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There I was, slaving away WHEN the Whatsapp ping comes through: Debbie is walking a pangolin nearby – wanna go see? Grabs mobile, car keys and bolts out the door …
I spent the next hour trundling along behind the determined Lilly (and her human minder – respected wildlife vet Debbie English) as the pang sniffed out and devoured delicious ants in their thousands. At times her entire head was down a hole, eyes screwed tight in blissful rapture as she hoovered up the tasty morsels. I, on the other hand, spent much of the time bouncing around, swatting at the savages as they swarmed over me and attacked with vicious intent.
Lilly, twice poached and confiscated, is again undergoing rehabilitation and eventual reintroduction to the wild. Handling is kept to a minimum and according to strict protocols, and best left to experienced professionals. This is a time-consuming and expensive process. Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animal, and their worsening status is of massive concern. There is a steady procession of these precious creatures into the care of Debbie and the Provet team, as demand in the Far East drives poaching. To donate much-needed funds to help Lilly and her kind, please email ProVet.
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Scientific Editor
While taking a break from the formalin-infused aroma of the dissection hall earlier this week, I sat alone beneath a fever tree and watched a flock of tiny bronze manikins. (I am a veterinary student when not working for AG). My head had been reeling with what felt like a thousand different things and an encroaching sense of panic at my week ahead. Yet five minutes in the company of the tiny birds, so engrossed as they were with their seed search that they came less than a metre from my feet, was enough to bring balance to my world. Time spent with wild creatures, no matter how fleeting, is a powerful restorative.
From our Editor-in-Chief
I recently travelled to the Maasai Mara – my first international trip since Covid imprisoned us at home. Regulations are easing, but many remain hesitant to travel, especially to Africa. They are justifiably afraid of the virus but also cowed by idiotic fearmongers in the media and Afropessimists in general. In this forum post in our club I’ll tell you that if you’re thinking about travelling to Kenya, you should book now. The Kenyans have strict but seamless Covid protocols in place and travellers can feel as safe there as they can anywhere.
In our first story below, Sam Turley tackles the tricky ethics and potential pitfalls around human beings developing tactile relationships with wild animals. Sam takes us through three fascinating case studies.
Then, in our second story below, Dr Anna Spenceley summarises the devastating effects of the Covid pandemic on African tourism, conservation and local livelihoods. It’s not all doom and gloom, there are some inspiring options for sustainable recovery. (For club members only).
Chad in central Africa…not a country many people would associate with epic safaris. Zakouma National Park, run by the NGO African Parks, is helping to change that perception. See our third story below for an exciting deep dive into the adventure safari of a lifetime.
Crossing the human-wildlife barrier – is it ever okay? Three African examples involving a pangolin, a blesbok and a clan of hyenas
COVID TOURISM RECOVERY
COVID-19 has caused a systemic shock to African tourism with seismic repercussions for conservation and local livelihoods. Club members only
Zakouma National Park in Chad – a vibrant wilderness teeming with life – for the safari adventurer
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
• Travel revival now in full swing: Uganda Airlines is now flying from Dubai to Entebbe three times a week, and British Airways is flying from Heathrow to Nairobi four times a week. Virgin Atlantic will be reinstating twice-weekly flights from Heathrow to Cape Town in January
• The best special offer right now is proving to be very popular with our tribe! The crazy price is due to low tourism volumes. For African country residents and citizens only. Until 19 December 2021
7 days in luxury lodges in the Okavango Delta for R39,000 per person sharing
• Safari dreaming 🙂 If you are looking for the perfect add-on to your safari check out this marvellous video of Victoria Falls River Lodge. Join our private travel and conservation club to enjoy the best rates at this and other camps and lodges
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HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF AFRICA GEOGRAPHIC:
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- Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.