Shiv Kapila

When Shiv first became interested in raptors he was still small enough to count himself as possible prey for some of them. Born in Nairobi, Kenya at a time when there was still enough birdlife within the city to keep a young lad busy, it helped also to live a short hop away from such world-famous sites such as Lake Naivasha, Hell’s Gate National Park, and the Maasai Mara National Reserve, among many others – all which were duly and promptly explored. The dire poaching problem that engulfed East Africa during these formative years, from the late eighties onwards, instilled a deep conservation ethic within Shiv and eventually led to him qualifying as a biologist.

He obtained a Masters in Conservation from University College London, and then joined the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association as a certified Safari guide. Shiv has worked primarily within academic circles in Kenya, studying the Sharpe’s Longclaw in central Kenya and Colobus monkeys on the Kenyan coast before studying Martial Eagles on the Athi Plains, vultures and their catastrophic declines in India, and owls along the Kenyan coast with The Peregrine Fund’s Dr. Munir Virani, Africa’s foremost raptor biologist, and Simon Thomsett, a well known and respected raptor rehabilitator.

However, Shiv’s enduring project and passion is studying African Fish Eagles at Lake Naivasha and the other Kenyan Rift Valley lakes, Baringo, Bogoria and Nakuru. Working with many of Africa’s foremost experts in the raptor field, Shiv has developed a deep conviction for the conservation of Africa’s animals and a great love for birds in particular.

A happy by-product of his work in the field is an interest and affinity for photography. The ability to be still and quiet for long periods of time is required of a field biologist and is equally important for an aspiring photographer. Shiv’s learned patience has served him well. He was recently part of a team that documented a Cassin’s Hawk-Eagle in eastern Kenya, seen for the first time in the country since 1926. His photographs have been published in many local publications, among them Swara Magazine, Komba Magazine, Africa Geographic and Kenya Birding, as well as many newspapers, both local and abroad. He does not, under any circumstances, photograph humans!

Shiv currently works as a research affiliate at the Museum of Kenya, spending the majority of his time in Naivasha with his Fish Eagles; but his prime motivation now is to help as many people as possible see the beauty of Africa and all the wildlife it contains.