The recipient of the 2020 Aldo Leopold award is Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka of Conservation Through Public Health. Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka began her impressive career in conservation at a very early age: At age 25, she was appointed Chief Wildlife Veterinary Officer (the first person ever to occupy the job) for the Ugandan Wildlife Service. In this role, she oversaw wildlife translocations to replenish Uganda’s national parks after civil war had depleted them and led the move to use PPE to reduce the risk of disease transmission from humans to gorilla. She is now is firmly established as a respected and highly effective conservation professional. She runs a small but extremely operational NGO: Conservation Through Public Health. The group is crucial in securing the health and conservation of gorillas and other wildlife. This group recently launched a gorilla-friendly coffee certification program.
She has trained scores of young Ugandans for conservation, and serves in a variety of Boards of Ugandan and international organizations. Her work, has been recognized by some of the greatest conservation organizations, including the Whitley Fund for Nature Gold Award, she is a National Geographic Explorer, the World Economic Forum recognized her as a Young Global Leader, and is the recipient of the Jane Goodall Institute Award for Conservation. She embodies what should be the ideal of every conservation professional out there: 1) producing top-of-the-line science and knowledge, 2) capacity building of new generations for conservation, 3) have a hands-on approach to implementation of her work.