How did you get started?
I was raised up in Serengeti and I was in my Primary Two when I joined the Malihai Clubs of Tanzania (literally translating to Wildlife Clubs of Tanzania). I enjoyed the books with animal drawings and their English and Swahili names as I already knew some in our tribal language. After finishing my Senior Six (Advanced Level/High School) I decided to pursue a degree in Wildlife Management and this was a big entry gate for me into conservation.
How has your profession changed since you started?
Professions are dynamic as they get shaped along the way with emerging new opportunities. I am professionally a Conservation Biologist and over the years I have moved from one failure to another without derailing and from one success to another without being completely contented. I have found it very important to stay on the right track but remain versatile. I started as a wildlife manager but later realized that the field needed more things, I found myself going to endangered species management later into protected area governance and international environmental laws. I found that apart from understanding the biology and ecology of wild species one need to have more knowledge into planning, management and governance to succeed in conserving the wildlife. Thus from a wildlife biologist to a conservation biologist to me it has been a change.
What would you do if you started all over again and why?
If there was a chance to go back and start again I would still go through nearly the same path. However, rather than moving to academia straight after graduation, I will look for more field experience in different ecosystems and countries just to expand my knowledge base. I would also think of doing a law degree just after my undergraduate degree in conservation sciences. My choice for postgraduate and doctorate will still be the same.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to enter your field?
Passion and commitment to save species should derive their desire to work as conservation biologists. Respect to wildlife and nature is an important ingredient in the conservation world.