Dr. Richard Leakey Biography
Dr. Richard Leakey (Richard Erskine Frere Leakey) was born on 19th December 1944 in Nairobi, Kenya, Kenya. He is a kenyan anthropologist, conservationist, and politician.
Dr. Richard Leakey Discoveries
At 16 years, Dr. Richard Leakey dropped out of school and stated trapping animals and collecting skeletons for research institutions, learned to fly, and started a business taking tourists on photographic safaris.
While still in his teens, he joined a former colleague of his parents on a fossil-hunting expedition to Lake Natron on the Kenya-Tanzania border. To his surprise, he enjoyed the venture, but lacking academic credentials, he received little credit for the team’s discoveries.
In 1965, he traveled to England to catch up on his schoolwork, with the intention of resuming his education. When this proved more difficult than expected, he returned to Kenya, where he managed paleontological expeditions and worked for the National Museum of Kenya.
In 1967, he joined a successful expedition to the Omo Valley in Ethiopia. On a flight between Omo and Nairobi, he spotted an expanse of sedimentary rock on the shores of Lake Turkana, formerly known as Lake Rudolf. Leakey suspected the area was rich with fossils.
When a return trip confirmed his hunch, he secured funding from the National Geographic Society to run his own excavation. With a crew of Kenyan fossil hunters who called themselves the Hominid Gang, he uncovered a rich vein of artifacts that startled the world. After years in his family’s shadow, Dr. Richard Leakey had earned a reputation as an outstanding fossil hunter in his own right.
In 1968, at the age of 25, he won appointment as director of the National Museum of Kenya. As director of the Museum, Dr. Richard Leakey undertook intensive excavation at Lake Turkana. Over the next 30 years, the site yielded more than 200 fossils, including two of the most spectacular finds of all time, a virtually complete Homo habilis skull in 1972 and a Homo erectus skull in 1975.
In 1984, his team found one of the most historic specimens of all, the nearly complete skeleton of a young male Homo erectus. The 1.6-million-year-old skeleton, nicknamed Turkana Boy, is one of the most complete hominid fossil skeletons ever found. Dr. Richard Leakey described this discovery and its significance in the book Origins Reconsidered (1992). In 1985, the site produced the skull of a previously unknown species of extinct hominid, Australopithecus aethiopicus.
In nearly 30 years as director of the National Museum, Dr. Richard Leakey had built the institution into a major international research center. In 1989, he accepted an appointment by Kenya’s president, Daniel Arap Moi, to serve as director of the Kenya Wildlife Service. As director he was called on to rescue the country’s chaotic park system and combat an epidemic of rhinoceros and elephant poaching. The illegal demand for the tusks of these endangered animals was pushing both species to the brink of extinction. Dr. Richard Leakey created well-armed anti-poaching units, and when gentler measures failed, ordered the shooting of poachers.
In 1989, Dr. Richard Leakey staged a dramatic burning of 12 tons of confiscated tusks. The elephant population was soon stabilized and is now growing. Impressed with Dr. Richard Leakey achievement, the World Bank approved substantial grants to the Wildlife Service.
Although Dr. Richard Leakey accomplishments won international recognition, he had made enemies at home. In 1993, his plane suffered an unexplained equipment failure and crashed in the mountains outside Nairobi. The accident cost Leakey both his legs. An expert pilot, he had good reason to suspect sabotage by political enemies. Undeterred, Leakey returned to work, but political opposition forced his resignation in 1994. He recounted the experience in the book Wildlife Wars: My Battle to Save Kenya’s Elephants (2001).
After retiring from government in 2001, Dr. Richard Leakey served as a leading spokesman for Transparency International, a global coalition to fight corruption, and for the Great Apes Survival Project, a United Nations effort to defend mankind’s closest relatives. His books include The Origin of Humankind (1994) and The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Mankind (1995). His wife, Meave Leakey, and his daughter, Louise, carried on the family mission of searching for the evidence of human origins in Africa, while Dr. Richard Leakey continued his work as a highly public advocate for the disabled and for Kenya’s kidney patients.
By 2015, the poaching of wildlife that Dr. Richard Leakey had done so much to stop in the 1990s had returned to crisis levels. President Uhuru Kenytatta asked Dr. Richard Leakey to return to the Kenya Wildlife Service as chairman. At age 70, Richard Leakey took up the challenge, continuing his lifelong service to the environment and to the continent that gave birth to the human race.
Dr. Richard Leakey Illness
In 1969, Dr. Richard Leakey was diagnosed with a terminal kidney disease and told he only had ten years to live. In spite of this diagnosis, he forged ahead with his life.
By the end of the decade, Dr. Richard Leakey kidney disease had grown severe, and he traveled to London to consult a specialist. He received a transplant from his younger brother, Philip, but within a month, rejection set in. The drugs that suppressed the rejection weakened his immune system, and he nearly died from an inflammation of the lungs.
Dr. Richard Leakey survived, recovered, and returned to Kenya. In the eight months he had spent abroad, he wrote an autobiography.
1. Health Benefits of Apples
2. Health Benefits of Bananas
3. Health Benefits of Honey
4. Health Benefits of Ginger
5. Health Benefits of Garlic
6. Health Benefits of Lemon
7. Health Benefits of Pumpkin
8. Health Benefits of Watermelons
1. 25 Sexual Questions to Ask A Girl
2. 45 Things a Girl Wants But Wont Ask For
3. 10 Things You’re Doing that are Killing Your Kidneys
4. 25 Really Romantic Ideas to Make Your Lover Melt!
5. 60 Really Sweet Things To Say To A Girl
6. 19 Things Women in Relationships Must Not Do
7. 20 Things Women Should Never, Ever, Do
8. Top 20 Things Men Should Never, Ever, Do
Dr. Richard Leakey political career
Dr. Richard Leakey political career culminated in 1999 When then-president Moi appointed him head of Kenya’s Civil Service and of a so-called “Dream Team” of technocrats assembled from various fields and backgrounds to tackle management, corruption, and reorganization issues within the Kenyan government. He stepped down from this position in 2001, announcing at that time that he was retiring from politics.
Dr. Richard Leakey Books
- Origins (with Roger Lewin) (Dutton, 1977)
- People of the Lake: Mankind and its Beginnings (with Roger Lewin) (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1978)
- Making of Mankind (Penguin USA, 1981)
- One Life: An Autobiography (Salem House, 1983)
- Origins Reconsidered (with Roger Lewin) (Doubleday, 1992)
- The Origin of Humankind (Perseus Books Group, 1994)
- The Sixth Extinction (with Roger Lewin) (Bantam Dell Pub Group, 1995)
- Wildlife Wars: My Fight to Save Africa’s Natural Treasures (with Virginia Morell) (St. Martin’s Press, 2001)
Dr. Richard Leakey Family and Children
Dr. Richard Leakey was married to Margaret Cropper and their daughter Anna was born in 1969, the same year that Leakey and Margaret divorced. Dr. Richard Leakey married his colleague Meave Epps in 1970 and they had two daughters, Louise (born 1972) and Samira (1974).
Dr. Richard Leakey – Why I Love Kenya
I am always surprised when I’m asked to explain why I love and care so much for Kenya. It all seems so obvious: Kenya has everything one could possibly need, and everything to love.
And there is nowhere on our planet that I would prefer to live, work and, I suppose, die!
Let me expand; firstly Kenya is my home, the family having arrived here in their current manifestation almost 130 years ago. Furthermore, if we look at our DNA and genetic history, my earliest ancestors were living here about 45,000 years ago.
It’s an intriguing thought that every living human on the planet today can trace their earliest origins, through genetic studies, back to Africa – fairly close to Kenya on the eastern side of the continent. And while I have no certainty that there is such a thing as genetic memory, it would offer a possible explanation as to why so many very different people from all the corners of the world are heard to say, ‘Kenya feels good, it feels like home.’ Because it probably is just that.
Beyond the positive subconscious feelings generated by Kenya, there is also the fact that her diversity of landscapes is simply extraordinary. Wonderful beaches with all-year warm seas, fantastic semi-deserts, verdant hills, manicured farms, highland forests and mountains. Even a little bit of snow! And on these landscapes live warm, friendly people with profoundly diverse cultures and ways of life.
There is little you cannot find in Kenya if you look for it.
Our cities are modern in all aspects, with fantastic restaurants and hotels. And yet, within sight of many of the city’s tower blocks lies Nairobi National Park where lion, cheetah, rhino, buffalo and all sorts of other wild game can be viewed on a ‘120-minute safari’ or morning excursion. Only Kenya offers such a privilege.
Travelling further afield, you’ll encounter some of the finest game-viewing parks in the world. Elephants abound. And they’re always ready to welcome our visitors with a good showing. Indeed, in many ways, I find watching elephants quietly living their natural lives to be one of the most therapeutic and restorative pleasures I know. You should try it; it’s safe, it’s unique and it upgrades life.
More visceral and equally unforgettable is watching a predator hunting. Many visitors, if they’re patient, will get the chance to watch lions stalking and making a kill, or to observe the cheetah, whose turn of speed is a marvel. Thereafter, they can watch as the hyaena and vultures take over the kill — an extraordinary and utterly awesome experience.
If you’re a bird lover, you’ll find paradise in Kenya. So many species, so easy to see, and so extraordinary to discover how they all fit into their particular niches. Then there’s the wonderful dawn chorus and the often eerie silence of the hot noon hours. So much better than the famed tropical jungles, where there may be many birds but they’re all too difficult to see.
Getting to know the people of Kenya may take time, but you’ll find that the nomadic pastoralists such as the Maasai, Samburu, Gabbra and Turkana make wonderful hosts who will readily welcome curious visitors.
We’re a very diverse nation speaking over thirty languages, but we can all tell you why we love our very special country – in English and in quite a few other languages too. As to our hotels, lodges and tented camps, they promise faultless service, good food and excellent guides and naturalists.
So, my question is simply this: how could I not love Kenya? One personal note of caution to the reader: be prepared. Because the Kenyan experience is powerfully seductive, and you’ll always want more!