The Prince of Wales was among those paying tribute to the dedicated wildlife conservationist and William even considered him ‘a close friend’. (1)
“He was a gentleman and a bush man, equal parts passionate, principled, and practical.” (8) Remembering Mark Jenkins, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), now known as the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, were saddened as both men (father, & son Peter) were working an aerial surveillance for them (on 8 December 2022) when their plane went down.
One of Mark’s last efforts for the DSWT was in May 2022 when he was leading a team to “enhance conservation” in the Galana/Kulalu Ranches (approximately 2 million acres in Tsavo East National Park). After decades of poaching and “other illegal activities (that) had blighted the ranches” (8) even the elephants had become to feel more safe and were making their presence known.
While Peter’s life (and career) was just beginning, his legacy will be forever tied with his father and grandfather (Peter) “through the wildernesses (they) helped (to) transform” in their native land. (8).
Mark Jenkins leaves behind his wife, Clare (“Peter’s mother”) & Myles (“Mark’s son & Peter’s brother”.) (8)
“Mark Jenkins, a ranger, died alongside his son when their light aircraft crashed in Tsavo National Park.”
“The Prince of Wales (William) has paid tribute to a ‘close friend’ who was killed, alongside his son, in a plane crash in Kenya. Mark Jenkins, a ranger, was killed when his light aircraft crashed as he tried to drive cows, camels and goats out of Tsavo National Park. His son, Peter, was a warden…”
“In a personal tweet from the Kensington Royal account, he (William) wrote:
‘Yesterday, I lost a friend, who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa’s most renowned national parks.’ ”
“ ‘Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, were tragically killed when flying over Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol.’ He added: ‘Tonight, I’m thinking about Mark’s wife, family and colleagues who’ve sadly lost a man we all loved and admired. W’ ”
“The Prince (William) first met Mr Jenkins on his gap year in 2001, when he spent three-and-a-half months in Africa, enjoying time on safari but also learning about game conservation, wildlife and the environment.”
“The pair struck up a friendship and had met a number of times since, with Mr Jenkins following the Prince’s work with the Tusk Trust. William is a keen conservationist and spent a huge amount of time in Africa.”
“He is patron of the Tusk Trust, a wildlife conservation charity, and founded United for Wildlife, which aims to protect endangered species from the illegal wildlife trade. He proposed to the then-Kate Middleton in Kenya in 2010.”
“The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) paid tribute to Mr Jenkins, who they described as a ‘lifelong conservationist and experienced bush pilot’. It said he was killed while conducting an aerial patrol for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an NGO. ’Passionate, principled, and strong-willed, Mark was never afraid to speak his mind and stand for what he believed in,’ it said.”
“ ‘He was a commanding presence and made an indelible impression wherever he went.’ Mr Jenkins worked as a project leader for the FZS since 2014, first at Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, and then at the Serengeti National Park until 2016. He helped develop the Serengeti National Park’s aviation team by buying two Aviat Husky planes which were ‘dedicated to anti-poaching and surveillance’.”
“The son of a game warden who worked for the Kenya Wildlife Service, he is said to have grown up in Meru National Park. He was described as a ‘devoted’ husband and father. He leaves behind a wife and another son.
“The FZS expressed its condolences to his family and said they would miss ‘his warmth, hilarious stories and irreverent comments’.”
“The area where Mr Jenkins and his son were killed had been invaded by herders with their animals for pasture, causing conflict between authorities and the herders, according to a local newspaper.”
Coast regional police officer Titus Karuri said experts were investigating the accident. ‘Kenya Wildlife Service wishes to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the deceased,’ he said.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya. The park is almost 22,000 square kilometres – the largest national park in Kenya – and one of the biggest in the world.
“In 2014, Prince William, through United for Wildlife, was involved in a scheme, tested at Tsavo National Park in Kenya that deployed secret surveillance cameras around many of the world’s last great wildernesses in the hope of catching poachers.”
“On Wednesday, the Prince shared his condolences about an African wildlife ranger killed by armed poachers and called for the ‘perpetrators to be brought to justice’. He said his thoughts were with Charles Okawa’s loved ones, after the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) ranger was shot dead while on duty in Kidepo Valley Conservation Area. Signing off with the letter ‘W’, to indicate the personal nature of the post, he added ‘these senseless killings must be stopped’.”
Transcribed & Images from creative commons video by Vivegam Television ‘Prince William’s close friend Mark Jenkins killed in Kenya plane crash in Tsavo National Park’ (1)
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (2)
Tusk Trust (3)
United for Wildlife (4)
Frankfurt Zoological Society (5)
Kenya Wildlife Service (6)
Uganda Wildlife Authority (7)
‘Remembering Mark and Peter Jenkins’ – DSWT (8)
For tributes and photos of son Peter Jenkins & more photos of his father, Mark Jenkins, see Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Twitter (9)
(1) ‘Prince William’s close friend Mark Jenkins killed in Kenya plane crash in Tsavo National Park’ Creative Commons video by Vivegam Television https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NMbY_TFU67c
(2) David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/
(8) ‘Remembering Mark and Peter Jenkins’ https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/news/updates/remembering-mark-peter-jenkins
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