cover image Walking with Gorillas: The Journey of an African Wildlife Vet

Walking with Gorillas: The Journey of an African Wildlife Vet

Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka. Arcade, $29.99 (350p) ISBN 978-1-950994-26-7

This uplifting debut by conservationist Kalema-Zikusoka reflects on her upbringing in Uganda and career as a wildlife veterinarian. Born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1970, the author was two years old when her father, a former cabinet minister, was abducted and murdered by the forces of then-president Idi Amin. She recounts devoting herself to her education and enrolling at the University of London Royal Veterinary College, becoming at age 26 Uganda’s first veterinarian specializing in wild animals. Vivid anecdotes detail the sometimes gritty nature of her work with endangered mountain gorillas, as when she describes using sugar to help reduce swelling around a gorilla’s prolapse. Through her work, she became “convinced that you couldn’t keep the gorillas healthy without improving the health and well-being of the people with whom they shared their fragile habitats” and began studying disease transmission between humans and primates. That research, she relates, enabled her to successfully advocate for Uganda’s adoption of the “One Health” approach to conservation, which recognizes that human hygiene and health lead to better welfare for plants and animals. The heartwarming narrative testifies to the good that one person can achieve and illuminates the complex interdependence between humans and their environments. Admirers of Jane Goodall will love this. (Feb.)