CEO NOTE: 14 May 2021
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I find myself confused and at odds with what I understood about the possible origins of Covid-19 after reading this well-constructed article. I am no scientist and cannot fully grasp the many layers of technical analysis, but I can follow an argument, and I do have a good bullsh1t radar. I never bought the conspiracy theories about the intentional release of a human-made virus, and I do/did favour the theory that this horrible pandemic originated in the wildlife markets of Wuhan, China via a natural zoonotic process. But now I realise that there is at least another potential causal theory on the table.
Was Covid-19 unleashed on us by human error – a mistake by scientists who have been mandated to engineer a virus that could potentially wipe out humanity (to protect us from that exact risk)? The ramifications of this option are chilling, to say the least. The author Nicholas Wade is a gifted science writer, but he is not an expert virologist, and what he is saying is being refuted in parts by expert virologists. But then the theory of a natural zoonotic virus from the Wuhan wildlife markets has also been refuted by certain scientists. At the very least it’s good to consider all possible explanations until we find the answers.
Whatever the truth, it’s unlikely that Africa’s wildlife industries (including tourism) will recover fully for several years – if not longer. What are the chances, do you think, that the powers that be will deflect some of the enormous financial resources that they spend daily on weapons, natural resource extraction and space travel into healing our home planet?
Your thoughts? Please read the link before commenting below (if you are reading this on our website) or in a private discussion with me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Editor-in-Chief
African safari….the idea conjures all sorts of images: Denys and Karen flying over the Mara in a Gypsy Moth; a lion roaring atop a rock as he surveys his singing, dancing prey at dawn; a gargantuan tusker framed by the snow-topped peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. It is to the last of these iconic imaginings that we turn our attention this week. In our first story below, you can stimulate your post-Covid wanderlust with the wonders of Amboseli National Park (and the greater Amboseli region).
Our second story below is good news. Amboseli, like most conservation areas in the world, is not safe. Some pillock decided that growing avocados there would be a fantastic idea. Yes…avocados. In a semi-arid region that attracts thousands of tourists intent on seeing the wilderness and supports thousands of local pastoralists. Well, the local Maasai herders (who live in relative peace with the Amboseli wildlife) and some conservationists decided that this avo farming malarky wouldn’t fly. They banded together, and, for now, the avo people must go and ply their trade elsewhere.
Our third story below is important. So many people on both sides of the trophy hunting debate spend their days yelling moth-eaten arguments at each other across an ideological chasm. While numerous human beings are allergic to actual science, those who seek real data will have a hard time finding it. Many of the arguments by both sides of the hunting war are usually not supported by hard data, often because the relevant research has not been completed.
Now you can relax and enjoy the start of your weekend with a delightful view of Africa at her most spectacular in this week’s Photographer of the Year selection (enter here) there are only two weeks to go. I would suggest you enjoy it with a calming piece of music, a late lunch and the rest of the afternoon off.
While you are wondering what to do with the afternoon I’ve granted you, check out our video of the week. It’s a Google Earth timelapse from 1984 until now of anywhere on earth you care to look – see how we are changing our home.
Amboseli National Park, nestled in the shadow of Kilimanjaro, is a land of exquisite contrasts, iconic scenery and extraordinary biodiversity
Community stops avocado farm in the Amboseli region – Africa Geographic
Avocado farm in Kenya’s Amboseli region loses license after local Maasai people and conservationists protest
TROPHY HUNTING DATA
Massive meta-analysis on recreational hunting fails to find answers to the crucial questions of the polarising hunting debate
Week eighteen of our 2021 Photographer of the Year – Two weeks to go before entries close!
WATCH: Google has enabled a timelapse function on Google Earth which allows you to see how the earth’s landscapes have changed since 1984 – watch the video and then use Google Earth to check out anywhere on the globe that interests you (2:25)
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