TONY FITZJOHN OBE
July 7, 1945 — May 23, 2022
A Message from the Tony Fitzjohn George Adamson African Wildlife Preservation Trust
With great sadness and regret the Trust informs you that, on the 23rd of May, 2022 Tony Fitzjohn died following a prolonged fight against a malignant cancer. He was 76.
Tony Fitzjohn was one of the great wildlife conservationists of his generation. He was born in England and as a young man he spent eighteen years with the legendary George Adamson in the Kora National Park, Kenya. He developed many skills in bush craft and worked with all wildlife but particularly lions and leopards.
His main, towering achievement was the rehabilitation of the enormous Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania at the invitation of the Tanzanian Government in 1989. In the next thirty years he enlisted a formidable group of supporters, experts and famous institutions in what became an international beacon for conservation of land and wildlife. He created programs for endangered species including the African Wild Dog, one of the most successful Rhino Sanctuaries in Africa and built schools and pioneered educational programs in the local communities.
For his work he was awarded the OBE, the Prince Bernhard Order of the Golden Ark, the North of England Zoological Society’s Gold Medal and the Hanno Ellenbogen Award.
Aside from the loss being felt by the environmental community and the world at large, the loss of Tony Fitzjohn, the person, will be deeply felt by the many that knew him. We remember his brio, his spirit, his humor, his warmth, his kindness, his energy, the glint in his eye and the loving way he cared for his family and his friends. His was a big personality that had a big impact on those whose path he crossed. His loss leaves a vacuum in the hearts of many. Tony Fitzjohn was not just another guy on the planet. His spirit rose above and sheltered many, humans and animals alike. He will be greatly missed.
Continuing Tony’s Conservation Work and Legacy
The Trust wishes to thank you all for the help and support that you provided for the Trust, for Tony and his family and for the cause of conservation. Lucy Fitzjohn, Tony’s wife of 25 years, and Alexander, his oldest child have worked with Tony for years at Mkomazi and Kora and will ensure that Tony’s legacy continues. Alex, or Mukka as he is known to his friends and family, has been working in Kora for the past several years. He and Lucy worked closely with Tony, Kenyan Wildlife Services (KWS), the Kenyan government and the Trusts in creating a detailed “management plan” for the restoration of Kora National Park.
WildlifeNOW will continue to work in collaboration with and provide assistance to the wildlife authority KWS in a restoration and rehabilitation program focusing on the rebuilding of a safe and sustainable ecosystem and the protection of the habitat and wildlife of Kora National Park, Kenya, and to continue our work amongst the communities in the surrounding area.
In late 2019 the Trusts handed their part of the Mkomazi Project in Tanzania over to the wildlife authority (Tanzanian National Parks) and returned to Kenya to focus on the rehabilitation of Kora National Park, continuing extensive discussions with KWS for the long-term stewardship, conservation, environmental protection and sustainable development of Kora and to forward joint objectives.
To date, work in Kora has included the rebuilding of George Adamson’s camp, establishment of a small workshop, installation of electrical, solar, communication and water systems, deployment of a tractor and trailer and vehicles to support KWS and their personnel in the field; construction of roads and tracks; aircraft patrols; working with KWS on ground patrols; purchase and importing of equipment for field work; and community outreach work which has focused on medical, education and water projects. A framework management plan and list of priorities was developed and these were handed to KWS. An environmental impact assessment was undertaken with KWS for proposed fencing for an endangered species program and NEMA approval for this was sought and obtained. All the roads and tracks in Kora were GPS’d and a map was produced and handed to KWS.