From Director General in 1989 to Chairman in 2015 – guess who returned to the Kenya Wildlife Service


(Posted 29th April 2015)

Often described as the most effective Director General the Kenya Wildlife Service ever had, and his successes never matched by any of those who followed him, has Dr. Richard Leakey, who will turn 71 in December, returned to the organization after being appointed to the position as Chairman by President Kenyatta.

The move to appoint a new board of trustees and chairman was years overdue and has in the opinion of many led to the present challenges the organization is faced with as policy guidance and oversight was clearly lacking at a time when poaching has returned. It was in fact Leakey who under former President Daniel arap Moi was put in charge to come down hard on the poachers in the late 1980’s, and like a ton of bricks did he come down on the. In military style operations did he smoke out the poachers hideouts, cut off their supply and escape routes and decimated them, clearing the way for many years of hardly any poaching incidents being reported.

Richard is part of the Leakey dynasty which rose to fame when he and his parents undertook their archeological digs in the Turkana area and discovered what is today described as the ‘Cradle of Mankind’ while making similar finds at the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania enroute from the Ngorongoro Crater to the Serengeti.

More recently was he chairman of ‘Wildlife Direct’, a conservation NGO based in Nairobi with Dr. Paula Kahumbu at the helm and in that capacity more than once locked horns with the KWS management.

It is expected that rapid changes will now take place at KWS after the first board meeting will no doubt come up with an immediate action plan and it can only be hoped that his chairmanship will be as successful as his reign as the first ever Director General of the organization was some two and a half decades ago. Certainly is public opinion in Kenya largely behind his appointment and hopes are high that KWS and conservation NGO’s will find a new partnership in working together towards common goals which are the protection of Kenya’s wildlife heritage and the conservation of the protected areas.

2 Responses

  1. Helo Richard,
    I am so happy to hear you have come back to KWS. The elephants are trumpeting in celebration! Wishing you strength and success.
    mia dunford ( ex KATO chairman )

  2. Welcome back Richard. I have more expectations and certain that you will meet them. Whichever way we can help, it will be a pleasure. I wish you a huge success.
    (Asst. Manager)

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