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Dr. Paula Kahumbu is the CEO of Kenyan Conservation NGO WildlifeDirect and is leading the hard-hitting Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign with Kenya's First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. Hands Off Our Elephants is a campaign to restore Kenyan leadership in elephant conservation through behaviour 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 

In addition to running WildlifeDirect Paula lectures undergraduate community conservation at Princeton during an annual field course in Kenya. 

Paula is the winner of the Whitley Award 2014, Brand Kenya Ambassador (2013), Presidential award Order of the Grand Warrior (2013), winner of the National Geographic/Howard Buffet Conservation Leader for Africa (2011) and is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2011).

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.

Paula 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.

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Conservationists Call on Japan to ban all Trade in Ivory

My organization, WildlifeDirect, recently became aware of the scale of laundering of illegal ivory in the ivory markets of Japan through its contact with the Japanese NGO Tears of the African Elephant. Please see more about the interview we did on NTV Wild via this link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvsj21F_FI4 (or watch the video embedded on top of this post). We…

Sharing Kenya’s Wilderness With Underprivileged City Children Uplifts, Inspires Everyone

World elephant Day celebration in Samburu Reserve with 91 children from Kenya’s poor neighbourhoods, slums and rural areas was probably the most moving experience of my life. The children experienced a real safari, in a four-wheel-drive vehicle. They camped for the first time in their lives, and they met wild wild animals in the wilderness of Samburu. But it was also a first for my team of staff, interns and volunteers who put on an ambitious three-day program – something we have never done before. In our first meeting the group of 20 enthusiasts created a trip of discovery, play and learning for the children. My rule was that it must be the same for all the staff too.

Two Cheers on World Elephant Day 2016

Things have improved since the dark days of 2011 and 2012 when ivory poaching across Africa appeared to be spiralling out of control and conservations began to contemplate the unthinkable: the extinction of the African elephant. On World Elephant Day 2016 there are grounds for cautious optimism. Nevertheless, it is too soon to assert that Africa’s elephants are safe.

Justice Not Served: An Account of Two Ivory Smuggling Cases in Nairobi

Wildlife conservationist Paula Kahumbu writes that Kenya stands at the crossroads of turning things around for elephants. The authorities need to recognize that poaching and ivory trafficking are serious crimes and immediately elevate penalties for wildlife crimes.