Can People and Wildlife Co-exist in the African Savannah?
World Expert at University of Leicester for Conservation Lecture Series
man who has dedicated his life to resolving the question of whether people and
wildlife can co-exist in the African Savannah will return to the University of
Leicester as an honorary graduate to give a series of three lectures in March.
David Western, a former student of the University, has been described as a world
authority on community-based conservation. Currently Chairman of the African
Conservation Centre, and former head of Kenya Wildlife Service, he has
experienced at first hand the conflict between conserving wildlife within the
national parks, and meeting the needs of the poor communities living alongside
the wildlife heritage of Africa.
is ironic that such a high-profile conservationist should be the son of a
big-game hunter. But growing up surrounded by the natural beauty of Tanzania
inspired a love for wild Africa and a life devoted to understanding the human
versus animal dynamic of savannah ecosystems.
Western speaks fluent Swahili and has worked alongside the Kenyan Masai tribe of
warrior-pastoralists for many years. Thus he can boast an intimate understanding
of the inter-relationships between growing human populations outside the
national parklands, and the falling Kenyan biodiversity, especially in areas
outside the national protected areas.
received an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Leicester last
July, in recognition of his achievements in wildlife conservation. On his return
to the University his first two lectures are entitled Amboseli: The Ecology of a
Savannah Ecosystem and Conserving the African Savannahs.
which will be examined include the forces shaping savannah ecosystems - by
drawing on evidence from a 35-year study of the Kenyan Amboseli National Park
ecosystem; the savannah diversity; threats to biodiversity and the importance of
a taking a pluralistic approach to conservation by combining local, national and
remaining lecture in the series, entitled The Two Cowboys: Conservation and
Globalisation will compare the lifestyles of American ranch cowboys and East
African Masai herdsmen, and how a novel ‘everyday living’ approach to
conservation has put them together in a bid to preserve the welfare of their
lands and people.
lecture will mark the launch of an annual David Balbi Memorial Lecture. Dr Balbi,
who sadly died last June, did all his formal studies at the University of
Leicester, having initially left school to be a garage mechanic. Qualifications
in the University’s Institute of Lifelong Learning led to his BSc in Ecology
and Biology, and he then went on to work for the Environmental Agency’s
Anglian Region. At the same time he used the work to write his doctoral
dissertation at the University of Durham on eutrophication (nutrient enrichment)
of the River Nene in Northamptonshire.
lecture will be chaired by Professor John Benyon, Director of the University’s
Institute of Lifelong Learning. A brief account of his life will be given by Dr
David Harper, Department of Biology, and Dr Alastair Ferguson, a senior
scientist in the Environmental Agency.
For more information, contact David Harper, Department of Biology, Office
0116 252 3346, mobile 07779 622 082.
Dr David Western lecture series:
Wednesday, March 19, 1.30pm:
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