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CEO note
The epitome of vast, desert isolation – an oryx seeks shade. Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia. © Hans Wagemaker

CEO NOTE: 26 February 2021

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I have a brief story to tell, and it goes some way to explaining why conservation is in such a mess these days.

Two talented, passionate people have taken up the cause of lion conservation and made a career of it. Neither lives in Africa. Both have recently featured regularly on international television and news media. BUT they occupy opposite ends of the acrimonious debates about the role of trophy hunting in wild lion conservation. And they regularly slag each other off on social media – often flinging out reams of information at their adoring followers.

We approached each to write a story for us, including providing FACTUAL evidence backing up their oft-repeated claims about the evils/benefits of trophy hunting of wild lions. Neither knew that we had approached the other. Both submitted their stories to us, but neither has responded to our fact-check questions, despite repeated requests going back many months.

And there you have it. While INFLUENCERS slug it out for dopamine-infused social media fame, Rome burns. It is what it is.

Keep the passion

CEO note



Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor-in-Chief

In the wake of Hukumuri’s death, lots of people are now interested in human-wildlife conflict (HWC). Many wanted to replace Romina Mathonsi’s livestock. The issue of compensation for livestock killed by wild predators is complicated. Some research shows it exacerbates HWC. Other research indicates precisely the opposite. I went to find out how or if compensation is given on the Greater Kruger National Park’s western borders by the national park, the private reserves, and the provincial governments. I also spoke to NGOs working in the HWC space. I doubt Romina Mathonsi (or anyone who has lost livestock) gives a flying hoot about the reams of research, conferences and committees deciding whether or not compensation is a good idea. She needs goats. Thornybush River Lodge, didn’t muck about. They bought two goats and delivered them quietly to her. So as the debate rages, at least Ms Mathonsi has some comfort. Find out more in our first story below.

Our second story below tackles the conservation effect of farming wild species and legalising trade in their parts for human consumption. Interestingly for me, apparently stigmatising wildlife consumption helps reduce demand.

The subject of our third story below, looks at the slightly taller, red-eared version of the domestic moggy, but, to paraphrase Basil Fawlty…cuddle that, and you’ll never play the guitar again.

Finally, the seventh week of glorious African celebration through your images in our Photographer of the Year, which carries a prize of 10 000 USD and a six-day safari to Khwai in Botswana. Here’s all you need to know about entering. We are looking for pictures that evoke emotion and tell an African story.



Story 1
Is there compensation when rural villagers lose livestock and crops to wildlife on the western border of Kruger NP? We ask questions and find out

Story 2
The African wildcat is one of Africa’s “Secret 7” – tough little cats are just as untamed and fierce as their iconic big cat cousins. Read more here

Story 3
Farming and legal trade of wildlife could increase demand for wildlife products and so be negative from a conservation perspective – research

Story 4
Week Seven of our 2021 Photographer of the Year

DID YOU KNOW: There is growing evidence that manta rays have complex social lives and communicate using their cephalic lobes (flaps that push zooplankton into their mouth while filter-feeding). Click here to read more.

WATCH: Epic camera-trap footage near Gabon’s Pongara National Park of chimpanzees​, leopards​, black-legged mongoose​, African civets​ and mandrills​. (0:53)


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I am a proud African and honoured to be CEO of Africa Geographic. My travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, elusive birds and real people with interesting stories. I live in Hoedspruit, next to the Kruger National Park, with my wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells. When not travelling or working I am usually on my mountain bike somewhere out there. I qualified as a chartered accountant but found my calling sharing Africa's incredibleness with you. My motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". Connect with me on LinkedIn

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