Nature has just lost one of its defenders, 77-year-old Kenyan paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey.
Leakey fought poaching, especially the ivory and rhinoceros horn trafficking gangs, sparking controversy on numerous occasions, such as when he decided to burn dozens of tons of confiscated ivory.
“It was dramatic,” Leakey himself renewed in his day, and attracted a lot of publicity towards elephants and poaching, something that the paleoanthropologist always sought, knowing that public awareness was the best way to raise funds and promote international laws against the sale and trafficking of ivory.
He also made notable discoveries such as “The Men of Kibish”, 195,000-year-old Homo sapiens fossils, the oldest to date, or “The Turkana Boy”, the complete skeleton of a boy who died 1.6 million years ago. .
His work “The Making of Mankind” is a world reference on the evolution of the first hominids.
After working with the Kenya Wildlife Conservation Service (KWS) Leakey entered politics, serving in the Government of Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi (1978-2002) between 1999 and 2001.
“In addition to his distinguished career in public service, Dr. Leakey is famous for his prominent role in Kenya’s vibrant civil society, where he successfully founded and directed several institutions,” he said in a statement released after the announcement of his passing. , the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta.