2 -min. read

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Dr Richard Leakey’s CV for a who’s-who of Kenyan powerhouses: palaeoanthropologist; director of Kenya Museum Society; administrative director of the National Museum; director of Kenya Wildlife Service; eight-time author; co-founder of the Safina political party; cabinet secretary and head of the Civil Service; professor of anthropology; founder of Wildlife Direct; chairman of Transparency International Kenya branch; Fellow of the Royal Society… And that’s just a taster. Yeah, ‘intimidating’ doesn’t really cut it.

When Leakey’s involvement in last year’s infamous ivory burn in Kenya made him unavailable for the inaugural Conservation Lab, we convinced him to pencil us in for the 2017 edition; so we’re beyond honoured and excited to announce not only his participation but that this year’s event will open with a Team Talk from the man himself.

“We’re seriously facing a moment when massive extinctions are going to take place and if we’re really serious about trying to retain biodiversity in these protected areas, I think we’ve got to take a much stronger hand in terms of scientific research, management and efforts to mitigate and save these creatures…

“My advice is the NGOs, the well-meaning private investors, private supporters, government institutions, government organisations and official organisations should actually do more talking to each other rather than at each other. We’ve simply got to give up this territorial imperative of, ‘We’ve got our patch and don’t you tell us what to do here.’

“The body of experience that’s been learned over the years is phenomenal and if we can’t use that collectively to try and do a little better than we are doing, then I have no hope.”

That’s where the Conservation Lab comes in: this year we’re growing the event, bringing together up to 150 key players from the conservation sector (Leakey included), the travel industry, government and community organisations, and commercial enterprise for an event like no other. Taking place from 29 April until 1 May at Spier Hotel in Stellenbosch, South Africa, the Conservation Lab un-conference will be a participant-led weekend of collaborative discussion and positive action. Together, We Can Fight Our Way Back.

If you’re ready to take up the challenge, apply now.


Katie Palmer
Katie Palmer is Editorial & Content Manager at This is Beyond Ltd.

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