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Messages of Hope


Africa Geographic Editorial

Friday, 13 May 2016

The talented Lori Robinson realises that it is easy to feel saddened by the state of the wild today, and that’s why she has compiled a book for everyone who cares about wildlife and the wilderness – a book that will inspire anyone who reads it never to give up hope. This is a book about messages of hope.

However, Saving the Wild: Inspiration from 50 Leading Conservationists is much more than a compilation of messages from influencers in the world of conservation. It’s instead a tribute to the human spirit and the power of determination to help species other than ourselves.

This gallery is an insight into the stoic mindset of 10 of these conservation heroes and how they manage to persevere in their calling. So much good is being done on our continent, and so many people are pulling out all the stops to ensure that there is always hope. And we hope these excerpts from a small selection of messages in the book will encourage you to do good too.

You can find out more about Lori on the last page of this gallery, and if these excerpts strike a chord, you can buy the book (link below), so that you always have 50 motivational messages to hand when you need a boost.

In the words of Jane Goodall: “Perhaps you feel depressed as you think about the state of our planet today. If so, buy this book and be inspired by the words of 50 conservationists working to make this a better world.”

Daphne Sheldrick with Wendie the elephant © The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Daphne Sheldrick – Founder of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Kenya
Life is never a bed of roses. By involving oneself in the natural world, one understands that the other beings that share our planet home have to cope with far worse traumas and yet find the courage to turn the page and focus on the living.

The elephants, in particular, have given me the strength to emulate them in this way. My work always has highs and lows, but one simply has to cope and accept the rough with the smooth!

There is an enormous benefit for those who study and love the natural world and its wild inhabitants, irrespective of species. It gives one inspiration. One is never bored, lonely, or living in isolation, and there are lessons to learn from nature that stand you in good stead. It takes sincere empathy, compassion, understanding, and, above all, passion and perseverance.

Messages of Hope

Dr Laurie Marker with two of CCF’s rescued cheetahs © Eli Walker, Cheetah Conservation Fund

Dr Laurie Marker – Founder and executive director of Cheetah Conservation Fund, Namibia
I first came to Namibia in 1977, and this was when I learned that livestock farmers considered cheetahs vermin. They were killing cheetahs by the hundreds each year… You couldn’t find more negative attitudes in some of them, but I listened because I knew in their minds they had valid reasons to shoot cheetahs. I didn’t want to judge. I wanted to try and understand so that we could work together towards a balanced future. I guess it was all about determination. I don’t allow any negativity to stop the course of my work. I can’t allow anything to affect my inspiration because the cheetah doesn’t have time.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert with the lions they love © Mike Meyers

Beverly and Dereck Joubert – Co-founders of Great Plains Foundation, Botswana
Discovering great individual characters, like the little leopard that we followed for over five years for our wildlife film Eye of the Leopard, certainly inspires us to speak out and be their voices, and it keeps us focused on the reasons why we need to protect their wilderness. If we can tell their incredible stories intimately and personally, we know they will be given a chance. These special characters also often become the best ambassadors for their species, as they touch people worldwide and hopefully make them care and want to help protect these amazing creatures…

… Every sacrifice can be seen as a gain; it’s just about always seeing the positive in whatever life hands you and doing the best you can with it to achieve all that you can be for yourself and the world around you.

Messages of Hope

A young Jane Goodall with a cheeky chimp © The Jane Goodall Institute/Hugo van Lawick

Dr Jane Goodall – Founder of The Jane Goodall Institute
I still have hope. It is a hope that relies on conservationists, environmentalists, and humanists being able to wake up the great general public. So many people do nothing and become apathetic because they feel helpless and hopeless. Yet billions of small ethical choices made each day will move us toward a more sustainable lifestyle and help heal the planet.

The consequences of our small choices matter: what we buy, eat, and wear; how and where these things were made, whether it involved animal cruelty, slave labour, or the wasteful use of fossil fuel. Most importantly, do we NEED it? Gandhi said so wisely that the planet can produce enough for human need, but not for human greed. It is essential that each one of us takes action and does our bit to make this a better world.

