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Former AWF Charlotte Fellow Earns the Whitley Gold Award

  • Monday, May 18, 2009

LONDON, UK--The Whitley Foundation for Nature has awarded the Whitley Gold Award to wildlife vet and former AWF Charlotte Fellow Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka for her work with people and mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka is the founder of the Ugandan nonprofit Conservation through Public Health (CTPH), an organization that works to promote conservation and public health by improving primary health care to people and animals in and around protected areas in Africa.

Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka received the award during a ceremony held at the Royal Geographical Society, London, and hosted by The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), the UK-based charity that administers the international awards program.

WFN founder and judging panel chairman, Edward Whitley, said: "The DNA of people and gorillas is so similar that it is possible for diseases to cross between them. With her work, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is not only reducing the risk of gorillas falling prey to human ailments but also improving the lives of local people, by offering them better healthcare, greater knowledge of their gorilla neighbours and more opportunities to benefit from gorilla tourism without harm to the apes."

The prize comprises a EUR30,000 ($46,000) Whitley Award (donated by WWF-UK); the Whitley Gold Award, providing second year funding worth a further EUR30,000; a trophy; membership of the influential network of past Whitley Award winners and international profile-raising opportunities.

Edward Whitley added: "As judges, we were especially impressed by what this project is doing, in International Year of the Gorilla, to protect a species that has become a symbol of what conservation means, offers its human neighbours access to useful tourism income yet which is vulnerable to human diseases because we share 98% of DNA."

As an AWF Charlotte Fellow, Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka pursued a master's degree in specialized veterinary medicine at the University of North Carolina. She received a Conservation-In-Action Award from the Zoological Society of San Diego in May 2008.

To learn more about AWF's Charlotte Conservation Fellowship Program, click here.

To learn more about CTPH, visit www.ctph.org.

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