Give conservation one hour per week!
Upon receiving the sad news of the murder of South African elephant conservationist, Wayne Lotter in Tanzania, I pondered what I'd done for conservation of Wildlife since 1990. The answer was, "nothing."
I'd started my short career in conservation brushing shoulders with giants like the late Dr. John Condy who was Director of Veterinary Services in Zimbabwe, Meg Coates-Palgrave co-author of Coates-Palgarve's "trees of Southern Africa," Keith Mickle-John of Game Capture Unit of Natal Parks Board, Geoff Lockwood, who reintroduced the Red-billed Ox Pecker to the Waterberg and authored SASOL's Guide to Birds of Southern Africa, Dr. John Ledger CEO of Endangered Wildlife Trust and Garth Owen-Smith a wildlife educationist in Damaraland. They all in one way or another assisted us promoting a "conservation lodge in the Waterberg that we dreamed would one day become a conservation center for wildlife. IN RSA. We funded an anti-poaching investigation through soliciting six 12" x 16' paintings by my friend, a famous Wildlife Artist, the late Keith Joubert. We were informed this investigation led to the arrest of poachers in possession of seventy-three Rhino horns and a few hundred tusks.
After this exhilarating start, we ground to a halt, when Sikelele's funders took fright after the announcement of the pending release of Nelson Mandela and his incumbent government. When Sikelele Game Lodge closed, we returned to work as estate agents, became fathers, while suffocating in urban life, the dreams evaporated. Wayne's death made me wonder what happened to the dreams.
I befriended Wayne in his early twenties. He was everything a conservation activist should be: intelligent, witty, entertaining, knowledgeable and passionate about wildlife. Wayne co-founded PAMS which is a leading wildlife organisation dedicated to protection of wildlife in the Ruvuma Conservation Area of Tanzania. PAMS reports NTSCIU arrested more than 2,000 poachers and traffickers since 2012 — had helped halve poaching rates in Tanzania, but still Tanzania's elephant population dropped 30% between 2007-2012. PAMS was instrumental in that success. Following the arrest of of “Queen of Ivory” Yang Feng Glan, Wayne was shot dead in a taxi on his way from Daar es Salaam Airport to his hotel. No robbery was evident. The Police are investigating.
Wayne's news caused me to reflect on conservation efforts over the last thirty years. The fact is very little was achieved. While many heroic battles were fought, we are losing the war against poaching. While each of the above legends have made massive contributions to conservation, the growing lawlessness makes it necessary to find more money and supporters. The truth is that if we do no get the World's poipulation under control and reverse its grwoth as China has, conservation gains are temporary. The only way to conserve is to teach mankind to breed less, use less land and therefore makle it abundant and available for animals you to live on.
If you're interested in contributing time or money or both for conservation causes kindly enlist in the contact form provided. Tell us a bit about yourself by filling in the questionnaire. I intend writing to my friends to ask what support they could do with. It doesn't have to be about how much money you could donate. It might be as simple as offering accommodation when they are in town, sourcing spares for vehicles, sending customers to their lodges, becoming writers or columnists on Facebook, correspondents with government, liaison with press, The ideas will flow when we get the information of who is out there and what they can do. I have provided a database in this website which I am going to offer to conservation organisations to look for helpers' suggested services. Fund raising will start will start direct to charities once we have identified the charities you the people want to support.