‘Kenya’s wildlife – Predictions for the next decade’ with Dr Richard Leakey
Date & Time: Monday 9 November 2015, 6pm-8pm
Venue: Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS University
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Speaker: Dr Richard Leakey, paleoanthropologist, conservationist and politician
Respondents: H.E. Lazarus Amayo, High Commissioner for Kenya; Charlie Mayhew MBE, CEO of Tusk. Chaired by Richard Dowden, Director, Royal African Society
The international commercial ivory trade has been banned since 1989, yet growing demands for ivory and rhino horn from the Far East and increased activity from terrorists and criminal gangs, has resulted in an unprecedented increase in poaching in recent years. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the African elephant population dropped from 550,000 in 2006 to 470,000 in 2013, East African countries have seen the worst decline; numbers fell from 150,000 to about 100,000 during the seven year period.
Richard Leakey, renowned Kenyan paleoanthropologist, conservationist and politician, will once again lead anti-poaching efforts in his home country as Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). Formerly called the Wildlife Conservation and Management Department (WMCD), Richard Leakey was appointed head of the organisation back 1989 by President Arap Moi. At the time there were just 12,000 elephants left in Kenya, Richard Leakey was instrumental in dramatically reducing poaching in the country by transforming the corrupt and bankrupt WMCD, mobilising international funding and militarising Kenya’s wildlife services.
In light of the recent increase in illicit wildlife trade, Richard Leakey’s appointment earlier this year, was greeted with enthusiasm, as well as apprehension in the face of the challenges that lie ahead. In a recent article in the Daily Nation, Leakey stated: “it’s not a job I wanted or that I relished, or that I am grateful for. But I will do it.” Join us for this special event organised in collaboration with The Kenya Society, as Richard Leakey shares his predictions for the future of Kenya’s fragile asset.
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