Like most native Tanzanians, Justin grew up having a special reverence for the scores of animals that lived in the savannahs and forests of his homeland. His exposure to wildlife provided him with an intimate understanding of their importance, even as a young boy, and shaped his desire to become a wildlife conservationist. While he has a deep appreciation for all animals, he is particularly fascinated by the carnivores. Carnivores often get a bad rap among people for a myriad of reasons, from livestock killing to human–carnivore attacks, and it was no different in his village or in the surrounding villages. Justin hopes to change these negative perceptions livestock killing and human–carnivore attacks through his work in wildlife conservation.
Justin got his first taste of working in the field as a widllife biologist when he joined the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP), located in the remote Ruaha landscape in Tanzania. Since then, he has conducted many field trips to study carnivores in the region and to conduct community outreach. He is also responsible for building predator-proof bomas (livestock enclosures made with chain link fences rather than thorn fences) for the local villages which has already resulted in a 95 percent decrease in carnivore attacks on livestock. Through a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Management at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, Justin plans on furthering his knowledge on human/predator conflict resolution, and is particularly interested in working with hyenas. He plans to one day work as a conservation biologist for an organization like RCP, or for the Tanzanian government to help them develop a community based conservation approach that would protect people and wildlife, and promote the preservation of his homeland’s varies and beautiful ecosystem.