Tom Mangelsen with the flamingoes of Lake Bogoria, Kenya © Sue Cedarholm

Tom Mangelsen – Nature photographer and founder of Images of Nature Gallery, USA
Jane Goodall is the person who inspires me the most. She has an infectious drive; Jane simply does not allow me to get discouraged… “We CAN’T give up, Tom.”

And it is with Jane’s words in my heart I go out into the wildness, where the earth itself inspires me. Without wildness, I am incomplete; I flounder in a world where I cannot connect to the wilderness and those who live harmoniously on its landscapes. My business has been built upon my ability to capture the images of nature with which I can share nature’s beauty; yet for me, getting another photograph of a bear in Grand Teton National Park is not what takes me there… it is the communion of being in the presence of the bear that feeds my soul.

Messages of Hope

Grace Ge Gabriel in Amboseli National Park © Sabrina Zhang, International Fund for Animal Welfare

Grace Ge Gabriel – regional director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Asia
The measurable impacts of our comprehensive approach to reducing wildlife trade in China by influencing both market supply and consumer demand inspire me.

I am constantly inspired by the behavioural changes that happen at every level in society. These actions, big or small, reaffirm my determination to stigmatise wildlife trade. To save wildlife species, we have to make the consumption of their parts and products socially unacceptable.

Messages of Hope

Dr Meg Lowman in Ethiopia © Dr Meg Lowman

Dr Meg Lowman – Chief of Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences, USA
I get my inspiration from two things: 1) As a mom, it means a lot to me if I can leave the planet a better place for my children, and 2) as a scientist who devotes much of her time to emerging cultures, such as India and Ethiopia, I feel a true sense of passion to serve as a role model, and inspiration for all the women in those countries, who represent 51 percent of our global IQ and yet have relatively few opportunities unless we empower them.

Personally, I live by the mantra that was expressed in the last two sentences of my book, Life in the Treetops: “One of the most meaningful insights that I have acquired along my life’s journey is that it takes the same amount of energy to complain as it does to exclaim — but the results are incredibly different. Learning to exclaim instead of complaining has been my most valuable lesson.”

Messages of Hope

Claudine André with a baby bonobo at the Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary in the Congo © Lola ya Bonobo

Claudine Andre – Founder and director of Lola ya Bonobo, Congo
Bonobo orphans found their way to me. I wanted a paradise for them, somewhere they could always see the sky. And so I created Lola ya Bonobo. This is what keeps me going in the end. This animal is so fragile but so fascinating. I keep hope alive by always trying to do more, to do better.

Iain Douglas-Hamilton hangs out with the elephants © Nick Nichols

Iain Douglas-Hamilton – Founder of Save the Elephants, Kenya
Whenever I feel down, I go and hang out with the elephants in Samburu, who are very used to me and allow me into their world to watch as a silent observer. I see the young mothers who have grown up from childhood, and I get my elephant fix for a few hours. This re-invigorates me to face and combat the awful realities of the elephants’ situation in Africa today…

…Various collaborations of concerned individuals, non-governmental organisations, institutions and governments playing such a significant role in demand reduction gives me joy and hope that we are all working together to ensure the survival of elephants.

Messages of Hope

Paul Watson out at sea © Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Paul Watson – Co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation and founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, France
I believe that the earth will protect itself from us because no species can survive outside the boundaries of the laws of diversity, interdependence, and finite resources. I aspire to do what I can to help mitigate the consequences for other species and ourselves…

… I believe in the power of individual will, and I believe that a small group of people can change the world by harnessing their imagination and passion and their skills of courage, determination and patience.

Messages of Hope

Saving Wild: Inspiration from 50 Leading Conservationists

Lori Robinson holds environmental studies, biology and psychology degrees, and has a life-long passion for wildlife and wild places. She has spent time with the indigenous bushmen of the Kalahari Desert and the Maasai and Samburu of Kenya.

From 2004-2010, she worked for The Jane Goodall Institute as their Africa Adventures Specialist and continues to design and sometimes lead safaris for clients to East and Southern Africa. She writes about conservation for various blogs, magazines, and her website –, and she is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers.

She currently lives alongside coyote, deer, rabbits, and bear in a small adobe home in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Saving Wild: Inspiration from 50 Leading Conservationists is her second book, which you can buy here or order from your favourite bookstore.

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