Rafa Benjumea was born in Seville. He had a great interest in nature since childhood and studied Biology at the University of Seville. After graduation he initiated his PhD on Freshwater Fishes in the Ecology Department. At the same time, he participated in numerous projects focused on birds and conservation, and kept cultivating his passion for birds and nature.
After University, Rafa started working with birds, and more specifically with bird migration and conservation in the Strait of Gibraltar. He became part of a great team of ornithologists and birders at the Migres Foundation in Tarifa. It was then when Rafa and Javi met each other as coworkers. Here, he also led an ambitious environmental educational project in Andalusia called Educaves, where hundreds of teachers and thousands of students enjoyed and learned about birds and their importance in conservation. Several articles and books were published by him during this time.
Research and Conservation
Rafa combined his work with others projects involving birds and conservation. He is currently a member and coordinator of the Batumi Raptor Count since 2013, whose mission is the monitoring of the raptor migration in Batumi (Georgia). Recent articles about migration have been published and new projects are being developed in order to promote the region and continue bird migration research. Over 1 million raptors are counted each season in Batumi!
In 2015 Rafa started to collaborate in the Tougoupeul project in Senegal. He initiated bird surveys and bird monitoring programs, involving local people in the threatened Langue de Barbarie National Park, near St. Louis (Northern Senegal), where over 200 Ospreys are wintering in a really small area!
Illustration and Photography
Rafa is also an art enthusiast and takes every opportunity he has to draw and paint nature scenes. His ability to observe details is essential to develop beautiful drawings and sketches. He also has good eye for photography, you can see his work on Instagram and Flickr.
His educational background and experience, as well as his communication skills, makes Rafa a great company for your birding trip with Birding The Strait!