Emerging Explorer Paula Kahumbu works tirelessly to preserve threatened wildlife and habitats by bringing conservation stories out of the shadows and into the minds of people who want to help.

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  • This video was filmed on Wednesday, June 22nd at the 2011 National Geographic Explorers Symposium at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    As executive director of WildlifeDirect, Kenyan Paula Kahumbu, Ph.D., uses the power of the internet to spotlight key conservation issues and raise awareness and donations for projects saving wildlife and wild places. Thanks to her efforts, about 120 conservation projects have an online platform to share challenges and victories via blogs, videos, photos and podcasts, saving species from ants to lions.


    • Introduction and several preconceptions of Africa  (start-01:12 min.)
    • Commodifying nature and the "use it or lose it" idea (01:13-02:22 min.)
    • Kahumbu's introduction to conservation, and Kenya's ivory stockpile (02:23-04:00 min.)
    • Burning ivory and making an international statement (04:01-05:21 min.)
    • Poaching elephants for ivory and the cost of conservation (05:22-07:09 min.)
    • About WildlifeDirect and Kenya Land Conservation Trust (07:08-08:16 min.)
    • About Nairobi National Park: wildlife with the backdrop of a city (08:17-09:53 min.)
    • Development in Nairobi and the potential impacts of Nairobi National Park (09:54-11:40 min.)
    • Growth, poverty, and movement from the slums to the park (11:40-12:31 min.)
    • Maasai pastoralists and the loss of wildlife (12:32-13:34 min.)
    • Finding a balance of nature, conservation, and development (13:35-14:38 min.)

    Strategies for Using Video in a Variety of Learning Environments

    • Have students preview several of the videos and choose the one they find most inspiring. Have students describe in writing a conversation they might have with the speaker(s).
    • Freeze the video on a relevant image. Have students observe details in the still image and jot down predictions of what the full video might address. Discuss students’ ideas before and after watching the video.
    • Pose an open-ended question before students watch the video, and have them discuss their ideas before and after in small groups.
    • Have students determine what they think the key message of this video is. Was the speaker effective in getting his or her message across?
    • Show a short clip to engage students during class, and then have students watch the full video at home and write a paragraph responding to the content or a question you give them.
    • Have students note statements that represent facts or opinions, including where it’s difficult to tell the difference. What further research might help distingish facts and opinions? How might the speaker’s viewpoint compare with others’ viewpoints about a topic?
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    African lion Noun

    (Panthera leo) large cat native to sub-Saharan Africa.

    conservation Noun

    management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

    Encyclopedic Entry: conservation
    urban area Noun

    developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs.

    Encyclopedic Entry: urban area
    wildlife Noun

    organisms living in a natural environment.