Dominique Gonçalves
Author: Ivan Agerton NGS
2021

Dominique Gonçalves

Ecologist

the end of ivory towers

meet dominique

I grew up in Beira, near Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, hearing my father’s stories about the park and its wildlife, especially the elephants. Today, I manage Gorongosa’s Elephant Ecology Project. My work is a holistic blend of ecology, conservation, and human-elephant conflict mitigation. I am also a passionate advocate for girls’ education, to help prevent early marriage. In 2019, I was narrator and main character of the award-winning film Our Gorongosa: A Park for the People.

the end of ivory towers
Nominated by: Greg Carr FN'16
Class of 2021 Location Mozambique
Dominique Gonçalves working with girls club
Dominique Gonçalves working with girls club Author: Ivan Agerton

I am one of the first Mozambican women to work in elephant ecology and conservation. My work focuses on the long-term monitoring of Gorongosa’s elephant population and their habitat use (distribution, movement, and range expansion) to understand and mitigate human-elephant conflict (HEC). The project trains members of the Coexistence team in HEC solutions. With the Elephant Ecology Project, I contribute toward achieving Gorongosa National Park’s broader impact goals, aligning with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly zero hunger, gender equality, and life on land. To help change the face of African conservation, I have appeared in many films.

“I believe that empowering and educating girls is one of the greatest potential forces of positive change in the world today.”

- Dominique Gonçalves
Author: Ivan Agerton

I believe that empowering and educating girls is one of the greatest potential forces of positive change in the world today. I regularly visit schools in local communities, speaking about my personal experiences and encouraging girls to pursue their dreams. If girls stay in schools, there will be less premature marriage, lower natality rates, more economic opportunities for girls, and more gender equality. Women from the communities who live around wild places have a direct and daily connection with nature, a powerful force that can lift their communities out of poverty.

My belief for the future is that the Greater Gorongosa landscape will be a place where healthy and happy people coexist with abundant wildlife. It will be a place where women and girls reach their full potential, a fundamental human right and a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world.

never stop exploring

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