The Blackest Questions

National Geographic Explorer Dr. Paula Kahumbu Shares Her Love For Wildlife & Kenya

Episode 37
SAMBURU NATIONAL RESERVE, KENYA – AUGUST 04: Herd of elephants (Loxodonta africana) with babies crossing a river, Samburu County, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya (Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images)

Dr. Paula Kahumbu is a champion for wildlife conservation and she hopes her new project with National Geographic will further her cause. As an expert on the African savanna elephant, it made perfect sense for her to take part in James Cameron’s series “Secrets of the Elephants.” Dr. Paula Kahumbu joins The Blackest Questions in a special Kenya-themed episode as she shares personal stories about her homeland and her wildlife adventures. 


Panama Jackson [00:00:00] You are now listening to theGrio Black Podcast Network Black Culture Amplified.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:00:06] Hi and welcome to The Blackest Questions. I’m your host, Dr. Christina Greer, politics editor for theGrio and associate professor of political science at Fordham University. In this podcast, we ask our guest five of the Blackest questions so we can learn a little bit more about them and have some fun while we’re doing it. We’re also going to learn a lot about Black history past and present. So here’s how this works. We have five rounds of questions about us Black history, the entire diaspora, current events, you name it and with each round, the questions get a little tougher and the guest has 10 seconds to get it right. If they answered the question correctly, they’ll receive one symbolic Black fist and they’ll hear this and if they get it wrong, they’ll hear this. But we still love them anyway. Our guest for this episode is Dr. Paula Kahumbu, one of the world’s most influential conservationists. She spent decades studying animals and is one of the loudest voices when it comes to protecting endangered species and preserving their way of life. She’s the CEO of Wildlife Direct, the producer and host of a popular wildlife television series Wildlife Warriors. She works on award winning documentaries and holds the title of National Geographic Explorer. She also works closely with the government in Kenya to raise awareness and mobilize legal reforms that protect vulnerable wildlife. Dr. Kahumbu, thank you so much for joining us here at The Blackest Questions. Are you ready to play?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:01:29] I am, thank you.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:01:31] And for our listeners out there, you’re in for a real treat. Dr. Kahumbu is from Kenya. So during this episode, you’re going to learn a lot about the motherland. Okay, here we go. Question number one. Are you ready?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:01:42] I think so.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:01:44] We think that. I will say this, Dr. Kahumbu that is everyone’s first answer. So you’re right on track. Okay. This woman served as the first lady of Kenya for more than ten years and is known for voicing her opinion on a number of social issues, including mother and child welfare, education and animal conservation. Who is she?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:02:05] She is Margaret Kenyatta.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:02:08] You are correct. She’s married to the former president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, and she served as the first lady from 2013 to 2022. In 2014, she was named Kenya’s Person of the Year and she headed the Beyond Zero campaign that worked to reduce child maternal mortality rates and she also helped you spearhead your hands off our elephant’s campaign. So please tell us a little bit more about how that partnership came to be and tell us a little bit more about what hands off elephants. Hands Off Our Elephants. Campaign is really all about.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:02:38] You know, when we started raising awareness about the crisis facing elephants in Kenya, it was a gut feeling that what we had been seeing in the media was only a tip of the iceberg. We began to receive reports from the field that elephants were dying all over the place, maybe thousands and we were getting a lot of pushback from all kinds of government offices. So we went straight to the media and we said there’s there’s definitely more to the story. The media supported us, but the government was really questioning us and out of the blue, I got a request an invitation to come to State House to meet Kenya’s first lady, Margaret Kenyatta. I hadn’t met her before and she asked me to come and to explain to her what the problem was and I came with photographs and information. At that point, we had just started creating graphics to help Kenyans understand how many elephants were dying and what it meant that these elephants are being slaughtered all across the country. It was very tragic. These are not just animals that have no name, no identity. These are elephants that are so like human beings. They have families and children and relationships with each other. So the impact on Kenyans was was quite strong. A lot of trauma being felt in the country. She asked me. What she could do to help and I said, You know, I’d really like you to be the face of this campaign, Hands Off Our Elephants and she said, What do I need to do? And I