Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa's Natural Treasures Hardcover – September 19, 2001
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
From Publishers Weekly
In conservation and wildlife preservation, paleontology and East African politics, few have mattered more than Leakey (The Sixth Extinction), who emerged as an expert on early humans, building on his famous parents' discoveries as he explained in the 1983 memoir, One Life. This second memoir describes his high-stakes second career. In 1989, Leakey became the head of Kenya's Wildlife Department, which put him in charge of saving elephants from the poaching that risked their extinction. Leakey and Morell explain, with speed and cogency, the murderous business of poaching and the difficulties of the Wildlife Department in 1989 perhaps "the most corrupt organization" in Kenya; "everyone thought the poachers were invincible" in fighting it. Leakey arranged a bonfire of seized ivory, a public relations triumph. He also issued semi-automatic weapons to park rangers. Gangs retaliated, in part, by killing George Adamson, of Born Free fame; public reaction helped Leakey and allies achieve an international ban on the ivory trade. Leakey later found his work and his life in peril, and a 1993 plane crash cost him his legs. Leakey and Morell (who has also penned a book about the Leakeys, Ancestral Passions) tell a brisk and vividly personal story. Though longer on laws and press conferences than on elephants, the memoir will fascinate anyone interested in conservation or East African politics. The detailed narrative stops in 1994, when Leakey first left his Wildlife job; subsequent events including Leakey's ascent to Parliament as an opposition candidate occupy just a few pages. Readers will await those stories eagerly, while holding out hopes for Kenya and its pachyderms.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In this sequel to his 1983 memoir One Life, paleontologist Leakey writes about his appointment in 1989 to a mismanaged Wildlife Department in his home of Kenya. He immediately realized the unprecedented challenge that he faced in not only revitalizing the agency but also combating the precipitous decline in Kenyan wildlife, most particularly, the African elephant. One of his first decisions was to burn rather than sell tons of confiscated ivory. This sent a strong message that his department would be unwavering in opposing the ivory trade. He backed this up by reorganizing the department into the Kenyan Wildlife Service and arming his rangers to do battle with poachers. This, combined with international lobbying against the ivory trade, did much to bring the elephant back from the brink of decimation, but the cost included continual conflict with other government officials and the loss of his legs in a suspicious 1993 plane accident. He joined an opposition political party after a smear campaign but has now rejoined the government in a new role. Wildlife readers will find few animal stories here; this is a political story. At times, even Leakey himself admits that he is not a consummate political player, but as an effective champion of wildlife he appears to have few equals. Highly recommended.
- Beth Crim, Prince William P.L., VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
I found that this book moves along in a life adventure as it explains the serious problems along the way - Corruption was rampant (rangers were poaching or in cahoots with the poachers) - Much of the equipment did not work - there was a lack of training for those involved, gasoline was not available to do vehicle patrols. The poachers use automatic weapons, hard to fight. Tourists were/are robbed and killed, which disourages tourism which is a necessary source of income to protect the wildlife.
Dr. Leakey's observations are important - unfortunately he is describing a problem that is more and more prevalent in "different clothing" in much of our world - now openly we are being told that for our own good mining in state and federal lands, blasting of mountains - and many things that will ruin the habitat for all manner of wildlife is okay or to be desired. Many of our politicians are no better than rangers poaching and/or helping the poachers . . .
Do read this book . . and reflect on how the challenges in Africa are also present in many forms in our more "civilized" countries . . . .
Save Vermont, its wildlife and its Green Mountains -Please sign our petition - Save The Lowell Mountains NOW - please post this petition to your pages - we can save our planet! [...]
The Vermont Green Mountains AND all of their wild life and habitat are under attack by corporations seeking the huge, millions of dollars of Federal Subsidies - If the Lowell Mountains Industrial wind Turbine project goes through - so will more than 30 more and many more mountain tops will be flattened. They are getting around Act 250 - at stake: Wetlands, Wildlife habitat including: Bear, Moose, Deer, Bat, Eagle, Hawk, songbirds, Owl, Woodpecker, Beaver and other habitat. The blasting will ruin the aquifers leading to streams, bogs, wells and wetland alteration and/or destruction. Vermont does not have enough wind to even minimally excuse the destruction of its mountain tops. The rural people of Vermont do NOT have the money to fight this - but with your signatures on the petition - with Joining our Facebook page - Save The Lowell Mountains Now! [...] and sending the letters and emails in the NOTES sections - We CAN turn this around! Please - this is happening right now . . . Please help us!!! Please help save Vermont, its heritage beauty, its rural lifestyle, its tourism, and its wildlife