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Paula Kahumbu becomes first explorer to join National Geographic board

Dr Paula Kahumbu is the first Kenyan to hold such a position

Wildlife Direct CEO Dr Paula Kahumbu becomes first explorer to join National Geographic board

Kenyan wildlife conservationist Dr Paula Kahumbu has once again made history. The Wildlife Direct CEO has been appointed to the National Geographic Society board of trustees.

Dr Kahumbu's inclusion to the board, makes her the first Kenyan and explorer to hold the role. She joins the board with four other individuals, three being women.

The inclusion of the five - Ash Carter, Claudia Madrazo, Deborah Lehr, Dina Powell McCormick and Kahumbu - ensured the board reached gender parity, a milestone for the 134-year-old organization.

Dr Kahumbu will join the board as an Explorer Trustee, another milestone for the producer and host of Wildlife Warriors.


The conservationist has been part of the National Geographic community for 12 years; in June 2021, she was named the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

Jill Tiefenthaler, CEO of the National Geographic Society said Dr Kahumbu's inclusion was key as the organisation aims to drive significant global impact through the explorer community.

"Paula is an extraordinary ambassador for our Explorer community, and her insights add a critical new voice to our board to ensure we remain at the forefront of exploration and discovery,” said Tiefenthaler.

Tiefenthaler went on to welcome all the board members saying, National Geographic will benefit the most from their inclusion.


“To illuminate and protect the wonder of our world, we greatly benefit from having diverse perspectives in the boardroom and across our organization.

"I am thrilled to welcome Ash, Claudia, Deborah, Dina, and Paula, whose range of perspectives, deep expertise, and wisdom will strengthen our mission and vision,” said Tiefenthaler.

Kahumbu's Achievements

She spearheaded the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, which is widely recognised for its singular successes in advocacy and the engagement of the people of Kenya to support the protection of elephants.


Through her work, Kahumbu has reduced elephant poaching by 80 percent in just five years. She is the winner of many awards and accolades, including the 2021 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year and the 2021 Whitley Gold Award.

She is a trustee of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Maun Science Park Botswana. Dr Kahumbu received her PhD in ecology from Princeton University.


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