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It’s early morning as I write this message to you from the stoop (verandah) of our home. The hairy rock fig tree 20 meters away bustles with squabbling black-headed orioles, acacia pied and black-collared barbets, grey hornbills, tree squirrels and a pair of spectacular green pigeons – all cashing in on the second fig crop of the year. The huge knobthorn tree above me has a crown of white flowers, and the scent wafts down to mingle with the strong aroma of my black coffee. Life is good!
Each day I am thankful for nature’s wonders, her mysteries and her exuberance. Thanks so much for joining our team as we indulge our passion for this magnificent continent.
Keep the passion
Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic
From our Scientific Editor
When I was a little girl, the highlight of my year was our annual Kruger trip – rising in the dark and being allowed a small cup of condensed milk coffee (in hindsight, my parents were very brave). We would drive through the gates as the sun appeared over the horizon, and I would stick my head out of the window, ignore the accompanying squawks about letting the cold air in and revel in the smell of the early morning bushveld and the excitement of the unfolding day.
I miss that unadulterated enjoyment of the wild, that barefoot, innocent faith in the permanence of our natural world and her wonders. Bombarded as we are by bad news, it is so easy to find oneself overwhelmed by fear and sadness on behalf of our planet. Scientists have even come up with a name for this pervasive melancholy: “ecological grief“.
This is why it is so important to keep celebrating the good news, the success stories and those who fight to protect the majesty of the continent’s wild spaces and creatures. We can still embrace our childlike hope while tempering it with adult wisdom. Our first story is just that: a celebration of Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Republic of Congo, a patch of pristine Central African habitat safeguarding astonishing biodiversity.
Our second story for the week takes an in-depth look at the state of leopard conservation in South Africa, including the need for a more transparent strategy at government level, as well as more conservation-applicable research. It is time for us to face the fact that these secretive spotted cats are not simply in hiding – they too are in decline.
Finally, join me and others in the club for a discussion about the naming of wild animals – the good, the bad, and the occasionally bizarre. See the discussion link below.
Odzala-Kokoua in Congo is one of Africa’s hidden gems – for the safari connoisseur
LEOPARDS – WHAT NOW?
Leopard conservation in South Africa requires a metapopulation strategy and a sustained, transparent commitment from government – expert opinion
HAVE YOUR SAY
Should we be naming wild animals? Join the conversation – club members only.
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