Posed as a question, it sounds like a corny joke.
Why do they need to build the highways in Africa so high? So giraffes can walk underneath!
But for ecologists like Helen Gichohi, it’s a legitimate concern. As the African continent aims to modernize its infrastructure and diversify its economy in the decades to come, striking a balance between development and conservation — like building highways high enough above the ground for wildlife to migrate safely underneath — will be paramount.
“I often get asked, ‘Why are you being such an activist?’” Gichohi said during a recent discussion with students from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). “Because I understand and believe that our continent must develop, but we must do it responsibly in order to secure the iconic wildlife species of Africa.” Gichohi, the former president of the African Wildlife Foundation, is this year’s Dorothy S. McCluskey Visiting Fellow in Conservation at F&ES, a role that welcomes conservation practitioners — particularly women from developing countries — to spend a semester at the School. The Fellowship recipient can pursue independent research, enhance collaborations between F&ES and environmental organizations, and expand professional training opportunities for students.