said, Well, you need to go out there and talk about elephants. She said, But the last time I saw an elephant, I was five years old and, you know, in a way, what she was saying is what most Kenyans have experienced. Most Kenyans have never seen an elephant. The national parks are really reserved for tourists and most people don’t know that much about our own wildlife, even though we have it all over our branding and our identity as a nation. Most people don’t know that much about these animals and I said to her, then we have to go to the national parks. You know will you come? She did. We flew to Amboseli, which is one of the most beautiful national parks south of the country, with 1700 elephants that are all known by name as individuals. We drove around in the back of a Land Rover meeting these elephants and talking about them and their their personalities, their individual personalities and at the end of the day we were with the Minister for Wildlife at the time was wonderful lady called Judi Wakhungu and Judi kept saying, you know, Paula, we need to hurry this up. The first lady has to go back before dark and after saying this about three times, Margaret Kenyatta turned to Judi. She said, Judi, do you get into trouble if. If you’re late? And Judi said, yes, I get into a lot of trouble. She said, Well, I don’t. And that’s it and it was just fantastic. We stayed overnight. We it was really impromptu. She didn’t even have a toothbrush. Said was staying overnight. We went to a hotel. We stayed overnight. She just started watching elephants. I really got that. I’ve studied elephants my whole life. I feel so privileged now because even though she she is the first lady, she hasn’t had that opportunity and so she spent the whole morning watching elephants from her balcony of her hotel room and at breakfast she said to me, have you ever noticed that elephants walk in groups? They’re always in groups, yeah because they’re families. That’s the matriarch, the grandmother and all the daughters and the children and she was just so moved. She named one of the elephants after her late father, and she became a fierce champion as she continues to be a fierce champion for elephants. It was just the most amazing, amazing person to work with. The only first lady in the world who made wildlife a subject of her, you know, impact during her her time as a first lady.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:06:53] Well, I’m so appreciative of the work that you and the first lady both do and for our listeners who are just learning about Dr. Kahumbu work. Dr. Khumbu has spent more than 30 years learning about elephants and helping to protect them from poachers and extinction. We know that you’re an expert on the African savanna elephant, and you’re part of National Geographic’s series that that’s produced by James Cameron. Secrets of the Elephants. What can viewers expect from this beautiful series? And we know that you’ve traveled the world to shoot the series Asia, the Congo, in the rainforest, in the desert. How did something like this kind of come to completion? What were some of the challenges that you faced in making this important work?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:07:31] You know, Christina, elephants are among the most studied animals in the world and probably the most photographed and the most filmed in the world and everyone thinks they know a lot about these magnificent animals and the truth be told, it’s usually the same groups of elephants that get filmed again and again in certain parts of Africa where they’re really visible in secrets of the elephants. We intentionally go out to show you elephants that have never been filmed before to show you behaviors that have never been seen before. New things that are new to science. That maybe will surprise you and make you feel even more in awe and wonder of these incredible beings. Elephants are so intelligent. They are problem solvers, they are adaptable. They live in all these different habitats from tropical rainforest where it rains most of the day to the driest of deserts, where they spend all day walking to try and find a sip of water and because they live in such very different environments and habitats, they have all kinds of different challenges in how they solve the problems in order to survive is really what this series about. Isn’t this amazing? They were here long before us and if they go, the entire wisdom will be lost. We were blown away ourselves in filming. I mean, I thought I knew a lot about elephants and everywhere I went, I was just like, Wow, look at what’s happening. I’ve never seen anything like this before. I didn’t want to leave. I fell in love with every elephant we came across throughout the shooting, it was really, really amazing.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:09:10] So before we go to commercial break, what can we tell our listeners? What’s one thing that stood out to you the most? What’s one fact that you learned about elephants where you’re like, I’ve been doing this for decades now, and I had no idea that this was the case.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:09:24] Well, elephants like humans, have culture. They have found ways of living in these different places, and they transmit that knowledge from generation to generation just the way we do, you know, different cultures. It’s amazing.