Project Description

Hayden Panettiere Visits WildlifeDirect Conservation Work in Kenya

May 9, 2017 | Patricia Sewe

WildlifeDirect was thrilled to host Hayden Panettiere, a renowned and famous American actress, model and singer. She is best known for her role as a cheerleader on the television show ‘Heroes’ and also as a country singer on ‘Nashville’ an American drama series.

Hayden a wildlife activist was in the country as a guest of WildlifeDirect to boost worldwide awareness of global efforts to stop the ivory trade and wildlife trade and support the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign. This was her maiden trip to Kenya where she visited WildlifeDirect’s community and education projects, Amboseli National Park and Maasai Mara as part of her mission to Kenya.

At Enkijape Primary School in Imbirikani she witnessed how WildlifeDirect has responded to the ongoing biting drought by initiating a school feeding program with support from Insta Products. Lack of food in the school is responsible for falling grades which will deepen poverty by reducing options for these children who live in an environment full of elephants. Hayden spoke to children and joined them in songs and dance.

Hayden was accompanied on the trip by Mr. Amed Khan, a former aide of President Bill Clinton and an avid wildlife and humanitarian activist. Mr. Khan was formerly based in Kenya and founded and currently runs the Elpida refugee camp in Greece.

Before leaving for Maasai Mara to spend a day with Kenyan award winning guide Jackson Looseyia of Big Cat Diaries fame, Hayden made a last stop at one of the Oltome Nadupo Women’s Group. She spoke to the women about the Maasai way of living and visited one of the manyattas. She also bought a beaded denim jacket made by the women.  The Oltome Nadupo Women’s Group Company is a successful community enterprise that was started by WildlifeDirect in collaboration with the First Lady’s office and UNDP to empower communities living with elephants in Amboseli.  The project was launched on October 23, 2015 by H. E. Margret Kenyatta, the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya.

When asked how the trip went, Ms. Panettiere said it was ‘perfect’. She looks forward to returning to Kenya soon.

“We are humbled that our work has achieved attention from such a famous person who is renowned for her interest in justice for animals and people and we hope that this is the beginning of a long relationship” said Paula Kahumbu, CEO of WildlifeDirect.

WildlifeDirect also introduced Hayden to their partners Big Life Foundation where she met rangers and their loyal sniffer dogs which contribute to one of the most effective anti-poaching efforts in Kenya.

Hayden Panettiere is an official supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and a patron of The Whaleman Foundation. In November 2007, she was awarded the “Compassion in Action Award” from the animal rights group PETA for her efforts to stop the dolphin hunt in Japan. She’s also the wife of former heavy weight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

WildlifeDirect is a conservation organization with a mission to change hearts, minds and laws to ensure Africa’s critical species endures forever. It founded and runs the award winning and hard-hitting Hands Off Our Elephants campaign. In collaboration with NTV and KWS, WildlifeDirect produces NTV Wild and NTV Wild Talk, Kenya’s first two wildlife televisions series.  WildlifeDirect partners with numerous organizations to engage citizens in conservation through community work, research, innovations, education and citizen science.

Hayden working with a student at the Enkijape Primary School in Imbirikani.

Hayden joins students in a dance performance at Enkijape.

Hayden purchases a beaded denim jacket from the Oltome Nadupo Women’s Group.

Hayden gets up-close with one of the patrol dogs at Big Life Foundation.