Princeton in Africa honor Dr. Paula Kahumbu

New York, October 18: WildlifeDirect is pleased to announce that its CEO Dr. Paula Kahumbu was this week presented with Princeton in Africa Founders’ Medal at the Princeton in Africa Gala in New York City.

Every year since 2011, Princeton in Africa has presented the Princeton in Africa Medal to outstanding individuals who share a commitment to the advancement of Africa.

Paula was honored for her accomplishments as a vocal advocate of wildlife, mobilizer of public opinion, and champion of African-led efforts to protect the continent’s unique wildlife heritage. This year Dr. Kahumbu was honored alongside Dr. Jay Ireland, CEO of GE Africa, recognition of his accomplishments as an innovative leader and his dedication to high-impact investments and growth opportunities across the continent.

In his introductory remarks, renowned filmmaker and writer John Heminway stated:

“When Paula was born there were 2 million elephants across the continent. Today hardly 350,000 savanna elephants remain. So goes it for so many species—Grevys zebra, rhino, and pangolin. The list will make you weep. All of them are vanishing in her lifetime. What Paula recognized at an early age was that a spear was being driven into the heart of her beloved continent. Elephants are not just emblems, but hope…….. Paula is the new Africa. For a century that continent’s conservationists have been pale skinned people in bush shorts and sandals. Where they have failed, she will win. Where they dared not tread she will bravely step right in.”

Paula is the CEO of Kenyan NGO WildlifeDirect and spearheads the campaign ‘Hands Off Our Elephants’, which has mobilized public support for wildlife conservation to an extent never before seen in Africa. Paula has already received several awards in recognition of her crucial role in raising awareness of the plight of Africa’s elephants and galvanizing global efforts to shut down the illegal wildlife trade. These include a special commendation at the United Nations Person of the Year celebrations in 2013, and the award of the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2015.

As brand ambassador to Amarula, Paula is the spokesperson of the global campaign #DontLetThemDisappear, run jointly by Amarula and WildlifeDirect that reaches out to millions of consumers who might otherwise be unaware of the critical state of Africa’s elephant populations.

Paula is motivated by a vision of African leadership in wildlife conservation. She is convinced this can be achieved by building a continent-wide alliance for wildlife, bringing together actors from all sectors of society, from government agencies and corporates to local communities living with wildlife.

This authentic African voice for wildlife will be increasingly hard to decision makers to ignore.

In her speech at the award ceremony in Princeton, Paula emphasized that is should not be seen as an award for individual achievement, accepting the medal “on behalf of my entire team at WildlifeDirect: the board, staff, interns, volunteers, and our phenomenal supporters”.


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WildlifeDirect is a not for profit organization that changes hearts, minds and laws to ensure that Africa’s critical species endure forever. The organization holds a unique and special role in the conservation of Kenya’s wildlife thorough it’s legal, community and outreach and education programs.



Media Contact: Trish Sewe, Communications Manager, WildlifeDirect

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