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Wildlife Wars: My Battle to Save Kenya's Elephants (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Richard Leakey

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 804 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 336 pages
  • Editeur : Pan; Édition : New edition (21 novembre 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B006B79JM6
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating tale of the fight to save Kenya's elephants. 19 septembre 2005
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur
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.

As Leakey tells us here, 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 set up and 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
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Par Steven H Propp - Publié sur
Most famous as a paleoanthropologist, Richard Leakey has written/cowritten other books such as People of the Lake, The Making of Mankind, Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human, Origins, etc. [NOTE: page numbers refer to the 319-page hardcover edition.]

He wrote in the Foreword to this 2001 book, "In this book I have attempted to give the flavor of a period in my life at a time in Kenya when poaching of elephants for their ivory was a matter of great concern to relatively few people, either in Africa or elsewhere.. Many people... will continue to struggle with the challenges facing conservation in Kenya and in other countries. There is surely no simple prescription... African elephants continue to be threatened and probably will be for many years to come... Protecting elephants and conserving natural ecosystems remain my personal priorities... In Kenya, as in any number of African countries, poverty is real... The way toward eradicating poverty cannot through environmental degradation. The greater challenge is to create jobs, generate modest affluence, and encourage people to live away from lands that are critical for our planet's heath."

After accepting his new public service position, he realized, "Almost every year since our first expedition together, [his wife] Meave and I had spent our summers in the field, hunting for fossils. Now, for nearly the first time in twenty years, I knew I would not be going to Turkana with Meave. I simply wouldn't have the time... Those wonderful times at Turkana, our halcyon days together, were over. Meave would continue the Turkana expeditions without me." (Pg. 26)

He observes, "I was faced with the very real fact that one of the remaining species of elephants---the African elephant---was facing a serious threat of extinction... during the course of my lifetime... Perhaps because of my fossil-hunting background, I always associated the word 'extinction' with things that happened long ago... Nonetheless, I was seeing it happen." (Pg. 37)

He received death threats from poachers, and was assigned a bodyguard by the President (pg. 105), but he explains, "I wanted the poachers to think that I was as ruthless as they were, and I wanted my men to believe that they could win this bush battle." (Pg. 69) Part of the hatred of him came from his firing or transferring lots of corrupt of inefficient civil service employees: "Now here I was, tampering with this well-established, inefficient, and corrupt system. Of COURSE someone wanted me gone." (Pg. 107)

However, "I told my rangers to spread the word that we were ready to forgive any poachers who turned themselves in to us and gave us information we could use... I hoped we might convert them to our allies. I also offered jobs in our Wildlife Department to 'reformed' poachers... Some of the worst poachers are today among our best rangers." (Pg. 84) He famously burned (rather than selling) a huge pile of ivory, telling the press, "'To stop the poacher, the trader must also be stopped... I appeal to people all over the world to stop buying ivory'... The next day pictures of the ivory fire filled the front pages of newspapers around the world... The whole world would now know about the African elephant crisis, and Kenya had taken the lead." (Pg. 92)

He acknowledges that he is an atheist (Pg. 257), but during a medical crisis when he received a kidney transplant, "I nearly died. I had a classic out-of-body experience... I had no desire to return to my body. Then I saw Meave sitting beside me... Her words made me fight... That experience built a lasting bond between us. It also took away any fear I had of dying." (Pg. 110) But he gives the harrowing account of the plane crash which ultimately resulted in the loss of both of his legs. (Pg. 254-255) He laments, "Some of my best experiences were on expeditions on which we had hiked for miles and miles over rugged terrain. Many fantastic fossil discoveries would come at the end of long walks. I knew that all this would now be impossible." (Pg. 266) He asks, "Had the crash been an assassination attempt? It wouldn't have surprised me, given how many people were keen to get their hands on KWS's money. President Moi had warned me from the beginning that there were people who wanted me out of the way." (Pg. 259)

He states, "I do not think that zoos are necessarily bad institutions; they can be useful for teaching the public about wildlife and conservation." (Pg. 128) Later, he adds, "I'm not a conservation theorist, but i do believe in the value of national parks and protected areas overall. By this I mean places that are managed for the benefit of the animals and plants that live there and from which humans are largely banned ot their movements constrained." (Pg. 132) He says, "I was all in favor of parks earning their keep... this goal... could be attained via tourism and tourist dollars, which was a far wiser and more humane conservation method." (Pg. 224)

My famous mother, Mary, told him, "You know, don't you, Richard, that this work you're doing for the elephants and the other wildlife is far more important than any of your fossil work?" (Pg. 136) Yet ultimately, he realized that "The government no longer trusted me." (Pg. 241) And "If [President Moi] and the government no longer trusted me, as seemed to be the case, it was better to step down." (Pg. 274)

This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in animal conservation, Leakey's life, African politics, etc.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Saving Kenya's Elephants 25 septembre 2013
Par Lisbeth - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Richard Leaky's trials and tribulations when he took over Kenya's Wildlife parks following independence. The government lacked a real commitment to conservation and he had to deal with corruption at all levels, theft, staff that lacked incentive, poaching and much more. A fascinating book and well worth reading.
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