Pic by Stew Nolan
World Ranger Day on Wednesday 31st July is recognised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Patron of the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) and world renowned conservationist Dr. Ian Player has recognised the crucial role that rangers play in the world today:
“The late Nick Steele who was a game ranger in the iMfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserves and ultimately became the director of the Department of Nature Conservation KwaZulu, once made a public statement. He said, ‘Wildlife conservation is the most noble cause in the world today’. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. All over the world game rangers, both men and women of all nationalities are the thin green line protecting wild areas on our planet. Many have been killed and others wounded this year doing their duty. The national parks, game reserves and natural areas are a lifeline for the sanity of our species. Let us all honour these wonderful men and women who daily put their lives at risk.”
“May the Roar of the African Lion be heard by the Children of our Children’s Children and Forever” – Game Rangers Association of Africa
Vet, Dr William Fowlds and rhino activist, Julia Murray
Thandi, the rhino that was poached at Kariega Game Reserve in March 2012, received a skin graft procedure earlier this week, attended by 12 year old Julia Murray. Julia is a rhino activist who has been raising awareness about rhino poaching in Hong Kong and beyond in the Asian region. She has also raised R90 000 for rhino conservation – a great example of a young person building on the example set by a previous generation of committed eco-warriors. Kudos to Dr Fowlds, Julia, and the other members of the team and here’s hoping that Thandi the rhino can hereafter lead a peaceful and undisturbed life!
Is this the forerunner of an ecumenopolis?
With the recent earthquakes in New Zealand and China I am reminded of the belief of Dr Ian Player (the renowned conservationist and thought-leader who wrote the Foreword for my book) that the planet would retaliate in response to humankind’s disruption of natural systems and decimation of species.
I must confess that at the time we had this conversation I thought that it was somewhat of an anthropomorphic worldview as it attributed human characteristics of retribution and revenge to the planet. A decade-and-a-half later I concede that Dr Player could have a point!
With the anthroposising of the planet and our relentless march towards an ecumenopolis (a gargantuan city that stretches from north to south, east to west covering the Earth’s surface) will we, in our lifetime, witness the end of the metaphorical “Long Summer”, a period of planetary equilibrium that has enabled our species, homo sapiens sapiens, to prosper to the point of overproliferation? Certainly it seems that things are speeding up which, although it confirms what I felt and wrote about in “Miracles of Hope” over two decades ago, is nevertheless disquieting to say the least. We are certainly living in interesting times!!
“If we give our very best to all the children of today, and if we pass on our planet in the fullness of her beauty and natural richness, we will be serving the children of the future”.
Senegalese conservationist, Baba Dioum, has also said, “In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught”.