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Sensational snapshots + Madagascar’s vanishing biodiversity
I recently played a minor role in an interesting Facebook exchange that is worth highlighting. It started with the operations manager of a large community-owned Big 5 game reserve posting a photo of a black rhino in the reserve and celebrating her safe existence thanks to ‘24/7 by state-of-the-art surveillance and hyper-alert security’.
Predictably, one person, a freelance safari guide, soon chirped “You really think it’s clever to advertise rhinos while nearby they’re slaughtered daily?”
To which the reserve manager replied:
“Sigh. Do we really, really have to go over this again? As before: Poachers aren’t trawling my social media looking for rhinos. Poachers already know that we have rhinos. It’s no secret. We are a legitimate Big 5 game reserve. We advertise this. Our commercial survival, and the conservation of rhinos, depends on us advertising and marketing our status to paying guests who want to see rhinos in the wild. These guests who want to see rhinos are the ones paying for their conservation, who are supporting their very existence. We cannot keep this a secret. We have hundreds of employees and thousands of close neighbours among our local communities. All know that we have rhinos. Knowing this, we invest heavily in anti-poaching, surveillance, security, information etc. I hope that this informs your thinking as I’ve addressed this before with you.”
Hypocritically, the same freelance guide recently posted a video on Facebook of rhinos they saw in a local national park – with location disclosed. ‘Sigh’ indeed
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
TRAVEL DESK UPDATES:
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From our Scientific Editor – Jamie Paterson
When we were children, summer holidays stretched on forever, and a year felt like a lifetime. But the older we get, the faster time seems to move. There are some fascinating explanations for why this happens, but the point that I am trying to make is that we are already racing towards the end of April 2023. This, in turn, means that our Photographer of the Year competition is rapidly approaching its eagerly anticipated conclusion. Just two weeks left before we start selecting our top images!
So, for now, take the opportunity to soak in the wonder of this week’s gallery with childlike appreciation. Our most recent exhibition includes zebra violence, feline beauties, unusual encounters and some watchful eyes. Our entrants never fail to amaze us.
And then, did you know that humans have only inhabited Madagascar for around 1,500 years? Coincidentally (?), Madagascar experienced an extinction wave some 1,000 years ago that saw the loss of giant lemurs the size of gorillas and elephant birds larger than ostriches. They were artworks of evolution – gone forever. Tragically, much of Madagascar’s biodiversity has either been lost or is teetering on the brink. To drive home this message, scientists have found novel ways to quantify what it would take to recover. You can read more in our second story below.
Don’t miss our selection of Photographer of the Year 2023 entries for Week 10! Just one week left to enter for a chance to win your share of US$10,000 and a Botswana safari
It would take millions of years to reverse the damage done to Madagascar and its unique and precious biodiversity, according to a new study
Art for Conservation
In our forum this week: Moses Selebatso from Kalahari Research & Conservation (KRC) invites you to take part in an art auction. 100% of the proceeds from this sale will be donated to the KRC’s vital work protecting the remarkable, vast landscapes and wildlife of the Kgalagadi. If you would like to support their efforts, now’s your chance to get bidding!
WATCH: Wish you were here? A simply sublime escape to why we do this. Turn up the volume (00:39). Click here to watch
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