Gorillas

Gorillas: Walking with Gorillas by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

The amazing book published this year, Walking with Gorillas by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. She has made history by becoming Uganda’s first wildlife veterinarian and founder of CTPH, a globally acclaimed community programme ensuring the survival of the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the local communities.

As a recipient of multiple international awards. Gladys narrates her story of carving out a career for herself in wildlife conservation that has her now recognised as an authority on mountain gorillas with her name on the Royal Veterinarian College (RVC) Wall of Achievement as one of the seven alumni with unique careers in the world. RVC is where she graduated from in the UK in 1996.

Life and work journey

She began working as a wildlife vet in Uganda in the mid-1990s. By that time there were 300 mountain gorillas in Bwindi and listed on the IUCN Red list as ”Critically endangered”.

Today Bwindi’s population of mountain gorillas is 459 and increasing, mostly thanks to CTPH. The global population is 1063. And that is only in Bwindi and Virunga mountains.

The last in a family of six siblings, Gladys was born into a family of political leaders on January 8, 1970. With Idi Amin coming into power the following year.

Uganda descended into a decade of turmoil during Amin’s rule of terror marked by looting and bloodshed. Soon after her second birthday, her father, William Wilberforce Kalema, a former Cabinet minister under President Milton Obote, was abducted and murdered by Amin’s soldiers. She attributes much of her success to her mother Rhoda.

With an innate love for wildlife, despite growing up in a culture that sees animals having no souls, by age 12 Gladys had decided she wanted to be a vet. At 19, she enrolled at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK where she was the only woman of African origin in her class.

A vet to save Uganda’s decimated wildlife.

Her focus now was on not just becoming a vet but a wildlife vet to save Uganda’s decimated wildlife.

In an exciting time, she treats captive wild species in UK zoos, but the groundbreaking moment is when she attends a talk by Dr Barkley Hastings, the first vet to work on the mountain gorillas in Rwanda which fuels her growing interest in the primate.

As a student, her journey takes her to conducting research on chimpanzees and on mountain gorillas in Uganda. But it also coincides with one group of gorillas contracting scabies, the first disease outbreak discovered at the Uganda Wildlife Authority in 1994.

The group was raiding the farms on the edge of the forest and the farmers erected scarecrows dressed in their discarded clothes full of scabies-causing mites. Humans have built a resistance to scabies, but the gorillas have not.

This realisation was to change her life.

In 1996, Dr Gladys returned home as the country’s first wildlife vet. The Uganda Wildlife Authority employed her to set up a veterinarian unit.

ReadExciting hike through thick Bwindi forest

Despite the lack of funds, her passion blazes through the pages of how she struggles to treat wild animals. With each success, she convinces donors to fund the unit that eventually become fully fledged.

After four years at UWA, Gladys realised that if the mountain gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were to survive, the marginalised community living in poverty alongside the gorillas had to be fully involved with healthcare topping the list.

It led her to found Conservation Through Public Health in 2003. Which has become a trailblazer in the world of wildlife and human conservation. Despite her being black she was told by people that she would never attract funding because she was black.

The One Health model that was finally adopted by the United Nations as the One Health Approach focuses on people, animals and the environment.

By the time Gladys was finding  CTPH. She was focusing on preventing zoonotic diseases transmitted between people and the gorillas. By working with the Village Health and Conservation team.

Today, the programme has expanded phenomenally, providing the villagers with access to education and health-care centres. Where there is treatment for scabies, HIV/Aids and family planning including establishing tele-centres. Plus including the coffee farmers in fair trade coffee under the brand Kanyonyi, the silverback who was her favourite gorilla.

Village counselling

With the gorilla population increasing and the land remaining static. Villagers are counselled on family planning and on re-investing the money to become self-sufficient and provide education for children.

Read: Uganda’s gorilla population increases

In an interview, Gladys states: “Big families means many mouths to feed, increasing land wrangles and forest fragmentation.”

The Covid pandemic brought gorilla tourism to a grinding stop. It saw poaching for bush meat (to put food on the table) re-surface resulting in the death of one gorilla.

After successful launches in Uganda, the US and UK. Walking with Gorillas will be launched in Nairobi in the coming months with Gladys in attendance. Published by Arcade Publishing 2023, the book is available on Amazon.

No gorilla has been killed in the snare since then.

Big win: July 2022, at the International Union of Conservation (IUCN) meeting in Rwanda. CTPH brought up a policy briefed with International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the Africa CSO Biodiversity Alliance on responsible great ape tourism. Which was adopted in addition to lay the protocol for gorilla tourism in the wake of the Covid pandemic to ensure the lives of both the ape and the human.

After successful launches in Uganda, the USA and the UK, Walking with Gorillas will be launched in Nairobi in the coming months with Dr Gladys in attendance.

3 thoughts on “Gorillas: Walking with Gorillas by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka”

  1. Kapimpina Moris July 6, 2023

    Am so much greatful for Dr.Gladys for the content delivered to us regarding Wildlife Conservation about the endangered mountain Gorillas.

    And we believe with joint conservational measures ofcourse with wildlife clubs of Uganda , Conservation Through Public Conservation,Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center etc we will yield more products on board effectively.

    • Turinawe Anthony July 6, 2023

      A very passionate and conservationist Dr Gladys.
      A very cool lady whose heart and dedication for the Gorillas’ health is immeasurable.
      Met her personally at Ruhija sector during my internship studies.
      How I wish, we are all had the same mentality of saving these endangered species through her efforts and those of partner organisations

  2. vorbelutrioperbir January 17, 2024

    I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Gorillas

Gorillas: Walking with Gorillas by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

The amazing book published this year, Walking with Gorillas by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. She has made history by becoming Uganda’s first wildlife veterinarian and founder of CTPH, a globally acclaimed community programme ensuring the survival of the mountain gorillas of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and the local communities.

