In this interview, he also shares how he found out he had become internet famous.
The interview has been edited for clarity.
KBC reporter Alvin Kaunda became internet famous this week when a video of a baby elephant interrupting his report on the effects of drought in the country went viral not only within the country but across the world.
To understand just how viral the video is, all you have to do is Google the words “reporter” and “elephant” and several stories about the adorable moment appear on the search page.
The fame has come as a surprise to the Technical University of Mombasa student who is currently working as a reporter at the KBC News department.
In this phone interview, he talks about his love for elephants and wildlife in general, his role models and how he found out he was famous.
“I have always admired Paula Kahumbu, she is my role model. She’s a wildlife conservationist and has won several awards from National Geographic.”
Did you always want to be a reporter/journalist?
I’ve always wanted to be a reporter. And at the same time, I’m also a wildlife enthusiast, as now most people know. So when I ventured into journalism, I thought why not mix the two and become a wildlife journalist? So that’s been my passion ever since.
Do you have anyone in mind that you draw inspiration from?
On the journalism front, I admire some of them and the work they do like Rashid Abdala. But when it comes to wildlife I have always admired Paula Kahumbu, she is my role model.
She’s a wildlife conservationist and has won several awards from National Geographic to mention a few. She is also a very big fan of elephants, I’d say. She’s always been the person I really look up to.
Funnily enough, I’ve never done a piece on conservation. This was actually my first one that’s trending all over the internet.
“I honestly, never expected it to go viral because it was a normal part of my routine.”
Did it surprise you to learn your video had gone viral?
Yes. I was surprised. I posted the video on my own Instagram page because I thought it was funny, like, I normally do.
I use my Instagram page as a personal portfolio to show my work. I also post a few videos about conservation and wildlife that I’ve edited using my mobile phone. And I honestly, never expected it to go viral because it was a normal part of my routine.
How did you find out the video was trending on Twitter?
I got several calls from my friends. They were calling to tell me, ‘you’re trending! You’re over the internet.’
I was actually at work at the time, but when the phone calls kept coming, I decided to see for myself. It was the first thing I saw when I got on Twitter. The Standard Media Page had posted the video from my Instagram page. That’s how I knew; that’s when I believed my video had gone viral.
“I was very scared of the elephants at first because as much as they’re loving and adorable, they’re also wild animals.”
Were you scared of the elephants at all when filming?
When I got to the place (Sheldrick Wildlife Trust) and I saw the elephants, there were several of them all in different sizes, I was. From baby elephants to mature elephants and you know, how big elephants can get. At first, I was very scared because as much as they’re loving and adorable, they’re also wild animals. And, they can be unpredictable and dangerous.
But after I did my piece-to-camera, I got used to them and had a fun time interacting with them.
Has anything exciting happened since you became internet famous?
I’ve done several interviews, like the one I’m doing right now, with different media houses. I’ve also gotten several emails from media houses across the world asking to use my video but I can’t say I’ve gotten a life-changing opportunity yet.
*Alvin also did an interview with KBC Channel One on Thursday evening. Watch the full interview below.