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:09:41] Absolutely. Okay. We’re going to take a quick commercial break and when we come back, we’ll finish playing The Blackest Questions with Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Okay, We’re back. We are playing The Blackest Questions with Dr. Paula Kahumbu. You are doing incredibly well. You’re one for one. Are you ready for question number two?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:09:58] I’m scared now.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:01] They just get a teeny bit harder. But I think you’ve got it. Okay. Question number two. This place is located in central Kenya and is home to the last two remaining northern white rhino in the world. This place also made history back in 2015 when its employees used armed guard 24 hours a day to protect an endangered species. What is the name of this place?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:10:22] It’s one of my most favorite places in the world. It’s Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:27] You are correct. The Ol Pejeta Conservancy covers more than 90,000 acres and started as a cattle ranch in the 1940s. It became a conservancy in the 1980s when poaching was having a significant impact on the animal population. It’s home to all members of the Big Five game, which are lions, Cape Buffalo, African elephants, leopards and rhinoceros rhinoceroses that run after I.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:10:50] Rhinoceroses.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:51] Rhinoceroses. Okay. All right. Rhinoceros.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:10:54] Rino.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:10:56] Rhino. Let’s just say rhinos. Right and the world’s last male, northern white rhino, Sudan is his name. Lived in, was protected at the Conservancy until he died in 2018. So security is a huge undertaking and planes, drones, dogs and armed patrols are all used to keep the animals safe from poachers. If any of our listeners are planning a trip to the continent, you can visit the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. So Dr. Khumbu, you got this one right. Have you ever worked at this conservancy?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:11:25] I have not worked there, but I have visited many times and I filmed there. I produced my own TV series Wildlife Warriors, which is a a series that shines a light on African conservation role models at the frontline and we went to Ol Pejeta to film the last two northern white rhinos. I did this specifically because there’s been quite a number of films made about the northern white rhinos. But most of those films have never been seen in Africa. They’ve certainly not been seen in Kenya and yet those two amazing beings are living in Kenya and I felt that their story needed to be told from Kenya from an African perspective. So I looked at the people who take care of them. Most of us are very familiar with the male, you know, gun toting rangers who are essential when it comes to protecting these endangered animals there. They’re endangered because they have huge horns and those horns are like literally as if you were walking around with a block of gold stuck on your face. It’s that valuable. So any anybody who wants will try and come and kill them. But I was interested in the women, the women Rangers who are really key. They do a lot of the monitoring. They know each individual rhino from their notches on their ears. They have a different and softer way of doing conservation, which I really, really loved and I spent, you know, I think two weeks just, you know, in that environment with the men, with the dogs that are used to track the poachers and the women who are patrolling without weapons out there in the wild. Such courage, such determination and such incredible commitment to conservation. It was such a phenomenal experience.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:13:24] That absolutely is. Now was so many of our listeners are based in the U.S. from the demographics I’ve I’ve been told. But how can we in, you know, places like Brooklyn, in the Bronx, in Detroit, in L.A.? How can we help some of these endangered animals? What should we be doing from the states or other countries not in Kenya to help with this with this with this issue?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:13:51] Well, you know, I think people everywhere can help save Africa’s wildlife. I’m so thrilled that the production of Secrets of the Elephant allowed me a Kenyan to be the voice of elephants, not just African elephants, but African and Asian elephants, because wherever they are, they are in peril. In the rainforest, they’ve been persecuted for hundreds of years in the desert. Climate change is making their lives almost impossible in Kenya. Human elephant conflict in Asia. So many people crammed in elephants and humans living cheek to jowl. We need support for elephants wherever they are and if you save elephant, you can save all those habitats and environments where elephants live and all the other animals that live with them. I think that we need to use this series to fall in love with them. Of course. Tell them, tell our friends, tell our families. Share this incredible love and awe and wonder about elephants, but also to support those conservation groups on the ground at the grassroots. In Kenya alone, there are 277 conservation areas owned and managed by local indigenous people. Most people around the