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The ground-hornbill and the unfortunate hare. © William Walldén – 2018 Photographer of the Year entrant. 2022 entries open on 1 February

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Gin trap, anyone?

WHAT TO DO when an online retailer you regularly utilise sells equipment to indiscriminately kill wild animals – and ignores requests to remove said product? Close your account. I did.

South Africa’s Takealot offers GIN TRAPS to Joe Public. Yes, those barbaric devices that maim and kill. Often the victim is in such agony that it chews off the trapped limb while bleeding out. Imagine stumbling upon this device while browsing the Takealot site for electronic devices, your favourite fudge and dog nail clippers.

After I was alerted to this product on Takealot, I spent more than a day trying to get beyond the vacuous call-centre minions (the head office number provided by them rings without reply) and wading through cut-and-paste evasive PR speak from their social media zombies. No luck. So I CLOSED our personal and Africa Geographic accounts. Note: Subsequent to the publishing of this Comment, Takealot delisted this product and offered an apology.

From a purely economic standpoint, they need to sell many gin traps to make up for the lost revenue from us. More importantly, what is quite clear to me is that brand Takealot has no MORAL compass.

Thanks to my network for the heads-up on social media. If enough of us go beyond frothing and posturing on social media, we can effect change. It’s up to us to make a difference – one brick at a time.

Keep the passion

Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic


From our Scientific Editor

For our first story this week, dive into the green-hued magic of West Africa’s undiscovered paradise islands: São Tomé and Príncipe. Here forests filled with Galápagos-like evolutionary wonders tumble down mountains to meet the white sandy beaches below, and jungles reclaim abandoned plantations. The mixed bag of ecological marvels, delightfully decrepit towns, captivating history and epicurean indulgences create a sensory extravaganza that defines the São Tomé and Príncipe experience.

Next is the tale of a new and inventive way to bridge the human empathy gaps that exacerbate conflict and tear lives, tribes and countries apart. Read our second story below to learn more about how one company uses VR technology to immerse hostile tribal rivals in their antagonist’s worlds – hopefully bringing some semblance of peace along the way.

And finally, have you checked out our club forum recently? Have a look at this fascinating discussion posted by one of our club members on photographing local people and the dichotomy between the lives of those he has encountered on his travels.

 

Story 1
https://africageographic.com/stories/sao-tome-principe-africas-undiscovered-paradise/
ISLAND GETAWAYS
São Tomé and Príncipe – two islands off the west coast of Africa – brim with ecological marvels, captivating history, and welcoming people

Story 2
https://africageographic.com/stories/meet-the-soldier-a-vr-solution-for-peace/
VR AFRICA
‘Meet the Soldier’ – a virtual reality film project helping warring tribes in rural Africa find peace

 


Travel desk TRAVEL DESK UPDATES: 

• Hirola in the bag! Our maverick safari director Christian Boix is on safari in Kenya with club member Roger Whittle. Tsavo yielded an absolute gem of a sighting – the world’s most endangered antelope. Check out Christian’s photos and comments on this Facebook post.

• Our most spectacular photographer-guided safari is back! New 2023 dates and prices are available for this cracker of an adventure in the Maasai Mara.

• This charming video I AM FROM PRÍNCIPE will tug at your heartstrings and get you thinking about these West African islands for your detox getaway …

 


DID YOU KNOW: BABY HEDGEHOGS are called hoglets. Their quills are covered by a thin layer of fluid-filled skin to protect their mother during birth, but these spikes will generally emerge within a few hours


WATCH: A baby rhino’s story of courage and determination. “Coming Home: The Mpilo and Makhosi Story” – trailer (1:45)

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We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of writers, editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

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