We’ve just learned of the passing of one of Africa’s most forward thinking conservationists – Delia Craig. Along with her husband, David, and her sons, Ian and Will, Delia converted their family ranch – then known as Lewa Downs – into today’s Lewa Conservancy. It started with the creation of the Ngare Sergoi sanctuary for rhinos in 1983 – inspired by and in partnership with Anna Merz – another of Africa’s most dedicated conservationists. Lewa has since become one of Africa’s most successful and influential wildlife conservancies – creating an inspiring model for others to follow.

I met Delia briefly in 1989, during my first visit to Lewa Downs. As we were watching a pair of white rhinos grazing, a small Land Rover pulled up on the opposite side of our vehicle – away from the rhinos. Delia introduced herself and welcomed us to Lewa Downs. What I remember most was her obvious excitement that we came to see the rhinos and her shining smile.

We have lost one more of that generation, who were raised within a colonial world but who stepped out of those traditions and helped protect some of the world’s most precious wildlife refuges. There is so much more to Delia’s contributions to Kenya, her people and her wildlife – as detailed here, in her obituary in The Telegraph.

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