I was born in Nairobi, which is Kenya’s capital city. However, as a result of frequent visits to my grandparents in the countryside in Amboseli, I slowly grew fond of nature and by the time I was completing my high school studies, I knew my purpose was in conservation. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Community Development at Kenyatta University in 2012. After a few volunteering experiences and jobs in marine, primate and coastal conservation, and as fate would have it, I got the rare opportunity of getting a job at the Lion Guardians organization in Amboseli. The organization works with local pastoralist communities living in the periphery of protected areas in East Africa to conserve lions whereby science and indigenous knowledge is fused together while preserving cultures. I have been the on-site program manager ever since in charge of training lion guardians, data collection and analysis on lion movement, habitat and prey selection and population trends as well as various human-carnivore conflict mitigation initiatives.
I envision the Diploma course as a gateway to increase ability to address lion conservation issues more effectively as well as mentor other untapped talent that might not necessarily get this chance but have the passion for conservation.
My penchant for adventure and protection of nature has led me to work on a variety of projects in East Africa focusing on issues ranging from wildlife research and management to community capacity building and public-private partnerships. I have worked on different species spanning from cetaceans and primates to my current focus on large carnivores in the Meru Conservation Area, Kenya. I proceeded to pursue a master’s degree from the university of Antwerp after completion of the postgraduate diploma, whereby my master’s thesis focused on the ecology and conservation of the African lion (Panther leo) within and around the Meru Conservation Area. My thesis assessed the lion population structure, distribution patterns and human-lion interactions within the conservation area. I am currently planning a PhD to pursue further research in the same area in order to understand inter-species interactions and niche segregation among the carnivore guild in the area. I will also be comparing traditional data collection methods with novel and emerging methodologies to better understand the opportunities of technological advancement to large carnivore research in remote areas. I am also working towards founding the Meru Carnivore Project, which will work with other stakeholders in the area to promote human-lion coexistence through robust carnivore research and management. The project aims to engage the community and area stakeholders with the aim of sustaining large carnivore populations through various education and outreach initiatives aimed at promoting positive attitudes towards carnivores in the long-term.
More information: Kennedy Ole Kariuki’s Portfolio – My Portfolio Site (epizy.com)
Master’s thesis: https://leofoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Kariuki_K_MSc_Thesis_10062020.pdf