Yesterday, 8 December 2022, we received the tragic news that our friend and former employee, Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, passed away when the plane they were flying crashed in Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
We mourn former Serengeti project leader Mark Jenkins
Mark was a lifelong conservationist and experienced bush pilot, who dedicated his career to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa’s most renowned national parks. Conservation was in Mark’s blood; as the son of a Game Warden for Kenya Wildlife Service, he largely grew up in Kenya’s Meru National Park. Mark enjoyed a distinguished career with KWS and others, and he joined FZS as a Project Leader in 2014, first in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve, and then in Serengeti National Park until 2016. An experienced pilot, Mark helped build up the airwing of Serengeti National Park by introducing two Aviat Husky aircraft dedicated to anti-poaching and surveillance. He was also instrumental in establishing the first de-snaring teams inside the park, providing local employment while helping to reduce the impact of snares on wildlife.
Passionate, principled, and strong-willed, Mark was never afraid to speak his mind and stand for what he believed in. He was a commanding presence and made an indelible impression wherever he went. Those of us who worked alongside him remember him for his determination, thoughtfulness, his energy, his mischievous smile, and his deep love of wildlife and wild places. We will miss his warmth, his hilarious stories, and his sometimes rather irreverent comments which always made us smile. Mark was a devoted husband and father and leaves behind his wife, and his son.
Our deepest condolences go to his family, who tragically lost two beloved family members, to their friends, and to all conservationists who knew Mark and worked with him. Our heartfelt condolences go also to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the NGO for which Mark did yesterday’s patrol flight.