Richard Leakey, Kenyan conservationist who campaigned against ivory trade, has died

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NAIROBI: Richard Leakey, a Kenyan conservationist and paleoanthropologist who spearheaded campaigns against the ivory commerce to save lots of the dwindling African elephant inhabitants, has died, the Kenyan presidency stated on Sunday (Jan 2). He was 77.

For years Leakey served in numerous roles within the authorities together with as director of the state-run National Museums of Kenya and twice as board chairman on the Kenya Wildlife Service.

President Uhuru Kenyatta stated Leakey had “served our country with distinction”.

“Besides his distinguished career in the public service, Dr Leakey is celebrated for his prominent role in Kenya’s vibrant civil society where he founded and successfully ran a number of institutions.”

Leakey was the son of palaeontologists Louis and Mary Leakey, whose work helped reveal that human evolution started in Africa. He was celebrated for his work to save lots of wildlife from poachers and for main campaigns against the ivory commerce.

Paula Kahumbu, a wildlife conservationist who heads WildlifeDirect, instructed Reuters she had been mentored by Leakey, as had many different younger Kenyans.

“Very courageous, he was a person who stood for integrity whether it was in wildlife conservation, whether it was related to archaeological and paleoanthropological research at museums or whether it was related to politics,” she stated.

Leakey additionally served Kenya’s head of civil service from July 1999 to March 2001, at a time when then president Daniel Arap Moi was below stress from donors to sort out corruption and different inefficiencies in authorities.

He was a co-founder of the Safina Party in 1995.

At the time of his loss of life, he was serving as chairman of the Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University within the United States, which works to facilitate analysis and training in palaeontology and archaeology in northern Kenya.

Leakey was additionally a fellow of the UK-based Royal Society and an honorary fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.

Source: CNA


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