Careers in Action

Tiger Researcher Coordinator

Pursue your interest contact people, places, and projects for more information. Be prepared to work hard and fund-raise at the beginning, but in the end, it will be your commitment that shines through and gets results.’

Emma spent many of her childhood years glued to natural history documentaries on television. A program on Antarctica sparked her to join a campaign to conserve this last true wilderness. This led her to join a variety of different conservation organizations, many of which she is still a member of today. After she graduated from high school, she worked tough jobs and publicized her efforts through local radio and newspapers to raise funds to spend a year as a volunteer. Emma raised enough money to travel to Uganda and take part in a biodiversity survey for one year. In Uganda, Emma saw chimpanzees in an area thought to be lacking them. It was the first time she had seen great apes in the wild, and she quickly became hooked.

At college, Emma studied zoology and regularly searched for volunteer fieldwork opportunities. After she earned her degree, she went to graduate school and got her Ph.D. She went back to study chimpanzees in Uganda and made it a point to contact the local media to increase public awareness of great apes and conservation. Following her Ph.D., she got a job directing the gorilla research program at Mbeli Bai in the Republic of Congo where she learned about the variety of conservation issues now facing apes and other animals in Africa. She spent the next eight years working for WCS in the Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, contributing to gorilla research, monitoring and conservation, and the training of Congolese researchers in field conservation methods.

In 2006, Emma left the forests of Congo to start a new post for WCS in Cambodia, as part of their new and exciting Tigers Forever program. Using the skills that she developed in Congo working with gorillas and other large mammals, Emma is now working with Tigers Forever field sites across Asia to monitor the impact of their conservation efforts on tiger populations. While tigers are certainly very different from gorillas, they suffer from many of the same threats and problems and so many of the approaches that Emma learned in Africa can now be put to good use in the forests of Asia.