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Originally from Sighisoara, Madalina Marian is a proud advocate of Transylvanian heritage, nature, and culture. She grew up foraging in the hilltop forests, keeping an eye out for bears and chasing butterflies in Transylvania’s wildflower meadows, which inspired her passion for biology.

She went on to study biology in university and during that time she also worked three summers with Opwall teams as a guide, translator, and survey leader, becoming familiar with the unique ecology of her local area.

Upon graduating, Madalina knew she wanted to show visitors the wildlife Transylvania had to offer and founded Angofa Wildlife Tours in partnership with Friends of Wallacea, Opwall’s tourism arm. Based at the beautifully restored Angofa Wildlife Centre, Madalina leads tours to view bears, birds, and other wildlife, as well as hosting dinners and lectures that support conservation efforts in Transylvania.

In this episode, we discuss what makes Transylvania so special, and why she thinks people should come visit and learn from Romanian conservation to protect wildlife in harmony with human livelihoods.

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Episode Outline: 

  • [0.43] Madalina’s background
  • [2.31] Madalina’s inspiration to become a scientist
  • [3.40] How Madalina got involved with Opwall’s Transylvania expedition
  • [4.53] What has she been doing since she graduated last year?
  • [6.22] The impact of Covid-19 on the Angofa Wildlife Centre in 2020
  • [8.33] What makes Transylvania and Angofa so special?
  • [11.33] What does the Angofa Wildlife Centre do and what can visitors do when they visit there?
  • [16.03] What can the rest of the world learn from Transylvania?
  • [17.51] Madalina’s favourite parts of field work and some of the challenges
  • [20.17] Madalina’s crazy story from the field
  • [22.08] Advice for someone starting a career in conservation
  • [24.22] What keeps Madalina fighting to protect biodiversity?
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