Thandiwe Mweetwa is a senior ecologist and community educator with the Zambian Carnivore Programme. Her work focuses on studying population dynamics and threats to survival of lions and other carnivores in eastern Zambia in order to protect the species and their habitat. As a supporter of community-based conservation, Ms. Mweetwa is dedicated to exploring effective ways of integrating local communities in wildlife conservation through environmental awareness programs, capacity building and citizen science initiatives. She is the manager of ZCP’s conservation education program, which is designed to gain community support for wildlife conservation, and to promote interest in conservation-based careers among local youths. In 2016, she started the Women in Wildlife Conservation Training Program aimed at providing opportunities for Zambian young women wishing to pursue careers in the wildlife sector. Ms. Mweetwa’s work to protect big cats in Zambia through research, capacity building and conservation education has been featured in several BBC documentaries and National Geographic videos. Ms. Mweetwa is a National Geographic Big Cats Initiative grantee and a 2016 National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Animal Biology from the University of British Columbia and a Master’s Degree from the University of Arizona in Natural Resources Conservation.


Born: 1988

Hometown: Mfuwe, Zambia

Education: M.Sc in Natural Resources Conservation

Occupation: Wildlife biologist and conservation educator

Expeditions: Fieldwork to conduct research on large carnivores in and around protected areas in Eastern Zambia

Favorite Place: Anywhere in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley

Best Discoveries: A training program for Zambian young women interested in pursuing careers in nature conservation

Favorite Items In The Field: My headlamp

Personal Heroes: People that have believed in me and supported me throughout my life

Hobbies: Game viewing and watching soccer


Advice: There are lots of obstacles and success can take a while to achieve.