GRASP Pioneer Mapesa Dies After Lengthy Illness
Moses Mapesa Wafula, the former director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) who chaired the 1st Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Council and guided the partnership through its early years, died this week as a result of complications from leukemia.
Mapesa served as chair of the GRASP Executive Committee for five years and worked to establish strong ties between the secretariat’s two United Nations hosts, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) and the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Mapesa passed away near his family home in Busia, Uganda.
“The great ape conservation community has lost a true hero,” said Doug Cress, coordinator of GRASP. “Moses Mapesa was instrumental in establishing GRASP’s credibility, and his wisdom and vison can still be felt throughout the organization. He will be missed.”
Mapesa began his career as a researcher in 1988 and rose through the ranks as a warden at Queen Elizabeth National Park and then as chief warden at the Kidepo National Park and the Kibale National Park.
In 2000, Mapesa was promoted to the head of planning and as the deputy director, field operations at UWA, before becoming the executive director in 2005. In 2010, Mapesa entered private practice as a tourism consultant.