About Dr. Imre Leofler
Dr. Imre Loefler was born in Hungary. He studied medicine, philosophy and history in Germany. He trained as a surgeon in Germany and the USA. He later moved to Africa where he taught and practiced surgery in many countries before settling as a brain surgeon at Nairobi Hospital. He was a nature lover and a regular horse rider in Ngong Road Forest, which he sought to protect.
He conceived the idea of saving the Ngong Forest by converting it into a sanctuary, a task that occupied him for twenty years before it came into reality.
In the early nineties forests excisions became epidemic. The Trustees of Ngong Road Forest Sanctuary discovered that theirs was also to be grabbed. Headed by Imre Loefer they learnt that the core of the indigenous forest had been divided in 35 parcels and was to be given to the “big men”. They prevailed upon the President and the excisions were cancelled.
In the mid nineties when it transpired that the southern bypass road was to be built through the middle parts of the forest, Imre Lofler, together with a group of likeminded conservationists swung into action and had managed to persuade the roads department and the Japanese consultants to build around it.The negotiations took years but as they were highly publicized an opportunity to take a bigger step towards securing the forest’s future arose.
Through his persistent efforts the Sanctuary was gazetted and the then commissioner of lands issued a title deed for the sanctuary and stipulated its use for conservation, Recreation, Education and Research.
Many years before the conception of the forest bill that later became the New Forest Act of 2005, Imre Loefler had a clear vision on the future of forests management in Kenya and the need to involve the local communities under Participatory Management (PFM) Programs. This is what Kenya Forest Service is currently promoting through the formation of Community Forest Associations (CFAs).