Dr Paula KahumbuCEO, Wildlife Direct
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“None of us want our kids to grow up in a world without elephants.”
“To win this war we have to be fearless.”
Dr. Paula Kahumbu is the CEO of Kenyan Conservation non-profit WildlifeDirect and is leading the hard-hitting Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign with Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. The campaign is restoring Kenyan leadership in elephant conservation through behavior change at all levels of society, from rural communities, to business leaders and political decision makers.
She is a Kenyan conservationist with a PhD from Princeton University where she studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and conducted her field research on elephants in Kenya. She now teaches undergraduate community conservation at Princeton during an annual field course in Kenya.
She formerly worked for the Kenya Wildlife Service and ran the CITES office and headed the Kenyan delegation. In 2005, she joined Bamburi Cement and ran Lafarge Eco Systems, a company that specializes in forest restoration of limestone quarries. She is a board member of Lewa and the Soysambu Conservancies, a well as Jane Goodall Institute Kenya.
She is also an accomplished writer and she has co-authored a global best selling children’s book on a true story about a hippopotamus and a tortoise called Owen and Mzee: the true story of a remarkable friendship, it’s sequel Owen and Mzee: the language of Friendships, and Looking for Miza a story about an orphaned mountain gorilla in Democratic Republic of Congo in the same series.
- Winner of the Whitley Award, 2014
- Brand Kenya Ambassador, 2013
- Presidential award Order of the Grand Warrior, 2013
- National Geographic/Howard Buffet Conservation Leader for Africa, 2011
- National Geographic Emerging Explorer, 2011