Dr. Gladys Zikusooka Kalema — a very good friend and partner of Adventure Consults Uganda for over 12 years — was recently honored with a prestigious Earth Care Award from the Sierra Club in the United States.
Dr. Gladys (as she is popularly known) is most famous for her work with the endangered mountain gorillas of East Africa, where she works as a pioneering veterinarian. The ardent conservationist and primate expert was presented with the award this past September at a ceremony in Denver, Colorado.
She is the first Ugandan (and second African) to win this award, following the 1991 recognition of the late Wangari Muta Maathai, a Kenyan-based environmental and political activist.
Among other projects and initiatives aimed at preserving the mountain gorilla through a model that ensures tangible benefits to communities living around their habitat, Dr. Gladys runs the nonprofit Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) near Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the largest population of these fascinating creatures.
CTPH has been a game changer for mountain gorillas, as well as initiative that ignites a call-to-action for anyone who cares about nature. Adventure Consults is proud to support CTPH via guest bookings on Awesome Apes safaris.
Dr Gladys’ research clinic in Buhoma tests people, gorillas and livestock for signs of zoonotic infections. While on safari with Adventure Consults, guests can arrange a private tour or chat with one of the CTPH staff or Dr Gladys (her busy schedule permitting).
Reaching out to the local community, the CTPH conservation center has convinced people that healthy gorillas contribute to a better way of life for humans too. Local people no longer hunt gorillas or destroy the forest habitat, because they know that more income can be generated from tourism.
CTPH relies heavily on donations and grants. However, in a bid to raise more funds to guarantee a positive future for the mountain gorillas in the mist-shrouded hills of southwest Uganda, Dr. Gladys and her team launched the Gorilla Conservation Coffee Project in 2015.
This social enterprise buys quality coffee beans from local communities and brews some of the tastiest coffee that Adventure Consults guests can sample while on safari. A percentage of the revenue made from coffee sales goes both directly and indirectly towards gorilla conservation efforts.
Founded in 1892 by Scottish-American conservationist John Muir in San Francisco, the Sierra Club recognizes contributions by people around the world towards preserving the planet’s flora, fauna and natural landscapes.
The Earth Award follows in the wake of several other local, regional and international recognitions scooped by Dr. Gladys as a result of her fight against zoonotic diseases affecting primates, most especially the mountain gorillas of Uganda.
Among her other honors are a Golden Jubilee Award from the President of Uganda in 2017 and a Conservation in Action Award from the San Diego Zoo in 2008, as well as the Whitley Gold Award for outstanding leadership in grassroots nature conservation in 2009.
Through its bespoke experiences, Adventure Consults offers more than just the ordinary safari experience — insightful and experiential journeys focusing on aspects of conservation that impact animal survival.