About the Uganda Carnivore Program

The Uganda Carnivore Program (UCP) is a multi-disciplinary organization, devoted to the research and conservation of Uganda's large carnivores, including lions, leopards, and hyenas.

UCP began as the Uganda Large Predator Project in the 1990s when the Director of Uganda’s Institute of Ecology became concerned that the canine distemper virus epidemic that was decimating predators in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park would affect the predators in Uganda.  While lions in Uganda were dying, research showed that they did not have canine distemper but were instead being poisoned.  It was then was decided that consistent monitoring and research of the predator population should continue.  The program was once active in many of Uganda’s national parks, but at the moment, occurs primarily in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park.  We closely collaborate with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Makerere University.

Over time, as activities expanded into community conservation, and other partnerships were created, we evolved into the Uganda Carnivore Program.

We have two primary focuses:

  • scientific research and monitoring of resident carnivores
  • community-based wildlife conservation

To download a one-page information overview on the Uganda Program, please click here.

Scientific Research and Monitoring:

Our scientific goals and activities include:

establish a comprehensive large predator database for the northern sector of QENP;

establish, analyze, and project large predator biodynamics and provide population viability analysis;

  • formulate recommendations regarding appropriate management for predators;
  • training of the next generation of scientists;
  • assist UWA in conflict mitigation and rescue/relocation operations as needed.

While our focus is on the people and predators in QENP, many national and international graduate and undergraduate students in wildlife, ecology, conservation, and vet studies benefit from their association with UCP while carrying out their research, and we are happy to share our knowledge and experience with them. 

Through UWA, we also provide, guided lion-tracking and nocturnal tours for select tour groups interested in a more in-depth experience in QENP. For more information on this, please see the Visit Us! section. 

Community-Based Conservation:    

We place a great emphasis on our community-based activities that increase local participation in wildlife conservation, with a particular emphasis on large carnivores.  

The goal is to develop a collaborative, holistic plan to reduce deadly instances of human wildlife-conflict.  We strive to educate communities and other stakeholders about large predators, including their significance to the ecosystem, conflict prevention measures, and income generation potential.

Current activities include conservation education outreach in village schools, community outreach regarding wildlife conflict, and sustainable community economic development via participation in ecotourism. 

 

Core Staff

Field:

Dr. Ludwig Siefert

Dr. Ludwig Siefert is a wildlife veterinarian and Team Leader of the Uganda Carnivore Program.  He was a founding member of the Uganda Large Predator Project and has been working in QENP since the 1990s.  In addition, he is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Makerere University’s Department of Wildlife and Animal Resources Management.  Dr. Siefert is often called on by UWA to monitor the health of animals in many of Uganda’s national parks, including Queen Elizabeth, Kidepo Valley, and Lake Mburo, with a particular focus on predators. 

Dr. Siefert is originally from Germany, where he received his undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine.  His work on a postgraduate certificate led him to Uganda for research until he was forced to leave during the Idi Amin years.  Dr. Siefert later earned his master’s degree in Tropical Animal Production.  He returned to Uganda in 1990 and began teaching epidemiology, preventive medicine, and public health at Makerere University, where he was a founding member of its Wildlife and Animal Resources Management Department.  He has also instructed for, and collaborated with, many U.S., Canadian, and European universities. 

In addition to his wildlife vet and university lecturer responsibilities, Dr. Siefert is also spear-heading our conservation education and community-based conservation activities.

Dr. Siefert is passionate about Uganda’s wildlife and people, and has shared his knowledge and passion by mentoring hundreds of Ugandan and international students over the years.  He is also generous of his time and knowledge with tourists to the parks in which he works.

James Kalyewa

James Kalyewa is our Senior Research Assistant, and is based in the northern sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park. James is responsible for the day-to-day monitoring of the park’s predators.  In addition, he supports the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s human-wildlife conflict activities, including reporting on illegal human activity within the park, and working with the communities to sensitize them to the presence of wildlife. 

