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Meet a Trailblazer

When Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka started out there were no black women in her field. She talks to The Guardian about creating roles for African leaders in wildlife and how protecting people is core to protecting the animals they live near. Kalema-Zikusoka grew up in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and by 17 was running the wildlife club at Kibuli secondary school in Entebbe, 25 miles (40km) to the south. After graduating from the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College in 1996, she established the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s first veterinary department and became the country’s first wildlife vet. Kalema-Zikusoka is leading on a number of fronts, at home and in the international arena. She is a National Geographic Explorer, a 2021 United Nations Champion of the Earth and a member of the World Health Organization special advisory group for the origin of novel pathogens (WHO SAGO).