This article was originally published on 25 May 2017.
Property rights lie at the heart of civilisation – not just in terms of commerce, but in the ability to safeguard long term interests and express natural territorial needs. Whether it is a farm such as ours on the marshes of East Sussex, or a flat in London, we rely on the co-operation of the mechanisms of the state to protect what is ‘owned’ from a legion of possible threats.
The murder of Tristan Voorspuy on the high plains of Laikipia in northern Kenya in March this year brought the above contemplation into shocking relief. Wars to the north and overpopulation to the south have created a migration of big game into the region which had been carefully observed by Tristan and his team since he purchased Sosian, a desertified and overgrazed ranch in range of Mt Kenya, twenty years ago. Under his expert stewardship and wise aspiration, it recovered to become an oasis for elephants and lions, cattle and tourism. Sosian, along with other ranches, some owned by the Maasai and Samburu, used private ownership to underpin one of Africa’s great conservation success stories.