world don’t know this and if you think about it, Africans have been protecting wildlife for eons. We evolved with them and our wildlife is doing better than wildlife on all other continents, which means that we’ve been doing a really great job. But now the threats to our left are coming from external forces where there is demand for ivory and rhino horn coming from the east, or whether it’s climate change coming from the west. What we’re having is a situation where, despite all our best efforts in Africa, it’s hard to protect these habitats, landscapes and animals. With those threats coming from way beyond our borders. So I really want people to support those conservationists at the grassroots, the communities who are living with these animals. They are sacrificing every single day. I meet people who lose their crops or lose their livestock or sometimes their children can’t go to school because there are elephants around them. Those are the people who are the real conservationists. Those are the people we should be supporting.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:16:04] Oh, we are sitting here talking with Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Please be sure to check out her series Wildlife Warriors. We’re going to take a quick commercial break, come back and play a little bit more of The Blackest Questions and we’re back. We’re playing The Blackest Questions with Dr. Paula Kahumbu. We’re also learning a lot about elephants in this episode and I absolutely love it. Dr. Kahumbu, are you ready for question number three?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:16:27] I’m ready.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:16:28] You’re see, this is the confidence that I love. I love it. You’re doing incredibly well. Okay, here we go. Question number three. This book was released in 1964 and was the first English language novel to be published by an East African. It told the story of two brothers following the Mau Mau Uprising. What is the name of this book?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:16:53] Oh, my goodness. Now, you did. You’ve done that.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:17:00] The answer is weep not child Weep Not Child was written by Kenyan author and Ngugui wa Thiong’o. It was the first of his many novels and, you know, as I mentioned, the plot focused on the life during the Mao Mao uprising, which was the rebellion of Kenyan people against white British colonizers. The book has 18 chapters and is divided into two parts. So who is your favorite Kenyan author? I know. You know, lots of people don’t like to answer questions about favorites, but do you have time to read, you know, novels and literature about Kenya? And if so, who’s your favorite Kenyan author?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:17:34] I do read. A lot, actually. Most of it is scientific stuff, but I do read novels. My favorite Kenyan author is Yvonne Adhiambo. You need to look her up. She’s amazing. She’s. Her latest book is called Dragonfly Sea, and she writes beautifully about indigenous peoples. In this particular episode, it’s about the local people of an island called Lamu, which is off the East African coast and Yvonne is a friend of mine for a long time and I’m just so thrilled that she’s now an award winning author and she’s even writing for National Geographic.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:18:16] Oh, I love it. I love it. You know, there’s something about having friends who are authors who you’ve known for a very long time. I have a college classmate, Tiffany Unique, who’s a fiction writer from Saint Thomas, a fiction writer and a poet and when we met the first week of school, she said, I’m Tiffany. I’m from Saint Thomas, and I’m going to be a writer and then to go and pick up her books from a bookstore, you know, she’s written two novels and countless books on poetry. It is something extra special to read a novel or a book from a friend.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:18:48] It really is absolutely true.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:18:50] Mm hmm and so for your scientific reading, are you primarily reading about, say, climate change? Are you reading about animals when you sort of sit down to to really absorb a new information? What’s what’s primarily your focus?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:19:06] I read a lot of the latest science and research on our African wildlife and of course, a lot of. Research on climate change as well. I’m really interested in teaching, so I’m constantly updating myself on knowledge that I can use to create educational programs for children in particular. So I think that the future for conservation really lies in the hands of children. We need to make this information accessible to them at such an early age before they become influenced by all the other things that when I was a child, I was influenced by our colonial educational system. What children today don’t even have environment or conservation in their curriculum. So I have this amazing program for children. I was gifted 30 acres of land as my organization was gifted 30 acres of land, and we have a big old tent. We show films and we take children out into the wild, into the wilderness. We’re right adjacent to a national park. There are rhinos, lions, giraffes and all kinds of amazing animals around us and children are unleashed to go and explore.

