Written by: Annika Funke
We all know that in working towards sustainable wildlife conservation, the value of wildlife for communities and countries must be intrinsically recognised and made use of to its fullest potential.
To get people involved and participating out of their own heartfelt interests is, I believe, paramount to that process.
If our children stay hungry because wildlife are continuing to eat our harvest we will certainly not be able to protect animals. And we are becoming so overpopulated that in future, conflicts of this nature are naturally going to grow and not decrease. So there is a great need for practical solutions and communication within communities and countries to find solutions for conservation.
If we are able to understand that wildlife will bring wealth through tourism it is an easy way to understand the need for conservation and makes one more willing to participate in the battle for animals’ survival. Because we will get something out of it too – for ourselves and for our families.
But I believe there is a different and more important approach if we want to still have elephants roaming free for our children to see. I believe we must awaken love for wildlife; love and passion, and not only a system where wildlife represents a monetary value for a country and its tourism economy.
With the realities of this world that’s all true and important for a sustainable future concept of enabling people to grant their land to conservation. But we can do more than this. Because this is not where conservation from the heart starts. This is practical conservation only. And I think we need people who start to see animals for more than just their monetary value.
It is time to engage a selfless approach towards wildlife as well; where it is about caring for the animals themselves as living beings on this planet. To understand their right and purpose to be here and not just as a resource for us human beings to make use of, just because we are the most powerful roaming creature on this planet… I believe it is time to work on our selfish human nature when we approach wildlife and wildlife conservation.
I strongly believe that the real needed change in this world starts within the heart and not with selfish interest.
That’s why it is important to create the opportunity for great encounters and real memories with animals for our children from a young age, which will grow into real appreciation for what animals truly are: an amazing gift and enrichment to this planet – and not our property.
Visit the Kayamoja ArtsConnect Trust page to find out more about Annika’s work.