Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu named to Nat Geo board of trustees


Conservationist Paula Kahumbu. [File, Standard]

Conservationist Paula Kahumbu has been appointed to the National Geographic Society board of trustees.

Kahumbu is among four others to be named to the board along with Ash Carter, Claudia Madrazo, Deborah Lehr and Dina Powell McCormick.

National Geographic board chair Jean Case, in a statement Wednesday, expressed confidence in the appointments in that they would pave way for more protection measures of the environment.

“On behalf of the entire board, I am delighted to welcome these five distinguished leaders to the National Geographic Society’s board of trustees. Collectively, their global expertise and knowledge will prove invaluable as we continue our ambitious mission to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world by using the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling,” Case said.

 According to Nat Geo, the appointments mark milestones for the 134-year-old orgnaisation.

Case noted that for the first time, the board has reached gender parity, building on the Society’s continued commitment to advance its work around diversity, equity, and inclusion, including improving representation of women in leadership positions.

“In 2016, Case became the Society’s first woman to serve as chair. The organization then appointed Jill Tiefenthaler as the first woman CEO in August 2020.

Kahumbu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of WildlifeDirect and a National Geographic Explorer, now becomes the first Kenyan to sit on the board.

She is famously known for spearheading the Hands Off our Elephants campaign, launched in Kenya in 2014 and supported by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta.

“Through her work, Kahumbu has reduced elephant poaching by 80 percent over five years,” Nat Geo noted.

She also teaches conservation at Princeton University, where she leads an undergraduate course in community conservation during an annual field course in Kenya.

She has been feted several awards for her works in conservation, including the 2021 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year and the 2021 Whitley Gold Award. 

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