Rory Young
Rory Young.jpeg
Rory Young
BornRory Young
(1967-05-21)May 21, 1967
DiedApril 26, 2021(2021-04-26) (aged 53)
Burkina Faso
Cause of deathTerrorist Attack
  • Conservationist
OrganizationChengeta Wildlife Foundation

Rory Young was an Irish wildlife conservation expert as well as the founder and chief executive officer of Chengeta Wildlife. Young died in April 2021 after being attacked by terrorists in Burkina Faso.


Rory Young was a Zambian-born Irish citizen. He was a father of two; a son and daughter.[1]


Rory Young was married to Marjet.[2]


Rory Young started as a professional guide in Zimbabwe and he really loved his job of relocating cheetahs into the Matusadona National Park.[1]

Chengeta Wildlife Foundation

In 2012 Rory Young was struck by lightning. He was badly hurt, injured, it took him a few years to get over it. The experience led to the foundation of Chengeta Wildlife Foundation, which by the time of Rory's death in April 2021 had trained over 1,000 rangers in the craft of protecting endangered wildlife and their habitat, as well as how to apprehend poachers.[1]

In 2014, he was summoned by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) whilst conducting anti-poaching training operations in the Kariba area. As a result Young left Zimbabwe for good. He wrote about his ordeal on Facebook:

On my way to do further training of Zimbabwe Republic Police and scouts in the Nyaminyami area I received a message from a third party to report to Office of the President in Kariba.

After a full and thorough interrogation, I was told that I was not allowed to train anyone and if I did, I would be arrested.

When I protested that I had been given a two-year residence permit in order to train anti-poaching personnel, that I was training police with the authority of police headquarters and with the permission of the appropriate authority for the area, I was told to shut up, that they were above the police, and that even if I had done nothing wrong, they would find a reason to arrest me and throw away the key unless I stayed away from the area and did no training in Zimbabwe.



  • A Field Manual For Anti- Poaching Activities

Rory Young coauthored A Field Manual For Anti- Poaching Activities which is a widely used and respected guide providing real, workable solutions to the poaching crisis.[2]


Rory Young died on 26 April 2021. Young's death was confirmed by Chengeta Wildlife. In a statement, Chengeta Wildlife said Rory was attacked by terrorists in Burkina Faso on 26 April 2021 whilst leading a wildlife protection patrol in Arly National Park. Part of the statement reads:

"Rory was leading a wildlife protection patrol in Arly National Park, Burkina Faso on 26th April 2021 when they were attacked by terrorists which resulted in his death and that of two Spanish journalists who were capturing his efforts to protect precious wildlife."

[4] Days before his death, Rory spoke about the danger of his work and how a near-death experience led to him establish the Chengeta Wildlife Foundation. Rory Young was killed along with two Spanish journalists and a Burkinabe soldier. An Islamist group JNIM in the region have claimed responsibility for the attack via an audio clip.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Eoghan Moloney and Conor Feehan, Irishman shot dead in Burkina Faso ambush previously survived near-death ‘lightning strike’ experience,, Published: April 28, 2021, Retrieved: April 29, 2021
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ian Begley, Irish father of two killed by jihadis in Burkina Faso was ‘wildlife hero’,, Published: April 28, 2021, Retrieved: April 29, 2021
  3. Poaching: How Zim chased away helpers, The Standard, Published: November 22, 2015, Retrieved: April 29, 2021
  4. Advent, FULL TEXT: Chengeta Wildlife CEO Killed By Terrorists, Pindula News, Published: April 29, 2021, Retrieved: April 29, 2021