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Famous African Wildlife Conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey Dies at 77

Dr. Richard Leakey - Image courtesy of phys.org

Famous and prominent wildlife and nature conservationist in Africa, Dr. Richard Leakey, passed away in Kenya yesterday, Sunday, January 2, 2021, in the evening.

The most renowned wildlife conservationist and natural scientist in Africa, Dr. Richard Leakey unearthed evidence that helped to prove humankind evolved in Africa.

The President of Kenya, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, announced the death of Dr. Richard Leakey yesterday in Nairobi and said that the globally renowned Kenyan paleoanthropologist and conservationist had passed away.

Kenyatta said that over the years, Dr. Richard Leakey served Kenya with distinction in several public service roles among them as Director of the National Museums of Kenya and Chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service Board of Directors.

“I have this afternoon received with deep sorrow the sad news of the passing away of Dr. Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, Kenya’s former Head of Public Service,” said Kenyan President in a statement late Sunday.

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, among them the conservation organization WildlifeDirect.

“On behalf of the people of Kenya, my family and on my own behalf, I send heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family, friends, and associates of Dr. Richard Leakey during this difficult period of mourning.

“May God the Almighty grant the soul of Dr. Richard Leakey eternal rest,” President Kenyatta said in a statement.

Leakey, the middle son of famed paleoanthropologists, Dr. Louis and Mary Leakey, led expeditions in the 1970s that made groundbreaking discoveries of early hominid fossils in East Africa.

His most famous find came in 1984 with the uncovering of an extraordinary, near-complete Homo erectus skeleton during one of his digs in 1984, which was nicknamed Turkana Boy.

In 1989, Leakey was appointed by the former Kenyan President, Daniel arap Moi, to lead the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), where he spearheaded a vigorous campaign to stamp out rampant poaching for elephant ivory.

Richard Leakey, in full Richard Erskine Frere Leakey, was born on December 19, 1944, in Nairobi, Kenya.

He was a Kenyan anthropologist, conservationist, and political figure who was responsible for extensive fossil finds related to human evolution and who campaigned publicly for responsible management of the environment in East Africa.

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Apolinari Tairo - eTN Tanzania

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