Careers in Action

Conservation Biologist

“Wildlife conservation is enormously rewarding. You are constantly amazed and delighted by what you see – it might be an eagle feeding its young high in a tree, it might be ants carrying termites home from a hunting expedition, it might be an orchid flower shaped like a bee. Every day there is something that makes you gasp. And, underlying all this amazement and curiosity is the knowledge that you can do something about saving these things.’

As a child, Boo was always out and about looking at bugs, birds, and animals in the countryside behind where she lived. She always enjoyed animals, especially the horses she would ride. By the time Boo was about seven, she knew she wanted to work with animals. Then, at some point in high school, she realized wildlife was in danger. After reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and George Schaller’s early books, she decided she wanted to work to save wildlife, probably in Africa.

Boo studied biology and geography in high school. After she graduated, she went to college, where she concentrated on the wildlife side of biology, joined the biology club, and participated in university expeditions to the tropics. She eventually earned a Ph.D. and started working in Africa. First, Boo worked in Lopé National Park in Gabon. After some years working in DRC, Congo, Gabon (again) and Cameroon (including, for WCS, in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo), she has now returned to live in Lopé again, and helps sites in Gabon, Congo, DRC, and Cameroon monitor their wildlife.

As a conservationist, she looks at the relationships between human actions and wildlife and plant communities. She also looks at the way that wild animal and plant communities interact in the absence of humans. This research helps her predict the effect humans will have on wildlife, and the kinds of things we can do to ensure that the maximum number of wild species and ecosystems remain wild and undamaged.

Living in a very wild and untouched place, Boo knows that she is making a difference. The things she sees around her every dayÔÇömonkeys, elephants, amazing birdsÔÇöare surviving because of the work she does.