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Wildlife Wars: My Battle to Save Kenya's Elephants

Wildlife Wars: My Battle to Save Kenya's Elephants [Kindle Edition]

Richard Leakey
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Richard Leakey spent years trying to save Africa's animals. Now he's trying to save a nation. Leakey began his career following in the footsteps of his famous parents, Mary and Louis, and becoming a renowned paleoanthropologist and head of Kenya's National Museums. In 1989, Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi put Leakey in charge of the Kenyan Wildlife Service. Ivory poachers were killing hundreds of elephants annually and the organisation was close to collapse. Leakey sacked corrupt rangers and brought in millions of dollars from international donors to help enforce a ban on the ivory trade. But when Moi accused the service of corruption, Leakey quit, later forming an opposition party. He clashed with Moi but in July 1999, Moi appointed him head of Kenya's civil service and secretary to the Cabinet. He is now charged with ridding the government of corruption and jumpstarting the economy.Leakey's clashes with poachers and the dictator Moi will provide a dramatic focus for the book. He will also detail the challenge he faced when he lost both his legs in a plane crash that many believe to have been caused by sabotage. He has had over 30 operations to allow him to walk again.

About the Author

Richard Leakey has written several books on the origin of mankind. His previous autobiography One Life (1983) was published before his involvement in Kenya's wildlife and its politics. He lives in Nairobi with his wife Maeve, who continues to work as a paleontologist.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 804 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New edition edition (21 Nov 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006B79JM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #322,462 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Anyone who has ever been to Kenya's extraordinary game parks to see the elephants, or dreamed of doing so, will be fascinated by this story of how these parks came to be the refuges they are and not the corrals for government-sanctioned poaching that they were. When paleontologist Richard Leakey took over the Department of Wildlife and Conservation in 1989, rampant corruption, theft, absenteeism, and a don't-care attitude were hallmarks within the department.
The Kenyan government lacked a real commitment to conservation, and the burgeoning population exerted pressure on national park borders, clearing land for farming and threatening wildlife, unimpeded. Poaching, patronage, a general ripoff mentality, and collusion between park rangers, politicians, blackmarketeers, and smugglers, were so interconnected and seemingly so ineradicable that the department resembled a many-headed hydra. Tribal rivalries within Kenya, a porous border through which Somalian thieves made forays, and a lack of agreement between Kenya and neighboring African countries about the best way to conserve animals made this one of the most daunting management challenges imaginable.
In prose that is as direct and to the point (and sometimes as self-congratulatory) as he is, Leakey tells how he managed a multimilliondollar corporation in a country in which everyone wants a piece of the pie, usually under the table. As Leakey tells of cleaning up the department and conserving the elephants, the reader also learns about the economics of the ivory trade, the tug-of-war between immediate political realities and long-term goals, the role of the World Bank in African development, and the politicking involved in deciding what is an endangered species under the U.N.'s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). It's a fascinating tale, equally intriguing to the lover of wildlife, the student of management, and the East African history buff. Mary Whipple
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This book succeeds well both as a conservation and as an action story about leading change.
Dr. Richard Leakey, son of the famous Louis and Mary Leakey, is best known for his work in unearthing early human fossils in Kenya. While doing his paleontological work, he also headed up the National Kenya Museum. As a high profile Kenyan, his criticisms of the rampant slaughter of wild elephants had drawn the attention of Kenya's president, Mr. Daniel arap Moi. Without warning, Dr. Leakey was appointed head of the Kenya Department of Wildlife and Conservation Management in 1989 and given encouragement to solve the problem.
Dr. Leakey found many serious problems. Corruption was rampant (rangers often were doing the poaching or helping the poachers). Less than 5 percent of the equipment worked. Little training was provided. Basics like gasoline were not available to maintain patrols. The poachers were using automatic weapons and had the rangers outgunned by a wide margin. Tourists were being robbed and killed, which potentially would dry up sources of income for Kenya.
What follows is a truly astonishing tale of how one man made a difference, but not quite enough of one. Reorganized as the Kenya Wildlife Service, the new organization became effective in fighting the poachers. Dr. Leakey fought untiringly to stop the international ivory trade and change consumer attitudes away from ivory products. To launch this effort, he publicly burned over three million dollars of seized ivory for the international television cameras. He also made many trips to economically advanced countries to raise funds, and obtained capital needed to establish a self-funding wildlife activity in Kenya.
But as the checks began to roll in, the political hands became outstretched. Dr.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great man 17 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a great book, I was amazed how much time and effort went into saving the elephants and other animals. I spent a lot of my childhood in Africa and use to go to Nairobi National Park but it is only now that I realise how important all National Parks are. I have a better understanding of all the problems they faced with poaching and the Mau Mau I just wish I knew what it was all about then. People like Richard Leakey to me are just wonderful people with big hearts who had to go through so much to make life better for wildlife and for us the public to enjoy.
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