Letter: Conservationists mourn Leakey's resignation

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The Independent Online
Sir: The news of Richard Leakey's resignation (report, 15 January) from his position as director of the Kenya Wildlife Service has been met by myself and conservationists the world over with utter dismay and consternation.

The personal appointment, four years ago, by President Daniel arap Moi of Dr Leakey was a move of unprecedented importance and was greeted with admiration. It was at a time when Kenya's wildlife was being decimated through uncontrolled poaching. The facts since then have spoken for themselves. Richard Leakey stopped this almost overnight, and Kenya set an example to the rest of Africa - giving hope to the desperate situation facing rhinos and elephants.

Richard Leakey's resignation now represents a dark day and fateful step back for Kenya and the rest of Africa; it could well herald the beginning of the end for Kenya's most valuable asset, its wildlife, and a catastrophe for the tourist industry on which the country so desperately depends.

Yours sincerely,

DAVID SHEPHERD

Artist and conservationist

Godalming, Surrey

(Photograph omitted)

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