Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Uganda’s first wildlife veterinary doctor is the recipient of this year’s Sierra Club’s EarthCare Award.
The Doctor who received the award on Saturday September 29 at an event held in Denver, Colorado becomes the second African to win the EarthCare Award after the late Wangari Muta Maathai, a Kenyan environmental political activist and Nobel laureate, who received it in 1991.
Founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by Scottish-American preservationist John Muir, Sierra Club honors individuals who have made a unique contribution to international environmental protection and conservation.
Dr. Gladys founded an organisation called Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH), which promotes gorilla conservation by enabling people, wildlife and livestock to coexist through improving health care in and around Africa’s protected areas.
Under CTPH, Dr Gladys runs a Gorilla Health and Conservarion Centre in Buhoma, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
Coffee does not come to mind when one speaks wildlife conservation, but the wildlife veterinary doctor promotes production of coffee and its processing into finished coffee products to support conservation.
She founded Gorilla Conservation Coffee in 2015 that offers advisory services to coffee farmers near the park in better agronomic practices, improved production, increased productivity and quality post-harvest handling. The project in turn buys the coffee at a premium price that is then processed and packaged ready for consumption.
Dr. Gladys believes providing a meaningful livelihood to coffee farmers around the park will reduce and eventually stop their movement into the gorilla habitat to poach or collect firewood.