Rae Wynn-Grant wants people to know that bears aren’t bad news. The National Geographic Explorer focuses on ways to eliminate negative interactions between these charismatic carnivores and the humans living near bear habitat. Translating painstakingly collected data, she brings communities information about where bears are, where they’re traveling, and how locals can protect themselves.
In her work as a wildlife ecologist, she has also tracked lions across Tanzania and monitored ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar. As her career progressed, Wynn-Grant, who is based in Santa Barbara, California, has grown stronger in her advocacy for the necessity of diversity in nature—and in the sciences. (Why combining diversity with STEM is a good thing for kids)
She was the lone Black person among her academic peers when she started studying wildlife ecology. The lack of diversity became only more obvious as she advanced in her field.