Introducing Dr. Ben Okita

Date Published

Dr Benson Okita-Ouma, PhD., MBS. (Ben or Okita) holds a Bachelor degree in wildlife management from Moi University, Kenya; A Masters degree in Conservation Biology from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, and is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Resource Ecology from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands where he studied density dependence reproductive performance in black rhino. He worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service for 18 years serving in different capacities in the department of species conservation and management. His latest duties included the senior scientist and national rhino coordinator at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for nearly 9 years and later acted as the head of Conservation Programmes at KWS. Okita has served as a member of the IUCN-SSC-African Rhino Specialist Group since 2003 and in 2010 he holds the position of the Deputy Chair of this IUCN group. Okita is also a member of the editorial board of the Pachyderm Journal that publishes biannually peer reviewed articles on elephants and rhinos. He has represented Kenya at several meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and made significant contributions on behalf of the Government particularly in the amendments of CITES resolutions aimed at ensuring illegal trade in rhino horn does not impede rhino conservation. Apart from the conservation work, Ben’s love for children has led him to support education and community development in the Homa Bay County since 2000. In 2008, the former president Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, conferred on him the highest National accolade, the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) for his distinguished service to the nation. Okita joins Save The Elephants Organization (STE) as its head of research operations and brings in his coordination and negotiation skills. He is keen to contribute to the vision of STE by using his negotiation skills to highlight the need for inclusion of wildlife corridors and dispersal areas in national planning.