Dr. Amy Dickman. Tanzania.
Kaplan Senior Research Fellow. Ruaha Carnivore Project
WildCRU. Oxford University.
I have been passionate about, and enthralled by, big cats for as long as I can remember. Their power, beauty, and sheer wildness is completely awe-inspiring. I find it terrifying that species as iconic as lions and tigers are in such danger and that it falls upon us, right now, to decide whether or not they survive. Tanzania’s Ruaha landscape holds some of the most important big cat populations left in the world, and our team at the Ruaha Carnivore Project is working in partnership with local communities to encourage simultaneous wildlife conservation and human development in this critically important area.
Photo Credit: Pat Erickson
Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. Uganda.
Founder + CEO. Conservation Through Public Health.
My wildlife veterinary career started with setting up the Uganda Wildlife Authority veterinary department, where I led a team that investigated a fatal scabies skin disease outbreak in the critically endangered mountain gorillas. The disease was traced to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park communities who only have limited access to basic health services. This made me realize that you cannot protect gorillas without improving the health and livelihoods of the people whom they share their fragile habitat with. This led to the establishment of Conservation Through Public Health, a grassroots non-profit that works with people and wildlife in and around Africa’s protected areas.
Emmanuel de Merode. Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chief Warden. Virunga National Park.
I decided to commit my life to the protection of African wildlife when, as an 11 year old child, I saw an elephant that had been killed by poachers. From then, my school education became an unfortunate obstacle to the life of choice which took me to the forests and savannas of Congo. Over twenty years of working for Congo’s national parks, I witnessed the pains, struggles, and triumphs of their wildlife rangers, who through their self-sacrifice, achieved the greatest of results in modern conservation history, the survival of the Mountain Gorillas through the Congo’s Civil War.
Lindsey Sterling Krank. Colorado.
Director. Prairie Dog Coalition. The Humane Society of the US.
Ever since I was driving in the family station wagon through national parks and wildlife areas, I have been drawn to the outdoors. I would stare out the window and think, “I want to get out there, right in the middle of all that beauty.” I’m drawn to working to protect these places and animals that call them home. Working with the Prairie Dog Coalition has given me the opportunity to protect a keystone species. Not only do we conserve this animal but the many species who depend on them, including black-footed ferrets, swift foxes, burrowing owls, and golden eagles.
Madelaine Westwood. United Kingdom.
Founder. Great Apes Film Initiative. (GAFI)
As a longtime wildlife filmmaker, I took on the massive decline in endangered species. It seemed impossible to change, but I used my skills to create the Pedal Powered Cinema to screen conservation films where people live with the issues. They come, often a thousand at a time, to see the screenings. GAFI works in 15 countries across Africa and SE Asia and has screened films to 300 million people. As a result, children plant trees and communities protect forests. I learned one individual can create change, and if everyone used their skills to help, we will keep our extraordinary world.
Carmina Gutiérrez + Miguel Gómez. Sonora. Mexico.
Jaguar Guardians. Northern Jaguar Project + Naturalia
Revered for its strength, beauty, and grace, the jaguar is an emblem of species conservation in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Much of the work to protect and provide refuge for this northernmost jaguar population lies with its guardians, Carmina Gutiérrez and Miguel Gómez. They mirror the strength and grace of the jaguars they protect. This engaging duo has taken the northern jaguar under their wing, working tirelessly to protect these endangered cats and ensure their safe haven. Both know where the jaguars roam and diligently follow their tracks throughout the remote, rugged landscape of the 50,000 acre Northern Jaguar Reserve. A deep passion for wilderness and wildlife carries Carmina and Miguel always forward.
Peter Lalampaa. Kenya.
Senior Manager. Grevy’s Zebra Trust.
My passion is conservation of biodiversity because there is a link between pastoral livelihood and ecosystem health. I address habitat loss for wildlife and secure grass for livestock. We need to view things from a wide, bird’s-eye view. “It is not just me, but it is us.” Natural resources scarcity leads to inter-tribal clashes for grass and water for their livelihood, their cattle. I work on community education and awareness to address range land degradation and secure wildlife resources, as well as give a smile to the pastoral community through securing pasture for their livestock.
The Grevy’s Zebra Trust was established in January 2007 to address the urgent need to conserve Grevy’s zebra (Equus grevyi) in the community range lands of Kenya. It is an independent wildlife conservation Trust registered in Kenya.
Rebecca Klein. Botswana.
Founder + Managing Director. Cheetah Conservation Botswana.
I wanted to work in wildlife conservation ever since I can remember. After graduation, I volunteered for a year at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, where I met two cheetah brothers whose mother had been killed by a farmer. I cared for them, and we developed a strong bond. I was surprised to learn cheetah were considered a pest amongst rural communities. One of Africa’s most elegant cats was being trapped, shot, run down, and killed. Here was my chance to make a difference! I founded Cheetah Conservation Botswana to use community outreach, education, and research to ensure the cheetah’s survival.
Rebecca and her team work to ensure survival of free ranging cheetah, ensuring the spirit of the Kalahari, its wildlife and culture, remains for future generations.
D. Simon Jackson. Canada.
Founder + Chairman. Spirit Bear Youth Coalition.
Since the age of 13, I’ve dedicated my life to saving Canada’s highly endangered white Kermode, or spirit bear, a genetically unique subspecies of the black bear that numbers fewer than 400. In the process of creating the now six-million-strong Spirit Bear Youth Coalition, we helped shape what was North America’s largest land protection measure, helping protect two-thirds of this bear’s last intact habitat. Our positive, solutions-based campaign strives to complete our vision of sanctuary for the spirit bear by producing a Hollywood animated movie to raise funds to help the region’s economy and finalize the bear’s conservation.