James has been involved in numerous wildlife interventions, including rescuing and relocating lions and leopards, and removing snares from elephants, buffalos, and warthogs. James has also assisted in the translocation of waterbuck and Jackson hartebeest from Murchison Falls National Park to Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve, as well as the translocation of giant forest hogs from Queen Elizabeth National Park to Kabwoya Wildlife Reserve.

More recently, James led our survey of community attitudes in Muhokya and Kahendero villages, and is working with local teachers on conservation education outreach in community schools.

In his spare time, James offers his expertise to the Uganda Wildlife Authority’s Experiential Tourism initiative in Queen Elizabeth National Park.  James goes out with tourists into the park, where he shows them how predator tracking is done and also provides them with first-hand knowledge of the challenges involved in research and conservation by introducing them to the area’s wildlife and people.

James earned a Certificate and a Diploma in Wildlife and Allied Natural Resource Management from the Uganda Wildlife Training Institute, and also has a Certificate in Predator-Human Conflict Management from the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia.

Kenneth Mugyenyi

Kenneth is our community scout, and coordinates all our community activities throughout the villages in which we work.  He responds to human-wildlife conflict events, identifies methods to prevent them in the future, maintains our ecological monitoring program, works with village teachers on creating environmental curriculums, and assists in developing sustainable community enterprises.  Kenneth also manages the village scout program.

Kenneth was born in Kisongora village, which is at the northern border of Queen Elizabeth National Park.  He obtained a certificate of education in geography and economics from Kasese Secondary School, but because of financial difficulties, he was unable to progress further in his studies.

So, he started volunteering for the Kisongora Women’s group, and is now their general secretary.  He is also the volunteer general secretary for the Kisongora Cattle Keepers Association.

Kenneth says, “growing up in an area where most communities are often enemies to wildlife simply because of the high rate of human wildlife conflicts, my goal as a UCP community scout is to create co-existence of man and nature.  This shall be achieved through community and school education on environment, ecological data collection, and wildlife and livelihood improvement, which I'm doing already with the help of the UCP staff.  I'm so grateful for this opportunity, and hope to help UCP meet its intended goals.”

Program Administration:

Monica Tyler

Monica is our US-based Project Director. She has a Masters in Zoology (research focus on community-based conservation's role in improving human-carnivore coexistence), a Masters in International Business, and an undergraduate degree in World Politics - a very multi-disciplinary background for conservation work.  Having spent 15 years working in business and finance roles for various companies in California's Silicon Valley, Monica is now working on strengthening UCP's outreach work with the local communities and on overall development of the UCP organization.  

Monica has career and education experience all over the world and has studied community-based conservation in Namibia, Kenya, Uganda, Borneo, and Mexico.  She hopes her global, multi-disciplinary experience will continue to help UCP develop solutions to human-wildlife conflict in local villages and partnerships with stakeholders worldwide. Monica also serves as President of our U.S. Board of Directors.

Carol Moen Wing

Carol is our Program Manager, based in the U.S.  Carol is a writer, editor, archivist, and conservationist who assists us with all of our project activities. Her experience includes working in the conservation department of a US zoo, in wildlife conservation tourism at a UK-based African volunteer organization, and as a professional research librarian and archivist for film studios. Carol has done volunteer work with wildlife conservation and community programs in Africa, Nepal, and California.  

 Michael Schwartz

Michael is our Communications Specialist. With a Bachelor's in Public Communications, a Master's in African Studies, and experience around the African continent since 2005, including documenting elephant migration routes and lion research, his passion for Africa's wildlife is matched by a compassion for the people who live there.

In addition, Michael is an African wildlife journalist who writes for publications such as National Geographic, Mongabay, and the East African Wildlife Society. He is also a member of the Uganda Tourist Guides Association, an honorary associate at the International League of Conservation Writers, and a member of the International Institute for the Environment and Development's Uganda Poverty Conservation Learning Group.

When not somewhere in the African bush, Michael is busy writing in support of protecting iconic species like lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants, and rhino. He joined the Uganda Carnivore Program team with a desire to partner local communities with wildlife conservation, and because of all the African countries he's been to thus far, Uganda is where he feels most at home. 

