Kenyan Conservationist Awarded Abroad

  • Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu
    Wildlife Direct CEO Paula Kahumbu
    Twitter
  • Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu has been named Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year for 2021. The Princeton alumnus has devoted her career to protecting threatened wildlife species and habitats. 

    She was lauded for her actions in her self-appointed mission to save elephants from poachers and other environmental threats. 

    Kahumbu continues to share the story of conservation through television shows like “Wildlife Warriors,” where she talks to Kenyans who are actively saving wild animals. She has also authored children’s books including the best-selling true tale of “Owen and Mzee.”

    The popular wildlife television series, Wildlife Warriors, went ahead to scoop the May 2021 Whitley Award. The award included a Ksh15 million perk for project funding, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to conservation.

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

    Kahumbu is the (Chief Executive Officer) CEO of WildlifeDirect. WildlifeDirect is an online platform that enables conservationists to upload blogs, videos, and photos to easily spread knowledge about their work.

    She launched the HandsOff Our Elephants campaign whose patron is Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, to combat elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.

    First Lady Margaret Kenyatta (left) and former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta during a prize handover ceremony.
    First Lady Margaret Kenyatta (left) and former First Lady Mama Ngina Kenyatta during a prize handover ceremony.
    Twitter

    The campaign has so far generated unprecedented public and political awareness resulting in support for wildlife conservation in Kenya. Since its inception, elephant and rhino poaching in Kenya has declined by 80% and 90% respectively.

    Kahumbu has received international recognition for her critical role in creating awareness and mobilizing legal reforms to halt elephant poaching in Kenya. 

    As a result, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed a new law that prescribed the most severe penalties for wildlife crime in the world. Additionally, he allocated an additional Ksh2 billion to combat poaching activities. 

    President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses journalists after commissioning hospitals on Tuesday night, July 6.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses journalists after commissioning hospitals on Tuesday night, July 6.
    PSCU

    President Uhuru proceeded to burn 15 tons of ivory on World Wildlife Day in 2014, the world’s biggest ever ivory destruction event.

    Moreover, 577 newly trained rangers were deployed to protect Kenya’s wildlife sanctuaries.

    Undated image of KWS rangers on patrol
    Undated image of KWS rangers on patrol
    File