[00:20:26] In this expedition. I’ve learned that wildlife are important to the community, to us children, and to and to the world.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:20:36] And find the dung and signs of animals to identify plants and to do research. Some of these children are as young as five, up to about 15 years old, and I’m always looking for creative ways of helping these children to explore for themselves and discover for themselves, not be lectured to which which is really the typical education system. I want them to to find, question and interpret nature themselves through science and art and everything else in between that. What we’re seeing is kids with incredible self-confidence coming out of this. They’re coming out with all kinds of creative new ideas and ways of sharing their knowledge and I suppose the thing that I’m most impressed with is the incredible generosity that I see from these children. They are from rural areas, they’re from very poor backgrounds, and they feel so privileged that it’s unfair. They’ve told me they feel it’s unfair that they get the chance to come out with scientists and do things hands on, which is how it was for me when I was a child. But and that’s why I want to give back to them and they feel that it’s not fair that they, at the age of ten, have this incredible chance and privilege and they want to share it with other children. They want to not only watch films, they want to make their own films they want and I asked them why, and they said, Because we want other children to have a chance, Right. To learn from us as well.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:05] That quest of learning and sharing is just absolutely beautiful. We’ve got to take a quick commercial break. I’m sitting here just awed and inspired by Dr. Paula Kahumbu, educator and also documentarian and we must check out her show on National Geographic. Okay, Dr. Khumbu, we are back. We’re ready to play question number four in The Blackest Questions. How you feeling?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:22:28] No, I’m scared. I don’t want to get any more questions.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:32] But it’s going to be great. It’s going to be great. Question number four. This Kenyan visual artist is known for her paintings, sculpture, film and performance work, and her work often focuses on the female body. She was born in Kenya but moved to New York City in her twenties. Who is she?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:22:50] Is she Wangechi Mutu?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:22:52] You are correct. Her work has been showcased in some of the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world and Wangechi Mutu has been described as an Afrofuturist and she also highlights femininity and the violence and misrepresentation experienced by Black women in contemporary society. The solo exhibit that I mentioned at the New Museum in New York City contains more than 100 pieces of her work. So when you’re out in nature, I mean, nature is a canvas in and of itself, but do you get to museums? And if so, how do you spend your free time? And what artists sort of inspire you in your in your personal life?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:23:27] You know, funnily enough, I actually know Wangechi and I spend time with her and her sister actually. In Kenya we have a few museums and I used to be involved with the museums. I was much more interested in the science side of things, but a lot of our interpretation of science is the communication of science was powerfully done through art and if you think about it, film is a form of art as well. So documentary filmmaking and I work with artists in Kenya and beyond Kenya as well. I am. I’m constantly looking for ways to bring this to the children as well, because art is such an interesting way of learning and expressing yourself so Wangehci, when you talked about when I guess you just now, it just reminded me of the things we do with children where they collect items from nature and they create their own artistic depictions with twigs and leaves and mud. Whatever they find, they create.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:24:29] And she uses so much mud and feathers, you know, in a lot of her work as well.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:24:34] Yeah, I hadn’t even thought about that. So, yeah, I think art is, is a very interesting African. I mean, if you look at African fashions, you look at the African body, body piercings and body markings. If you look at even the homes and architecture in Africa, there’s art and science in everything. It’s really something which is totally underappreciated. It’s something that I’ve started to look at much more carefully and to get children to explore with us as well. Because I was just raised in such a traditional educational system where we just look to the West for everything and now I’m looking locally like, oh my goodness, look at a mud hut. It is such a yes a genius design really.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:25:21] The ingenuity, you know, where it where so many people have taken natural resources. They themselves are conservationists. There’s no waste. You know, I think of this sometimes when looking at the U.S. South as well and it’s absolutely stunning what people have been able to do, you know, without quote unquote formal Western education with using everything that surrounds them, but part of a foundation and I really do think what I love about your work is, you know, not just as a documentarian slash artist and a scientist and a conservationist, but really as an educator, because what is the point of putting all these pieces together the way you are without sharing it with the next generations, especially the next generation of Kenyans who will soon be leaders of the country before we know it.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:26:07] Exactly. Well, you know, what I really love is that when I started doing documentary work, I was thinking so much about the science and I had to be taught not not to just be too scientific and to talk to an audience of ordinary people and now I really understand and appreciate when we talk of art as well. There’s the music. There is. There is the the stories, the stories that are that are in our elders, our grandparents, and the way that we tell stories. I’m just seeing so much creativity everywhere and it might also explain why Africans are so innovative, so used to merging their engineering and their art and science and bringing all these things together without thinking about it in boxes. Which is how I was educated, you know art over there and you do arts or you do science. We were never taught that these two things could go together. So I’m excited about.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:15] I’m excited. I’m excited for your work. I’m excited for what you’re doing. We’re going to take a quick commercial break. We’ll learn more with Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Educator, documentarian, wildlife warrior. You were doing so much. I’m super inspired. I can’t wait to reflect on this episode. We’ll take a quick commercial break. We’re playing The Blackest Questions with my new favorite, Dr. Paula Kahumbu. And we’re back. We’re playing The Blackest Questions with Dr. Khumbu. Dr. Are you ready for question number five?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:27:48] I’ll try.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:27:49] Okay. We’re doing incredibly well, incredibly well and I think our listeners are learning a ton, especially about Kenya and wildlife conservation and what we can be doing and should be doing. Okay. Question number five. Athletes from Kenya have won a combined 103 Olympic medals, and they’re from just two sports. What are these two sports?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:28:15] Well, it’s definitely a long distance running, marathon running. I’m guessing is going to be marathons and the 10,000 meters?

