Dr. Paula Kahumbu is the CEO of Kenyan Conservation NGO WildlifeDirect and since 2014 has spearheaded the hard hitting Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign. Hands Off Our Elephants is a campaign to restore Kenyan leadership in elephant conservation through behaviour change at all levels of society, from rural communities, to business leaders and political decision makers.
She is an award winning Kenyan conservationist with a PhD from Princeton University where she studied Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and conducted her field research on elephants in Kenya.
Dr. Kahumbu completed her primary and secondary schooling at Loreto Convent Msongari in Nairobi, Kenya, and in 1995 she was granted a Government of Kenya Scholarship to read Ecology and Biology at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. She later studied for her Masters at The University of Florida in Gainsville and then was awarded a Petri scholarship to study for her PhD at Princeton University in the USA.
Later in 2005, Paula completed the Program for Management Development at the Gordon Institute of Business Science University in Pretoria, South Africa.
Dr. Kahumbu's career in wildlife and conservation spans 24 years and during this time she has worked for both Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations, private industry, set up a conservation Trust, is a Trustee of numerous Trusts and currently sits on the board of Lewa Conservancy.
Her career started in 1992 when she was Co-ordinator of the Tana Primate project, a World Bank funded GEF project. She was later the Assistant Coordinator of the KWS Elephant Program. Between 1996 and 2001 while carrying out her PhD fieldwork, she founded the Wakuluzu Friends of the Colobus Trust in Diani, Kenya. And during the same period, she was also Scientific Advisor and Acting Deputy Director for Scientific Services for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Later in 2000-2003 Paula was the CITES Coordinator for Kenya Wildlife Service and Deputy Director for Parks and Protected Areas.
Between 2004-2007 Dr. Kahumbu worked for the Multi National company Lafarge East Africa as the General Manager of Lafarge Ecosystems at Haller Park in Mombasa Kenya.
More recently Dr. Kahumbu was the Executive Director of the Kenya Land Conservation Turst (2010-2012), member of the National Task Force on the Impact of Pesticides in the Environment, Kenya Ministry of Agriculture (2010-2014).