When Lee White first visited the central African nation of Gabon, he believed he’d found paradise.
White, 53, wasn’t new to Africa, having moved with his parents from Manchester, England, to Uganda at the age of three. But in Gabon, as a doctoral candidate in 1989, he’d come to the second-most forested nation on earth.
“Gabon is teeming with wildlife and beautiful rain forests,” he said in an interview in Johannesburg. “I fell in love, did my PhD there and never left.”
He became a Gabonese citizen in 2008, head of the national parks agency a year later, and in ...