I was born and grew up in South Africa and am an ecologist and project director committed to science-based restoration and endangered species recovery.
At the age of 10 I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to wild cat conservation. Of course back then I never imagined I'd see the day when the African lion would be sliding towards extinction. Working towards the protection and recovery of lions is a call of duty and a passion for me, one which I don't for a second take for granted.
I received an M.S. in Ecology and Systematic Biology from the Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies & San Francisco State University (2005) and a B.S. with honors in Biology from University of California at Santa Cruz (2001). Plans are underway to begin my PhD in Gorongosa. My permanent home-base is with my husband on the coast of North-Central California.
I first heard about Gorongosa National Park from a colleague in a small bush airport in the Luangwa Valley on my way home after a season researching large carnivores. I was moved so deeply by what I heard and subsequently learned that just a few months later I found myself on the ground in GNP launching Projecto Leões da Gorongosa – Gorongosa's first lion research and recovery effort in more than 4 decades. I've been captivated ever since.
The decade ahead will be pivotal for the future of lions – whether we save them or whether we lose them in the wild forever will depend on what we can collectively achieve. And Gorongosa – and Mozambique overall - will for sure play a role and be part of this story.
In May of 2012 I founded Projecto Leões da Gorongosa and currently serve as its Senior Researcher. The work I undertake on behalf of lions is also supported by Princeton University where I am a Research Associate in Dr. Rob Pringle's lab.
I oversee all monitoring, capacity-building and strategic conservation efforts focused on lions in partnership with GNP's scientific, conservation and senior management teams. I also work closely with the media team to document and share the story of Gorongosa's lions with the world.
Gorongosa – its beauty, its resilience, its lions, and its people - inspires me with tremendous hope. This Park is a living, breathing example of what great things can be achieved when people join forces for the benefit and well-being of future generations of wildlife and people. It's a privilege to be part of such a historic conservation effort.