Kenya appoints veteran conservationist Richard Leakey to wildlife body

The East African Wildlife Society (EAWLS) has welcomed the appointment of Richard Leakey as chairman of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Board of Trustees.

In a press statement EAWLS stated that this came at a critical moment for conservation in Kenya and pledged the organisation's support.

“His appointment comes at a time when reform is needed, as has been clearly spelt out in the report produced last year by the independent task force, which was asked to investigate the threats faced by wildlife and their habitats,” the statement read.

Dr Leakey, a renowned conservationist, replaced former Finance minister David Mwiraria as the chairman of the KWS board following Monday’s state corporations appointments.

EAWLS stated that the task force findings identified the very real threats of not just ivory and rhino horn poaching, but also bush meat poaching and the failure to control development in parks.

The society said KWS no longer operates at a level of quality that it demonstrated in the past and suggested how this may be remedied.

“To quote the report: ‘It needs to be stated that the task force is not recommending a patching up of KWS, but a major reform’”.

The statement concluded by saying there is much to be addressed by the incoming chairman.

“The appointment of Dr Leakey gives us optimism that these issues will now receive serious attention. We wish him every success in his efforts and Dr Leakey can look to us for our support in his endeavours to once again be Kenya’s spokesperson and champion for wildlife,” it stated.

Dr Leakey has previously served as KWS director.