Paula Kahumbu Wins Whitley Gold Award, KSh15 Million Funding

  • Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu with the crew for the TV show
    Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu with the crew for the TV show
  • Conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu who is also the host of Wildlife Warriors that airs on Citizen TV has won an international award worth £100,000 (Ksh15.05 million).

    The show premiered on the station as a weekly series focussed on telling stories of African conservation heroes.

    The Whitley For Nature Foundation on May 12, announced Kahumbu, who is also the CEO of Wildlife Direct, as the 2021 Whitley Gold Award winner.

    The conservationist champion won the Whitley Award in 2014 and each year a past Whitley Award winner is selected to receive the Whitley Gold Award, in recognition of their outstanding contribution to conservation.

    Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu
    Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu

    The TV Series which she hosts and produces is hailed as ground-breaking as it shines a light on the work of African conservation heroes.

    "I want to see a global shift in the narrative where Africans are the storytellers about African wildlife and assume the lead in efforts to protect it," Dr Kahumbu stated.

    The international outfit noted that through her organisation, she had launched the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, with the support of the First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, which contributed to a national consensus on taking decisive action against ivory poaching.

    She also initiated the Eyes in the Courtroom project, which monitors wildlife crime cases in court to inform and support improvements to environmental law and prosecution, deterring poaching cartels.

    Wildlife direct has also worked with the government and NGOs to reduce elephant poaching by 80% over 5 years, culminating in the burning of Kenya’s entire ivory stock in 2016.

    With the prize money, Dr Kahumbu is expected to set up an environmental justice desk that will empower citizens and organisations to respond to threats to wildlife at a local and national level and broker win-win solutions to human-wildlife conflict.

    "She will defend critical wildlife areas under threat from the privatisation of community-owned grazing lands, infrastructure development, large-scale farming, and mining," the organisation noted.

    Kahumbu will also act as an ambassador for “Justice for People and Wildlife” as an approach to conservation that could be replicated elsewhere in Africa and around the world.

    File image of award-winning conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu.
    File image of award-winning conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu.