Adventures in REDD+,  Climate Change,  Conservation,  Profile

A Day in the Life of a Research Scientist at Wildlife Works

By Jane Okoth

At Wildlife Works, the Biodiversity and Social Monitoring department plays a huge role in monitoring and reporting on the impact of the REDD+ project on biodiversity and communities living in the project area.  

Benard Amakobe, a Research Scientist at Wildlife Works gives us an insight into his typical working day at the department. Amakobe specializes in monitoring biodiversity impacts through conducting research and recording data. “My work procedure is a bit unusual. It would be a big bore if i were to do the usual 8:00 am to 5:00 pm stuff,” he says. 

Amakobe grew up in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, which has a population of approximately 5 million people. “I grew up in Nairobi’s lower-class estate mishmash of estates popularly known as Eastlands, a mixture of dilapidated tenement yards and slum structures,” he says. 

Growing up in such a settlement usually ends up in drugs and gang violence but luckily, says Amakobe, he managed to make it through. 

His passion for research began as an internship opportunity. “I did a Diploma in Accounting but one day woke up and started following and catching birds as an apprentice,” he says. The 47-year-old has now been with Wildlife Works for the past 8 years. Amakobe and his team conduct road, aerial and charcoal monitoring transects, as well as daily logging monitoring and camera trapping. The camera traps are placed strategically in dams and the surrounding environment along the project area to monitor wildlife as well as point out areas that need enforced ranger patrols.

Amakobe setting up a camera trap with one of the ranger teams.

“A typical working day for me has got several facets as I divide my time in-between field excursions, managing biodiversity data and attending workshops and training that enhance my work performance,” he explains. When going out on field excursions, Mr Amakobe explains that wildlife monitoring is done as early as 5.30am when the wild animals are still active. He is always back at his camp by 3 pm to collate the data collected. The data is then entered into various databases and refined in such a way that systematic analysis can be done. “Normally my typical day usually ends at 6.00 pm,” he says.

Amakobe (centre) with Wildlife Works Research and Biodiversity team.

When is he is not doing his usual duties, the father of 3 bubbly girls likes to spend time with his children. “On Sundays is my time-off with my kids if am not doing any fieldwork,” he says.

According to Amakobe, his biggest accomplishment is foreseeing the reduction in human-wildlife conflict and resurgence of the environment thanks to Wildlife Works efforts and its partners.

Amakobe with one of his team members.

Wildlife Works is proud of Amakobe and the contribution his department makes to the conservation of biodiversity in the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project. We thank and appreciate his work!

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