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Gladys Zikusooka: Uganda’s first vet doc for the wild

On what occasion do you lie?

I would only tell a lie if it’s to help the situation. For instance I told a lie when I travelled to the U.S. during the time of the Ebola Outbreak. I got food poisoning and when doctors asked if I had blood in my diarrhea I said no. If I had told them the truth they would have locked me up for two weeks in quarantine somewhere because it’s one of the symptoms of Ebola.

Which living person do you most despise?

People who are greedy and never get satisfied with what they have.

What is the quality you most like in a man?


What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Inner strength.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

I am happily married so my husband is my greatest love.

When and where were you happiest?

In 2001, when we went for honeymoon in Zanzibar.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I like swimming but I’ve not had chance to be best at it.  I am scared of diving.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Setting up an NGO that has made impact and has won many awards in conservation.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I would like to come back as a bird so that I am free to fly to anywhere I want.

Where would you most like to live?

I am happy living here in Uganda.

What is your most treasured possession?

The Bible

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Not having the courage to do something you really want to do.

What is your favorite occupation?

I like working with animals so vet is my favorite occupation.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I am a risk taker and at times it puts me in trouble.

What do you most value in your friends?


Who are your favorite writers?

Wangari Maathai is one of them. I’ve read her books like ‘Replenishing the Earth’ and the ‘Green Belt Movement’. I admire her for being able to write and at the same time do great things.

Who are your heroes in real life?

The Queen of Buganda and other women who have done a lot to raise the profile of women.

Who is your hero of fiction?

I don’t have any.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I like Nelson Mandela as the best Africa has had. I also like Martin Luther King for his courage.

What are your favorite names?

African names.We made a decision to give our children African names as their first name because we thought they should identify more with their culture even as the world is becoming more and more a global village.

What is it that you most dislike?

People throwing rubbish out of the window of a moving vehicle.

What is your greatest regret?

Not being able to have written a book yet. I’ve been trying for 20 years but I’ve not succeeded.

How would you like to die?

When am in the middle of something I enjoy doing. I don’t want to fall sick for long.

What is your motto?

Follow your dreams and the rest will follow.



  1. “Follow your dreams and the rest will follow” a great motto Dr Gladys!

    • Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

      Thank you Charlotte for the comment on the article in the Independent Magazine. I was given this advice by Dr Biurite Galdikas, who was the first person to do a long term study of Orang Utans in the wild, a few years after Dr Jane Goodall started studying chimpanzees in the wild.

  2. Ekya Dan Cephas

    My lovely course of being a wildlife doctor gets scraped off the university this year yyyy me

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