Dominique Gonçalves is an ecologist born and raised in Beira, a city near Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Gonçalves is focused on elephant conservation in Gorongosa National Park which she joined in 2015 as a research fellow and now leads the Gorongosa’s Elephant Ecology Program. Working in elephant ecology, conservation with communities and colleagues Gonçalves hopes to build coexistence between communities and wildlife throughout the park’s buffer zone.
A passionate advocate for girls education to prevent early marriage and help them have a life full of opportunities, Gonçalves believes that her work with elephants is an artifact of girls education. Gonçalves uses elephants as an emblematic species to help inspire and improve the schooling experience of vulnerable girls in the education programs such as the Park’s Girls Clubs, working towards Sustainable Development Goals of gender equality and life on land in the communities around Gorongosa National Park. Gonçalves is the narrator of the film Our Gorongosa: a Park for the People which reflects a new model for conservation and community development in one of Africa’s iconic National Parks. Since 2018, Goncalves is a National Geographic Society Fellow and in 2019 was featured in the National Geographic Women of Impact film.