in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Shaya is the Research Coordinator for the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program (BBPP). Her research focuses on population dynamics and health assessment of leatherback sea turtles on Bioko Island, physiological and ecological aspects of gas exchange by sea turtle eggs, and involving local communities in wildlife conservation. Shaya also teaches a field methods course to American study abroad students as well as students from the National University of Equatorial Guinea. Since 2008, she has been involved with primate research by co-advising Dr. Hearn’s (director of BBPP) graduate students in their studies of the impact of hunting on the primates of Bioko Island and the feeding ecology of drill and pennant’s red colobus.
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.
Megan Pollin is an editor and film student attending Drexel University in Philadelphia. Her interest in film began at a very young age after watching Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments at age 3. This interest eventually led her to film school where she quickly discovered a knack for editing. She has since spent many, many hours honing her skills as an editor on a number of different projects from short films to music videos. She currently lives and works in New York City.
Adam Spencer, is a filmmaker and journalist specializing in wildlife and conservation, who has joined the project to help produce the second Drill Project film. He has traveled throughout South and Central America as a volunteer, producing educational and promotional videos for non-profit organizations whose work ranges from eco-tourism, sustainable energy solutions, and education. He has worked on the Galapagos Islands as a multi-media intern for the Galapagos National Park, lived in the Peruvian Amazon helping to protect land from illegal logging and mining, and currently works for the National Geographic Channel as a bilingual researcher. Adam is from Oregon but has recently relocated to the Washington, D.C. metro area, and enjoys camping, SCUBA diving, and playing soccer. Adam is thrilled to be a part of the Drill Project, which is taking him on his first trip to Africa to explore a remote caldera and to camp on a gorgeous beach to film endangered, beautiful monkeys.You can visit his website here.
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.
Returning to Bioko for her second season, Lisa Sinclair will be collecting, first hand, the important behavioral data on the drills. 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, Snail Kites in the everglades. At home in the rugged rain forests of Bioko she has spent months tracking with Justin Jay and is now one of the few people who have had the pleasure to study the secret lives of the drills. She hopes to help better understand their behavior and ecology in order to aid in conservation and research of these incredible animals.