Working in the field often brings little recompense or recognition, and my thoughts go out to the families of those three Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers recently shot dead during a gun battle with poachers in Tsavo. Read the story here. Without the dedication of these brave men and many more like them spread throughout Africa the precarious situation would only be worse and what of the wildlife which so many of us derive pleasure from?
Talking of such brave men The Congo Rangers are facing a desperate battle against poaching in the Congo, with the Rebel forces moving into Virunga once more. Last week it was my great pleasure to meet member "Chris in USA" whilst he was recently in Portugal. Chris has donated 15,000 U.S dollars to the Congo Rangers through Wildlife Direct to finance the purchase of a Land Rover and computer equipment, and is in the process of donating another 2000 dollars to help pay their wages, and bearing in mind they haven't been paid in months this is such an important donation to raise the spirits of our friends in the Congo. Spending the day together we discussed many aspects of wildlife conservation and how to take safaritalk forward and suffice to say by the end of the day we came up with some good ideas to help get the message out. And as a nice surprise he informed me that because of my work with Louise Joubert of SanWild he was donating 2000 dollars to help with the lion project and so thanks to his generosity the lions will be well cared for and fed. Again, I was encouraged by his words that "If I am the only one to ever read Safaritalk then you have made a difference." and he is right. Chris, it was a pleasure to meet you and you are an inspiration to me: I know we'll have a long friendship ahead of us.
And to wrap the notes up have you read the Alison Nicholls interview yet? Alison pursues her art both out in the African plains and her studio back home and uses it to both promote and raise funds for a number of wildlife causes. Her latest project is to document the painted dogs in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and will be spending six weeks working with the Painted Dog Conservation project. (www.painteddog.org) Keep a look out for her updates on the site in future.
And so with summer almost upon us, perhaps your trip planning is in advanced stages or indeed you'll soon be leaving and thus, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, take care, and safari njema.
The Game Warden