Jessica Rothman

Professor, Primate Ecology
Hunter College Of The City University Of New York

Honorary Lecturer, Zoology
Makerere University, Uganda

I mainly work on conservation activities in three ways.

First, I started my fieldwork in Uganda in 1997. Since 1999, I have worked closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to provide input on protected area management. More specifically, I help translate the findings of academic research into policy recommendations in a way that is understandable to park management and local government. I am on the Research and Advisory Committee at UWA, and I review research proposals, participate in workshops, and comment on research practice and policy. Alongside UWA directors and park managers, I regularly visit a number of UWA’s protected areas as part of routine site visits to review field operations.

In June 2011, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UWA whereby our research fees are used towards the tuitions of UWA park wardens to undertake Masters degree programs at Makerere University, and their MSc research is conducted in collaboration with our group in Kibale and Bwindi. Currently, these wardens are Richard Muhabwe and John Justice Tibesigwe.

I also work on collaborative projects with UWA. For example, I am working with Charles Tumwesigye, Chief Conservation Area Manager, to conduct research on differences in gorilla behavior during tourist visits. This research is funded in part by a grant from Primate Conservation, Inc. This research is important in generating informed policy for gorilla tourism.  

Second, since 2005, we have been working closely with Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) to provide training to staff, assist in grant writing, train park wardens and we to helped to set-up a field laboratory in 2005.

Lastly, my lab group and I give lectures about primate conservation to Ugandan school groups at the primary, secondary and university levels.