Laly Lichtenfeld, Ph.D.
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Laly Lichtenfeld believes in finding the balance for communities and nature. A 20-year resident of Tanzania, Laly co-founded African People & Wildlife in 2005 to help rural communities conserve and benefit from their wildlife and natural resources. Laly first traveled to the continent with the National Outdoor Leadership School in 1992. Moved by the remarkable wildlife, cultures, and landscapes of East Africa, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to evaluate a community-based conservation project in southern Kenya. In 2005, Laly received her Ph.D. from Yale University for novel research combining wildlife ecology and social ecology in an interdisciplinary study of human-lion relationships, interactions, and conflicts on the Maasai Steppe of northern Tanzania.
Laly specializes in human-wildlife conflict prevention, species conservation focusing on lions and other big cats, community empowerment and engagement in natural resource management, and the development of conservation incentives for rural people. As a female CEO in East African conservation, Laly is often one of few women at the senior leadership table, a responsibility she does not take lightly. In 2018, Laly became an invited member of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Research Advisory Committee. She is an accomplished speaker, a Distinguished Alumna of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute, a National Geographic Explorer, a recipient of the 2016 Lowell Thomas Award for Open Space Conservation, and a 2019 Women of Discovery Awardee. In 2019, Laly was honored to be named a “Woman of Impact” by the National Geographic Society and featured among some of the world’s leading female visionaries in Women of Impact: Changing the World, a one-hour documentary aired on the National Geographic Channel.