With considerable regret
TONY FITZJOHN OBE
A Message from the George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust
With great sadness and regret the Trust informs you that, on the 23rd May 2022 Tony Fitzjohn died in hospital following a prolonged fight against a malignant cancer diagnosed in August 2021. 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. There he developed many skills in bush craft and worked with all wildlife but particularly lions and leopards.
But is towering achievement was the rehabilitation of the huge Mkomazi Game Reserve in Tanzania. This was at the invitation of the Tanzanian Government in 1989. In the next thirty years he enlisted a formidable group of supporters, experts and international institutions in what became an international beacon for conservation of habitat and wildlife. In that time he and his Tanzanian team transformed an area that had been heavily poached and degraded to the point of desertification into a National Park of outstanding beauty. When full stewardship was passed back to the Tanzanian authorities in 2020 the Park was rich in all species of wildlife including migrating herds of elephant. Fitzjohn also created programmes for endangered species including the African Wild Dog and one of the most successful Rhino Sanctuaries in Africa. The schools and classrooms that he built and equipped and the outreach programmes he maintained enhanced the lives of thousands of children in one of the most deprived parts of East Africa
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. His camp in Mkomazi was visited by royalty and by many famous celebrities, conservationists and good, stalwart friends who supported and contributed to his achievements.
The Trust wishes to thank you for all the help, support and advice that you provided for the Trust, for Tony and his family and for the cause of conservation to which Tony dedicated his life. Without our many friends from many countries this outstanding success could not have been achieved. Tony’s death leaves a terrible vacuum. In the coming months the Trust will be working with Lucy, Alexander and our friends in Africa on new projects and endeavours to ensure that the legacy of Tony Fitzjohn continues as he would have wished.
Additional pages on this website should be read in the knowledge of Tony Fitzjohn's death.
The George Adamson Wildlife Preservation Trust was formed in England in 1979 to raise funds for the work being done in the Kora National Park in northern Kenya by George Adamson and his assistant Tony Fitzjohn. This work was reflected in famous and iconic films and books such as Born Free, To Walk with Lions, My Pride and Joy and Born Wild. Much changed in 1989 when Tony Fitzjohn was invited to Tanzania to begin the rescue and rehabilitation of the Mkomazi Game Reserve, 3,270 square kilometres of African bush which, together with Tsavo National Park in Kenya on its northern boundary, forms one of the largest protected ecosystems in Africa. It saw the beginning of an extraordinary Project which continued for over thirty years and marked the founding of our Trust. It was named after and in memory of George Adamson, legendary wildlife conservationist, who was later murdered in the course of his work in 1989.
For the Mkomazi Project click here
In 2019 the Tanzanian Government began to take over The Mkomazi Project. It provided our opportunity to return full time to Kora to begin a new chapter in the Trust story.
For the new Kora Project, click here