About Me

Laura-Congo-Lola

Working in DRCongo

I started working in field primatology in 2002. I have worked on projects in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, with the bulk of my research taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

My background is in captive chimpanzee care and management, having worked at Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Entebbe, Uganda, and having managed an interim sanctuary in collaboration with AWARE-Africa and the Jane Goodall Institute in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

I have also worked on a number of laboratory projects, including a genetic analysis on allelic variability, studying the MHC of polar mammals under Dr. Diana Weber at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

AMNH is also home to over 10,000 human skulls, many hundreds of which I catalogued as an Evolutionary Biology undergraduate at Columbia University.

The only way to travel

The only way to travel

My undergraduate honors thesis examined the impact of increased artisanal mining on chimpanzee populations in rural DRCongo. I established a statistically significant data set, showing that miners were consuming more primate bushmeat than are villagers (in process) and I discovered a pathogenic human strongyloid in the chimpanzee fecal matter that I collected. My research joins the mounting evidence that, as the human density rural areas shifts deeper into the forests and the human-nonhuman primate overlap increases, the emergence of new infectious zoonotic diseases becomes more likely.

I spent the last five years working at the United Nations for the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) out of the United Nations Environment Programme offices in Nairobi, Kenya. There, I worked with high-level officials in order to promote GRASPs agenda, while also engaging United Nations agencies like UNODC, CITES, GEF, CMS, and the World Bank. I was the focal point for the partnership of over 100 Member States and conservation organizations, and a member of the global communications campaign on Illegal Trade in Wildlife, including content development, technical guidance, and project management.  I was proud to be an integral part of the Webby-award-winning project, Wild for Life

Questions? Comments? Please email me at info@lauradarby.com

Check out my current work and accomplishments on LinkedIn here

My story with my husband was recently profiled by NBC on the Sunday Today show, and you can watch it here

Want to know more about my travel adventures? Check out an article written about me by Melissa Lombard as a part of her 5 Year Project!