Again, I have veered from consistent posting, as I have been out of Africa. Each time I leave for an extended period of time, there is a refreshing and re-energizing aspect of being in the first world, yet at the same time, I suffer from a loss of creativity (not that I am really that creative in the first place)....Africa keeps my juices flowing. I have been home in lovely Virginia and although I think of and yearn for Africa, I have not felt I had anything to write about, until recently.
What has re-inspired me is the great publicity that poaching, namely ivory & rhino horn, is getting. Although a dire and depressing subject, it is positive that it is finally out there. Generally speaking, a year ago, many conservationists and people in the conservation/eco-tourism world of Africa (Tanzania in particular), were frustrated by how serious of a situation the wildlife of the region and continent was in and yet it was getting no publicity in first world/influencing countries. However, the tide has now changed. Since I have been home, I have noticed more and more the issue being presented on a public stage, reaching not just conservation minded people, but the public. From National Geographic, to NPR to the State Department and the New York Times, people and important people (both American diplomats and journalists, as well as Tanzanian Ministers) are saying that yes there is a problem, it is a problem not just because of the degradation of important and key stone species, but also from a diplomatic and security perspective - money coming from these illegal wildlife activities is the same money going into other human, drug & weapon trafficking, increasing added threats to those other than the animals being killed. Over the past 6 months, the Tanzanian Wildlife Division has stepped up to the table and broken out of the mold of many other African countries, by admitting that there is a crisis in their country. This is a first and crucial step to solving the problem and it has allowed and encouraged people and governments from various parts of the world to also recognize the problem and hopefully all come together to find a solution in the near future....because there is not a lot of time.
Here are the links to some of these articles.
Since this post is about enjoying other peoples words and comments on Africa, I will stick with the theme and end with a quote by Colleen Begg, who is conducting carnivore research in Niassa Game Reserve (a spectacular and largely unknown reserve in Mozambique, where my husband Grant also happens to be based at the moment....). She says in her last blog:
“In the city there is this constant “like me, want me, buy me, I’ll make you happy” pressure that I find exhausting, disorienting and stressful until I again become habituated to it. Here it is a much more subtle selling of virtues, more of a “come closer, sit quietly, appreciate me” whisper. There is just as much stress out here and little of the romance many people imagine, but there are more moments of simply joy. Compared to the big city, life seems tougher and harsher but somehow more real and sane.”
|African Parks Network, elephant relocation (2008). Liwonde National Park - Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi.|