Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, a leading conservationist and veterinarian working to save critically endangered mountain gorillas of East Africa, has been nominated as the finalist of the 2019 Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa. Dr Kalema-Zikusoka is the founder of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) which has been been working on the coexistence of mountain gorillas, humans, livestock, and other wildlife.
@DoctorGladys with other @tusk_org Award finalists #TomasDiagne and #JeneriaLekilelei at a panel discussion hosted by @bbcworldservice presenter and Tusk Ambassador @lizbonnin courtesy of @tusk_org in partnership with @Investec #TuskAwards #ForAllTheyDo pic.twitter.com/RUalVOUsMJ— CTPH (@CTPHuganda) November 20, 2019
After graduating from the University of London, Dr Kalema-Zikusoka returned to Uganda to establish the first veterinary department in the Uganda Wildlife Authority and became the first wildlife veterinary officer of the African nation. On November 18, Tusk Trust, a non-profit organisation to help protect African wildlife, shared a video on its YouTube channel announcing her name as the finalist of Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa for this year.
“When I look at gorillas, I feel that they are very majestic and powerful. But at the same time they are very vulnerable because they are so few in number,” said Dr Kalema-Zikusoka.
“I want to ensure the wildlife is there for future generations. I also want to make sure that the people living next to the wildlife, appreciate the wildlife and feel ‘this is for us, this is our future’. Because without their support, the wildlife can't survive,” she added.
The 49-year-old conservationist continues contributes to research required for keeping the great apes healthy which also includes extensive fieldwork. She collects mountain gorillas’ dung to find about their health condition which can also suggest any incident of fighting and crop-raiding.
Dr Kalema-Zikusoka has received a number of awards and accolades for her humanitarian work including the Whitley Gold Award which is considered as the 'Green Oscars'. The Tusk Awards ceremony will be held at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London, and will be hosted by British journalist Kate Silverton. The winner will receive a trophy as well as a grant of £20,000 while the two runners-up will receive a grant of £7,500 each.