Keyura Pather

Keyura Pather is a passionate South African climate activist and conservation ecologist. She has always been curious and therefore fond of learning and interaction. Her appreciation and respect for her surroundings is due to being a part of the Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation, a spiritual community that practises five human values – love, peace, nonviolence, right conduct and truth.

Honing these qualities, she knew her future had to entail service. With her love for biology, she initially wanted to be a medical doctor, but ultimately she felt it was not the right path for her. She loved Social Science and Life Science in high school, leading her to study and graduate with a general BSc in 2021, majoring in both Geography and Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). While she loved geography, her undergraduate degree introduced her to conservation ecology. She realised her longing for having a career in service could be combined with the passion she has always had for the environment, and where would be a better place to pursue her postgraduate studies than in her very own biodiverse country – South Africa. She finished her BSc (Honours) with distinction in Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences at Wits in 2022. Her project was a GIS study on the habitat changes of Protea roupelliae subsp. hamiltonii over 80 years due to fire, alien invasive plants and climate patterns.

In 2023, she pursued other career-oriented and personal endeavours. She completed a vegetation ecology course in Kruger National Park, did United Nations environmental courses and worked as an environmental consultant. On a personal front, she taught Education in Human Values (EHV) to young children in association with the Sai Organisation and had her Arangetram, a formal graduation and her first solo performance of the Indian classical dance form Bharathanatyam, which she has been learning since the age of two and is another passion that is a large part of her life.

Keyura applied for the MSc Conservation Biology programme as she was intrigued by the prospect of working with marine life and the Fynbos biome, which contrasts the inland Savanna and Grassland biomes she studied previously. She is equally excited to interact with like-minded peers from around the world, who will offer different insights into conservation based on their unique upbringings and surroundings. She looks forward to all she will gain from this degree, which will undoubtedly provide invaluable experiences and contribute to her career and growth as a conservation ecologist.