• Wyss Academy

Benson Okita joins the East Africa Hub Team as Hub Director


We are thrilled to announce that Benson Okita is joining the East Africa Hub Team as Hub Director. Dr. Okita was previously Director of Policy and Planning at Save the Elephants where he worked for the past eight years. Here are a few words about him and why he is joining the Wyss Academy team🌿



Who are you and what’s your background?

I am a conservation leader and ecologist with twenty-four years of experience in the protection of two of Africa’s most charismatic keystone species, the black rhino and the African elephant, at both national and international levels. I have worked in governmental, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations in championing conservation and in bridging the nexus between conservation needs and people’s livelihoods & development. I hold a doctorate in conservation and a presidential award (Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear) for distinguished service to the Kenyan nation. I am co-chair of the IUCN SSC African elephants specialist group, a network of 95 technical members around the globe, with the mission of promoting conservation of African elephants in their natural habitats.

Why did you join the Academy?

I have a strong conviction that the Wyss Academy for Nature would provide me with the necessary environment, team, tools and approaches that would lead to transformational changes for the long-term success of nature preservation and people’s development. The Wyss Academy provides an opportunity to work on nature conservation holistically, by being aware of the needs of the human communities whose buy-in is essential for the long-term success of ensuring nature's resilience. This holistic approach aligns well with how I would personally tackle nature-people challenges.

What do you look forward to working on?

I am looking forward to promoting ecosystem and landscape connectivity to keep nature, wildlife and people thriving. I would apply the knowledge and skills I have gained over many years in conservation to contribute to the people’s wellbeing and improved livelihoods, and to ecosystem integrity. I hope to achieve this through collaborating and engaging with communities, relevant stakeholders and disciplines, and through continuous knowledge generation and learning in coming up with impactful and transformational solutions.


"Although Save the Elephants is sad to see Ben go, we are excited about his new role with the Wyss Academy for Nature and look forward to working together in partnership for the future of Kenya's wildlife and ecosystems," said Frank Pope, CEO of Save the Elephants