Dr. Christina Greer [00:28:28] So in these categories we’re gonna see track and field is one. So that’s the marathon running and the other is boxing.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:28:36] The whole.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:28:37] That was a surprise to me, too. So can you begin competing in the Olympics in 1956 and has been to every Summer Olympics since then, except for 1976 and 1980, when they were boycotting the games both times for political reasons. In 1980, it was actually boxer Muhammad Ali who traveled to Kenya and convinced the nation to boycott the games being held in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. Kenya has won 35 gold medals, 42 silvers and 36 bronzes. So the country started competing in the Olympics before you were born. Did you grow up ever following the games or did you play sports? And does that factor into any of your work?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:29:19] I did. I played a lot of sports. I was a swimmer and I was also a volleyball player. It does have a lot in what I do because I think that our our health and the state of our environment are interlinked. So I do work with athletes in Kenya to to convey and to communicate the conservation message in sports, because you can’t you can’t be an elite athlete if your air is unhealthy or if your food is unhealthy.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:29:53] That’s right. That’s right. That’s right. It’s completely interconnected.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:29:58] And some of our conservation areas have become very important locations for marathons and ultramarathons, which I really support.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:30:08] Well, so many people who I talked to who’s, you know, don’t know much about the continent, so they say, but they always know about, you know, the excellence of Kenyans in track and field and I think that it’s so important that you make this connection to our natural environment and sports. Okay. So we’re going to take a quick, quick break and then we’re going to come back and we’re going to play the Black Lightning Round, which I think you’re going to love. Okay, we’re back. Final, final games with Dr. Paula Kahumbu, conservationist, documentarian, educator, artist, you name it. Are you ready, Dr. Khumbu? Now, these questions, the first thing that comes to mind, you answer. There’s no right or wrong. Okay.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:30:47] Okay.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:30:49] Okay. Do you prefer the mountains or the beach?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:30:52] The beach.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:30:52] Your favorite animal to see if you’re on safari.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:30:57] Elephants.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:31:00] I think I knew the answer to that one. But what animal have you yet to see that you hope to see? Or have you seen everything?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:31:07] Polar bears.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:31:09] Besides Kenya, what’s your favorite country to visit on the continent? I’m not trying to start beef. Just curious.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:31:16] Ecuador.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:31:18] Oh, okay. Do you prefer to plant a tree or pick fresh flowers?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:31:25] Plant a tree for sure.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:31:27] Okay and lastly, all the seasons, what’s your favorite?

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:31:31] Spring.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:31:36] Oh, so much promise and so much hope. I’ve been talking to Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Before we go, I want to remind all our listeners to catch the National Geographic’s series Secrets of the Elephants and as Dr. Kahumbu mentioned, let’s support the grassroots groups that are dedicated to supporting vulnerable animals. Dr. Kahumbu, you were fantastic. I’ve learned a ton. I’m completely inspired. Please promise us you’ll come back and tell us more about your new series and your new documentary documentaries as they they progress in the years to come.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu [00:32:05] Thank you so, so much. I really hope you love watching Secrets of the Elephants and I’d love to hear this.

Dr. Christina Greer [00:32:12] Oh, National Geographic series Secrets of the Elephant. Thank you all again for listening to the Blackest Questions. The show is produced by Sasha Armstrong, Geoffrey Trudeau, and Regina Griffin is our director of podcast. If you like what you heard, subscribe to the podcast. So you never miss an episode and you can find more theGrio Black Podcast Network on theGrio app, website and YouTube.