About Your Guide
Dr Carla Litchfield
‘My passion is animal behaviour, cognition and communication-how animals behave, think and feel. I work with researchers, communities and organisations that promote animal wellbeing, conservation and living in harmony with nature. I have conducted non-invasive behavioural and enrichment studies mainly with non-human primates, felids, canids and marine mammals, and helped evaluate zoo-based conservation campaigns. I remain the only scientist to spend a month “locked up” in a zoo enclosure at Adelaide Zoo as part of the Human Zoo, providing first-hand experience of captive conditions.
Working with wildlife is not enough to save species from extinction- since we need to change human behaviour to become more sustainable (e.g. reduce consumption patterns & waste, minimise conflict with wildlife). I am developing the area of Conservation Psychology- how to apply principles of Psychology to eliminate rhino poaching and other illegal trade in wildlife, and to address other “real world’ conservation problems. Science communication is important to me- as an author of endangered species children’s books, online articles for The Conversation, and presenter at science week events, visits by Dr Jane Goodall and other media events.
In 1994 I spent a year observing a community of ‘wild’ chimpanzees in Uganda- the start of an ongoing commitment to the Great apes of Uganda. I have served as a scientific expert for Great Ape responsible tourism programmes in Uganda, and provided expertise concerning ethical issues in conservation, including working with industries to minimise impacts on wildlife and their habitats. I have led tours as a scientific expert for ZoosSA (as a past President) and Peregrine travel to Uganda (chimpanzees & gorillas), Rwanda (gorillas), Tanzania (including chimpanzees at Gombe) , Kenya, Borneo (orangutans) and India (tigers & Asiatic lions) to visit responsible tourism projects and research/conservation sites with proceeds going to the conservation projects we visit. I have travelled to about 40 countries and love sharing my passion for all animals, natural environments, and human cultures on these amazing tours.’