All too often, humans rank themselves as separate from the natural world, but a special few possess a truly deep-rooted passion for wildlife around them. What those special few may not realize is that their interest in wildlife could lead to a fruitful career.

That’s precisely what happened for Lakica Diana, as outlined in a recent piece from the African Wildlife Foundation. From a young girl merely admiring the wildlife of her region to the head scout of Murchison Community Conversancy at only 21 years old, Diana provides a shining example for anyone with a deep interest in their surroundings.

The simple fact is that wildlife accounts for a major section of Africa’s tourism industry due to the fact that there’s such a wide array of exotic organisms, and there’s no one better to responsibly shepherd visitors to see some of these spectacular sights than those native to the area.

What’s more, it’s been shown that when the local community is invested in conservation efforts, those efforts are much more likely to succeed. Because locals understand the particular challenges and advantages of the region, they’re best equipped to further conservation efforts.

Of course, this isn’t exactly news to many reputable safari companies, who have made a habit of hiring local staff to fill their many positions for years. This practice invigorates the local economy, which bolsters the area and allows for more attention to be paid to conservation.

What Diana and countless other wildlife professionals prove is that an interest in the natural world and a love for community is all it really takes to break into a career in the wildlife industry. The very best wildlife professionals are the ones who take pride in the land, and no one takes pride in this beautiful region quite like a local.