DR. PAULA KAHUMBA EARNS GLOBAL ACCLAIM FOR HER CONSERVATION WORK
When talking of work done by women in Africa and especially the accomplishments of women in Africa that list may be long, yet the recognition by society is often slow in coming and more often even only grudgingly given at home. Not so in the international arena where Dr. Paula Kahumba, Executive Director at the Kenya Land Conservation Trust Fund and of Wildlife Direct just received one of National Geographic’s highest accolades, being awarded the National Geographic Annual Award.
Paula, an ardent Blogger and use of Twitter in her fight for the rights of wildlife – and to constantly promote the Nairobi National Park, richly deserves this recognition, as she has proved instrumental to bring the need for conservation and to maintain biodiversity to the forefront. Besides her daily work-schedule she is also actively involved in FoNNaP, Friends of Nairobi National Park, from where she sends her daily tweets enroute to her office about wildlife sightings and often ‘special moments’ when encountering lions or rhinos blocking her way in traffic jams of a different kind.
Paula has also become an ardent critic of the use of Furadan, a pesticide banned in many countries including the US where it is manufactured and now exported to countries with weak legislation, poisoning wildlife in an almost serial manner. She has demanded, while in Washington to receive her award, that the US ban the manufacturing and export of Furadan immediately. More notably however she is having a fight at hand back home in Kenya where she is galvanizing the conservation fraternity into opposing the ‘hemming in’ of the Nairobi National Park, where the ancient migration routes from across the Athi Plains and beyond are increasingly cut off for wildlife and where a new recently discovered highway project appears to turn the park area into a glorified open air – and admittedly very large – wildlife park a la Europe.
Said another source when discussing this issue and Paula’s accomplishment: ‘We don’t want a little Disney Animal Kingdom in front of our doors in Nairobi, we want to maintain the park and keep at least some migration routes open and Paula’s award will help our cause a lot because now, when she talks about it, people will sit up and listen. This should not become another Serengeti Highway problem for us conservationists and our national road authority has to learn to leave wildlife areas alone, which also includes their plans for a highway across a section of Nakuru National Park’.
Congratulations to Paula from this correspondent on her outstanding achievement, as the struggle for conservation and the protection of our environment continues.