Some time back, I was privileged to be the guest-speaker at an event in support of rhino conservation.
It was a great day for all who attended and we had a considerable amount of fun with a lucky-draw, lots of laughter and, of course, a captive audience for me to talk to.
I won’t bore you with all the details of my talk, but one segment caught my attention due to the reaction when I said …….
“Many of you have come here today in support of one of Africa’s most iconic animals, the rhino. It, along with the elephant, are what defines Africa in many people’s minds.
“It’s gratifying to see how many of you have brought your children along to enjoy the day’s events.
“But think on this.
“If we don’t do something, and soon, your children’s children will not be able to see these wonderful animals in their natural surroundings because they will all be gone.
“Your children will sit with their kids on their lap, looking at a picture book.
“They’ll point to a couple of photographs. ‘This is a rhino, and this is an elephant. I’m sorry I can’t show you the real thing. They are all gone now, because my parents did nothing when the bad men came.’
This is not the legacy we should leave behind.”
As I said these words, many heads nodded in agreement and a number of parents put their arms around their children as they took in the desperate truth of my words. There was a murmur of agreement, and many donations were subsequently made to Project Rhino, the organisation we were supporting on that particular day. I’d like to think that I had something to do with that.
Our African animals, all of them, are unique in the world. They are special. They are our heritage, a heritage that must be protected at all costs.
In my last blog I ranted on about apathy. It’s a killer. While we are all concerned about the carnage, the horrific deaths, the indescribable suffering and the lack of concern from the powers that be, we have the power and the resources to do something meaningful.
It doesn’t matter how small. Whether it is a few coins donated to one of the ranger support groups, the purchase of goods or books which help to provide a portion of the profits in support, or generous financial contributions to the organisations that work so tirelessly to protect our animals, everything you do will help.
Please don’t let Africa’s heritage die.
Please don’t deprive your children’s children of the wonder of seeing these animals in their natural surroundings.
Please don’t think that it will all ‘come right’ because other people are doing the work.
Please do something, however small it might be, to keep Africa alive.
There’s a reason we all live here. Don’t let that reason wither and die because you did nothing when the bad men came.