Prince William pays tribute to ‘true visionary’ conservationist Leakey

Richard Leakey, who has died aged 77, was well known in his native Kenya and around the world

Ryan Hooper
Monday 03 January 2022 11:17
The Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech during the Tusk Conservation Awards at the BFI Southbank London (PA)
The Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech during the Tusk Conservation Awards at the BFI Southbank London (PA)

The Duke of Cambridge has paid personal tribute to the “inspirational” Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey, who has died aged 77.

Prince William reflected on his previous dealings with Leakey, particularly his determination to stop elephant poaching.

In a tweet, the prince wrote: “I was very sad to hear of Richard Leakey’s death. He was an inspirational & courageous conservationist and I was privileged to meet him.

The Duke of Cambridge and the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta both paid tribute to Richard Leakey

“He transformed the Kenyan Wildlife Service & valiantly spearheaded efforts to stop elephant poaching. Conservation has lost a true visionary.”

The tweet was signed off with the letter “W” to denote it being a personal tweet.

William’s work on conservation is long established, having been patron of the wildlife charity Tusk since 2005.

And it was during a visit to Kenya, Namibia and Tanzania in the autumn of 2018, when he met frontline conservation workers and people from local communities, that the prince came up with the idea for his climate change initiative, the Earthshot Prize.

William’s environmental work was also praised by the Queen in her Christmas Day message to the nation.

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta announced Leakey’s death on Sunday, saying he had “served our country with distinction”.

The cause of death was not confirmed.

Richard Erskine Frere Leakey was known for his fossil-finding and conservation work in his native Kenya.

He was the son of globally renowned anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey, and also held a number of public service leadership roles, including director of the National Museums of Kenya and what became the Kenya Wildlife Service.

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