A World without Elephants or Rhino? What kind of a World would that be? My generation, those born in the 60’s, sheesh, time flies, have been privy to witnessing some of the greatest, and lowest, moments of human endeavour. We saw the jump from black and white to colour TV, we’ve seen a man on the moon, or was that a film set in a garage in Nevada? we’ve welcomed the digital age and technological advances thought impossible just a few years ago. We’ve also sadly seen the emergence of religious fanaticism, seen our world descend into the chaos of war and witnessed an onslaught in the despicable act of wildlife poaching the World over.
As a child I used to sit transfixed, still do, to the TV screens whenever something nature related was broadcast. Back then our family unit would sit together, watching. We were’t locked away in our own little spaces of the house with our own little screens flickering away, we didn’t have the internet or social media or any other platform to project a profile of what we thought the World wants to see us as instead of what we really are. The family would talk about the animals, love them or not we would sit watching, absorbing the information, the education. These shows would then be talking points between school friends over the following days, weeks and if it was a particularly impactful broadcast, then months. It was based on the fact that wildlife and the natural World played such an important role in our lives that many a youngster back then when asked what they aspired to become, work wise, in their lives, included in the regular answers of Policeman, Soldier, Stuntman (guilty), Astronaut or Fireman would also appear the positions of Vet, Zookeeper, Wildlife Explorer and Safari Guide. It’s not the same today.
Back then we would cover our school books with protective paper wrappers, these could be taken from magazines in the more lenient of subjects. Invariably with Geography, at least in my school, it wasn’t uncommon to see books covered with images of wild locations and wildlife species that seemed so ordinary, Elephants, Rhino, Lions, Apes and the odd Aye-Aye! Again in this day and age with such a shift in what seems to be the focus points for our youth I’m sure wildlife takes such a back seat, unless of course it is in the desire to own some form of exotic pet. How did this happen? It’s not a question of “Who is to blame”? as opposed to “What is to blame”?
Personally it’s my belief that this is down to a mixture of technology, especially in the realm of Video Gaming, of Social Media and of Smart devices. All of these ‘advances’ have allowed us to become self absorbed with ‘us’. A large focus of our modern society, sadly predominant amongst the younger generations, is the absolute burning need to be accepted, to be something we’re not, to be cool, to be a perceived as the polar opposite of what we generally tend to be. The last point of interest seems to be the wellbeing of the natural planet. The really young kids seem to ‘get it’ at least whilst they’re young. The hard part is retaining that interest once they get into the years of their development when they see all others around them with the gadgets, gizmos, status, clothes and public opinion that deems them as being cool. Our biggest challenge as parents, as a society, if we want to see these iconic species survive is to find ways to reintroduce and retain not just the beauty but more so the importance of these species in the grand scheme of things.
I may be dropping all current editing and work tasks to head out to Africa in the coming months. I simply can’t just stand around and do nothing in the midst of this current poaching crisis when I have a camera and the ability to tell a story. I outlined the possible undertaking in a recent blog entry where I would join a guy with a proven approach to anti-poaching training procedures for bodies of wildlife Rangers that request his help. It now seems that a drive to get the next training sessions planned is in full swing. If this is something you feel you can personally contribute to then please head over to the website of Chengeta Wildlife to see how your support can go a long way to helping the ongoing work they do. If nothing see it as a way of simply investing in the Wildlife species in the World we will pass on to our children. They, as we have had, deserve the right to be able to decide if they wish to see such iconic species in their natural environment, where they should always be…