Kenyan conservationist and wildlife advocate Paula Kahumbu has been named the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year for 2021. She has been instrumental in Africa’s conservation movement and in working to preserve threatened wildlife and local habitats.
Kahumbu is the CEO of the NGO Wildlife Direct and was acknowledged for her courage and leadership. Early in her life, she grew up in Nairobi and has been highly involved in efforts to save elephants via the Hands Off Our Elephants campaign. She has already won multiple awards. She is being honored at the National Geographic Explorers Festival, being held virtually from today and tomorrow. The event is supported by Rolex, which has partnered with National Geographic as far back as 1954.
This effort is part of Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Initiative, wherein the brand supports explorers, adventurers, conservationists and others in their quest to learn more and to protect the planet. The Initiative launched in 2019 and focuses on three key areas: “supporting individuals who contribute to a better world through the Rolex Awards for Enterprise; preserving the oceans, notably through the company’s association with Mission Blue; and understanding climate change through data as part of its enhanced association with National Geographic.”
Just last week, appropriately timed with World Ocean’s Day, Rolex released the documentary Perpetual Planet: Heroes of the Oceans on its Rolex.org website. The documentary features oceanographer and Rolex Testimonee Sylvia Earle with a host of seven marine scientists all explaining the work taking place beneath the oceans to protect the fragile ecosystems. The hour-long documentary, produced by BBC Studios’ Science Unit, was commissioned as part of the Perpetual Planet initiative to support those devising solutions to the Earth’s environmental challenges.