As a recipient of multiple international awards. Gladys narrates her story of carving out a career for herself in wildlife conservation that has her now recognised as an authority on mountain gorillas with her name on the Royal Veterinarian College (RVC) Wall of Achievement as one of the seven alumni with unique careers in the world. RVC is where she graduated from in the UK in 1996.

Life and work journey

She began working as a wildlife vet in Uganda in the mid-1990s. By that time there were 300 mountain gorillas in Bwindi and listed on the IUCN Red list as ”Critically endangered”.

Today Bwindi’s population of mountain gorillas is 459 and increasing, mostly thanks to CTPH. The global population is 1063. And that is only in Bwindi and Virunga mountains.

The last in a family of six siblings, Gladys was born into a family of political leaders on January 8, 1970. With Idi Amin coming into power the following year.

Uganda descended into a decade of turmoil during Amin’s rule of terror marked by looting and bloodshed. Soon after her second birthday, her father, William Wilberforce Kalema, a former Cabinet minister under President Milton Obote, was abducted and murdered by Amin’s soldiers. She attributes much of her success to her mother Rhoda.

With an innate love for wildlife, despite growing up in a culture that sees animals having no souls, by age 12 Gladys had decided she wanted to be a vet. At 19, she enrolled at the Royal Veterinary College in the UK where she was the only woman of African origin in her class.

A vet to save Uganda’s decimated wildlife.

Her focus now was on not just becoming a vet but a wildlife vet to save Uganda’s decimated wildlife.

In an exciting time, she treats captive wild species in UK zoos, but the groundbreaking moment is when she attends a talk by Dr Barkley Hastings, the first vet to work on the mountain gorillas in Rwanda which fuels her growing interest in the primate.

As a student, her journey takes her to conducting research on chimpanzees and on mountain gorillas in Uganda. But it also coincides with one group of gorillas contracting scabies, the first disease outbreak discovered at the Uganda Wildlife Authority in 1994.

The group was raiding the farms on the edge of the forest and the farmers erected scarecrows dressed in their discarded clothes full of scabies-causing mites. Humans have built a resistance to scabies, but the gorillas have not.

This realisation was to change her life.

In 1996, Dr Gladys returned home as the country’s first wildlife vet. The Uganda Wildlife Authority employed her to set up a veterinarian unit.

ReadExciting hike through thick Bwindi forest

Despite the lack of funds, her passion blazes through the pages of how she struggles to treat wild animals. With each success, she convinces donors to fund the unit that eventually become fully fledged.

After four years at UWA, Gladys realised that if the mountain gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest were to survive, the marginalised community living in poverty alongside the gorillas had to be fully involved with healthcare topping the list.

It led her to found Conservation Through Public Health in 2003. Which has become a trailblazer in the world of wildlife and human conservation. Despite her being black she was told by people that she would never attract funding because she was black.

The One Health model that was finally adopted by the United Nations as the One Health Approach focuses on people, animals and the environment.

By the time Gladys was finding  CTPH. She was focusing on preventing zoonotic diseases transmitted between people and the gorillas. By working with the Village Health and Conservation team.

Today, the programme has expanded phenomenally, providing the villagers with access to education and health-care centres. Where there is treatment for scabies, HIV/Aids and family planning including establishing tele-centres. Plus including the coffee farmers in fair trade coffee under the brand Kanyonyi, the silverback who was her favourite gorilla.

Village counselling

With the gorilla population increasing and the land remaining static. Villagers are counselled on family planning and on re-investing the money to become self-sufficient and provide education for children.

Read: Uganda’s gorilla population increases

In an interview, Gladys states: “Big families means many mouths to feed, increasing land wrangles and forest fragmentation.”

The Covid pandemic brought gorilla tourism to a grinding stop. It saw poaching for bush meat (to put food on the table) re-surface resulting in the death of one gorilla.

After successful launches in Uganda, the US and UK. Walking with Gorillas will be launched in Nairobi in the coming months with Gladys in attendance. Published by Arcade Publishing 2023, the book is available on Amazon.

No gorilla has been killed in the snare since then.

Big win: July 2022, at the International Union of Conservation (IUCN) meeting in Rwanda. CTPH brought up a policy briefed with International Gorilla Conservation Programme and the Africa CSO Biodiversity Alliance on responsible great ape tourism. Which was adopted in addition to lay the protocol for gorilla tourism in the wake of the Covid pandemic to ensure the lives of both the ape and the human.

After successful launches in Uganda, the USA and the UK, Walking with Gorillas will be launched in Nairobi in the coming months with Dr Gladys in attendance.

3 thoughts on “Gorillas: Walking with Gorillas by Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka”

  1. Kapimpina Moris July 6, 2023

    Am so much greatful for Dr.Gladys for the content delivered to us regarding Wildlife Conservation about the endangered mountain Gorillas.

    And we believe with joint conservational measures ofcourse with wildlife clubs of Uganda , Conservation Through Public Conservation,Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center etc we will yield more products on board effectively.

    • Turinawe Anthony July 6, 2023

      A very passionate and conservationist Dr Gladys.
      A very cool lady whose heart and dedication for the Gorillas’ health is immeasurable.
      Met her personally at Ruhija sector during my internship studies.
      How I wish, we are all had the same mentality of saving these endangered species through her efforts and those of partner organisations

  2. vorbelutrioperbir January 17, 2024

    I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

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