I was blessed to grow in a household full of animals and very appreciative of nature and wildlife, being able to spend my weekends away in the lush green of the Atlantic rainforest, in Southern Brazil. My wonderful parents were always supportive and stimulated my passion for wildlife and conservation. I grew up with stories about Dr. Dian Fossey and watching the amazing work Dr. Laurie Marker, Dr. Jane Goodall and other researchers and conservationists were doing, which from a young age lead me to believe women can be strong and influential leaders in conservation.
I was always determined to work with wildlife, and my love for knowledge and medicine made my career choice easy. During veterinary school I had the great opportunity to intern in a zoo, volunteer at a rescue center, as well as work part-time in an exotic pet’s clinic, allowing me to work with a large diversity of species even before graduation. I did my final-year externship at Cheetah Conservation Fund, in 2016, where my love and admiration for cheetahs only grew.
After graduation, I worked at the world’s largest research center for neotropical felids which is also a rescue and rehabilitation center for a diverse array of Brazilian wildlife. After that, I had the opportunity to gain further experience in the United States with deer captures, do an internship at Cincinnati Zoo, and complete my Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Where I studied capture methods and anesthesia in free-ranging mountain lions.
Since a small child I dreamed of working with cheetahs at CCF and I was overjoyed when the opportunity arose. Working at CCF is a great pleasure and it is a privilege to work with such majestic creatures on a daily basis. We have had a very busy year with many challenging cases and several cheetah work ups, it is a job that keeps me very active and allows me to learn more about cheetah behavior and their medical particularities.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Somaliland and visit CCF’s facility there. It was fascinating to experience the culture, meet their incredible team and learn more about the work they do in there. The challenges they face are very different from the ones we have in Namibia and it certainly was an experience that expanded my views on what is needed to save cheetahs.
Not only the cheetahs, but the goats from the model farm and the dogs from the LGD program keep me on my toes – I even adopted Lady, a retired working dog. Being able to work with different species at the same time is refreshing and there is always a new patient to brighten the clinic’s day.
Life at CCF has some incredible highlights, like collaring animals and releasing cheetahs back in the wild. But what I love the most about this job is the sense of being part of something much bigger and knowing that being a part of CCF’s team means I am able to dedicate my time to save the cheetah!