Welcoming a new member of Brashares’s Lab!

Coming from the other side of the world, Sheherazade, shortly called as Shera, joined the lab, and starting her PhD this Fall in the ESPM department.

A bit about Sulawesi, where Shera is from….
Sulawesi is one of the five big islands and among ~17,000 islands in Indonesia. Due to its unique geological history, Sulawesi is the land of the endemics, representing one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. With Maluku, North Maluku, lesser Sunda, and other small islands in the middle of Indonesia, Sulawesi is part of a region so-called Wallacea, named after and described by the British naturalist – Alfred Russel Wallace, who developed the idea of evolution by natural selection based on his trips in the archipelago, in parallel and independently from Charles Darwin (recommended book: The Malay Archipelago).

Few snapshots from Sulawesi land/seascapes and wildlife that cannot be found anywhere else in the world

A view from the mountain top in Central Sulawesi. © Sheherazade
A clear water part of Togean National Park, Central Sulawesi. © Sheherazade

Forsten’s Tortoise (Indotestudo forstenii) was found in two villages in Central Sulawesi. © Sheherazade
Anoa (Bubalus sp.) were found in two villages in Central Sulawesi. © Sheherazade
A wild Talaud Cuscus (Ailurops melanotis) was spotted foraging in the canopy of a lowland forest on Salibabu Island, North Sulawesi. © Sheherazade

A bit about Shera’s works…
On October 14th, 2022, Shera presented her works in ESPM Wildlife Conservation Seminar on combining science and compassion to protect Sulawesi’s threatened yet overlooked wildlife. She started her talk by describing the context of economic development in Indonesia, which was a main conservation challenge and how her previous works in the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Indonesia entailed supports to the government to strengthen their science-based approach in protected areas and species management. While working full-time in WCS, Shera continued her MS research works in bat ecosystem services and hunting and together with her colleague, Mba Anim, established flying fox conservation programs in Banggai, Central Sulawesi. With her heart always in Sulawesi, the land that nurtured her sense of wonder and love toward nature, Shera decided to build an NGO called PROGRES (www.progressulawesi.id) with Mba Anim to use the lesson learned from bat conservation and expand the works to protect other Sulawesi endemics, such as tortoises, cuscus, and freshwater fish. This wildlife experiences the same issues, threatened with little to no conservation attention. Together with the local community across Sulawesi, these two Sulawesi native women, leading with compassion, initiated locally led efforts to protect Sulawesi’s valuable biodiversity.