U.S. Board of Directors:

Amy Gotliffe 

Amy has a mission to connect all human beings to nature with the dream of living in a peaceful co-existence. She holds a bachelors degree in communications, holds several teaching credentials and has a Masters Degree in Ecological Education. She holds certifications in humane education, nature-based leadership, conservation psychology, human-wildlife conflict resolution, nature interpretation and influencing conservation behavior change. 
She has worked at various Bay Area educational and environmental institutions, teaching both children and adults, working on campaigns, planting pollinator gardens, producing earth day events and generally influencing positive change in wildlife conservation and green living. 
She serves as the Conservation Director at an accredited US zoo, coordinating international, national and local conservation efforts, creating positive partnerships and alliance, producing a Conservation Speaker Series, leading international conservation expeditions, producing awareness events, teaching conservation and coordinating the zoo's on-site sustainability efforts. 
Amy is thrilled to be working for the betterment of the carnivores of Uganda's Queen Elizabeth Park.  (And we are thrilled to have her!)

 

Carol Kerbel

Carol is a retired Certified Financial Planner and Investment Advisor. Before her career in finance, Carol earned a Masters of Science in Speech and Language Therapy and was a successful Program Manager of a preschool speech and hearing clinic for a public school system in Pennsylvania. She has had a long career working with people who are facing challenges.  

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Carol has a long history of volunteerism and fundraising.  Carol led the fundraising for Uganda Carnivore Program’s community resource center and ecotourism initiative “Leopard Village”.  She has also volunteered in the areas of animal care, fundraising and development for an animal rescue and rehabilitation center and has managed volunteer participation at a celebrity tennis tournament fundraiser for a local hospital.  In addition, Carol is a long-serving volunteer at an accredited US zoo, where she is responsible for developing new volunteer training curriculum on conservation messaging and where she inspires zoo visitors through wildlife and conservation education interpretation. 

Carol has significant global travel experience that includes observation of field-based conservation work and wildlife issues.  

Carol serves as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Uganda Carnivore Program, Inc.

Dr. Jereld Wing

Jereld is a general practitioner of internal medicine.  He is also generous of his time and knowledge as a dedicated volunteer for many different groups.  In addition to volunteering his time to the Uganda Carnivore Program, Jereld serves on the clinical faculty at an accredited US medical school and as a member of the animal behavioral observation team at an accredited US zoo.  He has also traveled throughout the world volunteering his time and expertise for several different conservation and medical organizations.  

To further round out his diverse background and skills, Jereld is an accomplished jazz musician and has also performed in a Chinese opera!

Jereld represents the Uganda Carnivore Program at special events, has advised Ugandan village musicians on performances they offer to tourists, and assists us with photographic and video projects.  Jereld has also spent time with us in the field in Uganda; in this photo, he is helping remove bush snares that were set along a crater near the park.  

Jereld serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors of Uganda Carnivore Program, Inc.

Robyn Johnson

Robyn has followed a career in animal husbandry and conservation at several reputable zoological institutions across the United States. Her current role, as Zoological Manager of various African species, allows her to network with many animal professionals in locally and abroad. Robyn has a Masters in Zoology from Miami University and Bachelor’s in Animal Science from The University of British Columbia. Her graduate work focused on citizen science application for public education and conservation in zoos.

Robyn’s professional and educational pursuits have allowed her to participate in field conservation work in various locations around the world. She is very passionate about the mission of the UCP after visiting Queen Elizabeth National Park in 2013.

Dr. Nicole Stacy

Nicole is a veterinary clinical pathologist. She specialized in the field of veterinary clinical pathology with the purpose to fulfill her desire to combine veterinary medicine with wildlife conservation through contribution to better understanding of mechanisms of disease, physiology, and improvement of available diagnostics. She volunteers her time to support rehabilitation facilities. Nicole had the opportunity to work with Dr. Ludwig Siefert during an externship as a veterinary student and has also spent time at other conservation organizations in Uganda.  Nicole is currently faculty at an accredited US veterinary school.    

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We also thank our many friends who support us in our outreach activities in the US, including Donna, Mary, Cindy, and Cherie.