Friday, August 01, 2003

Richard Leakey sounds like a real-life Indiana Jones.

During his colourful life he's been a fossil expert, author, conservationist, opposition MP, anti-corruption campaigner, economic reformer, and head of Kenya's civil service.

His first job was studying fossils, following his parents who were famous archaeologists and palaeontologists.

In the late 1980s, Leakey switched careers to take over as head of Kenya's Wildlife Service, working to protect all endangered wildlife and eco-systems.

Leakey's methods were successful but his combative style earned him plenty of enemies.

In 1993, the single-engine plane he was flying lost power and crashed and both legs were amputated below the knee. Some suspected the "accident" was, in fact, sabotage.

In 1995, Richard Leakey took a stand against corruption in Kenya’s government by forming Safina, an opposition party. Although subjected to beatings, death threats, and constant government surveillance, Leakey continued his crusade for political justice.

Leakey's story is an amazing one -- and for refusing to let his accident get the better of him, he's this week's Amputee of the Week.

The Leakey Foundation


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