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Trustee Reflects on Life “Walking with Gorillas”

From intern to world-renowned gorilla expert, Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka looks back on her inspiring journey

Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is one of the most famous naturalists in the world. The winner of countless awards, a National Geographic Explorer and a United Nations ‘Champion of the Earth’, she is a pioneer connecting human health and gorilla conservation. She’s also a valued Trustee of the Gorilla Organization, a role many years in the making. Dr Kalema-Zikusoka picks up the story…

“As I celebrate the release of my book “Walking with Gorillas”, I have to thank Jillian Miller and The Gorilla Organization for all the great support they have given me on my journey. This began in the 1990s when as a veterinary student at the Royal Veterinary College in London, they gave me the opportunity to volunteer and so I spent my days stuffing envelopes to send to donors.  When I was appointed as the first veterinarian for Uganda Wildlife Authority in 1996, the Gorilla Organization donated the first darting equipment. It arrived came just in time to successfully handle the first fatal disease outbreak in the- then critically endangered mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park”

Since then, Dr Kalema-Zikusoka has set up her own NGO, Conservation Through Public Health, and continues to advocate for better futures for both gorillas and the people they live alongside. In recognition of her work, Gladys has most recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in London.

This story was originally published in the Summer 2023 edition of Digit News. Read the full newsletter here.