Kenyan wins Natl. Geo. Award

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July/August 2011:


NAIROBI-Paula Kahumbu,  executive director of the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and WildlifeDirect,  was on June 17,  2011 named recipient of the $25,000 National Geographic Annual Award.  “Through WildlifeDirect,”  founded by Kahumbu’s longtime mentor Richard Leakey,  “she has created Africa’s largest wildlife blogging platform,”  wrote Gatonye Gathura for  Kahumbu is author of four books for children,  in collaboration with Isabella and Craig Hatkoff,  describing the initial friendship and further adventures of a baby hippopotamus and a 120-year-old male giant tortoise.  Translated into 27 languages,  the books have sold more than a million copies.

Owen,  the hippo,  was swept out to sea by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.  Washed ashore and rescued by coastal fishers several days later,  Owen was taken to the Haller wildlife park near Mombasa.  Upon release,  he ran to Mzee,  the tortoise,  and hid behind him.  Not yet weaned,  Owen ate what Mzee ate,  and as tortoises eat much the same food as hippos,  Owen survived and thrived.


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