The Natural

He dodges sharks, fends off charging elephants, and parries David Letterman with relaxed aplomb. Meet scientist and pitchman M. Sanjayan, coming soon to a channel near you.
  1. M. Sanayan walked north, following two guides, Samburu tribesmen with holes the size of nickels in their earlobes. One wore a blood-red robe. The other carried a rifle and wore faded military fatigues and combat boots that shone brightly in the constant sun. Around them, the Kenyan bush rattled and brayed, one lazy, sentient being at rest on a hot February day at the end of a long dry season.

    Sanjayan, lead scientist for the Nature Conservancy, the wealthiest environmental organization on earth, had left behind some of the least modest accommodations in East Africa, the Sarara Camp, a $600-per-night lodge where rawboned Samburu served an unrelenting feast of crepes, mango, and sauvignon blanc to soft-fleshed British couples in safari kit. A 43-year-old biologist who was born in Sri Lanka but lives in Montana, Sanjayan was here to help finalize the Nature Conservancy's largest deal in Africa to date, a $30 million partnership with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a luxurious, 62,000-ac...

The complete text of “The Natural ” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Outside, August 2010

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