“I had no idea that was happening…”
This is a frequent comment after our presentation “Stories from Africa”. From the movies, most nature specials on TV, and travel brochures Africa still appears as this untouched jungle where lions, zebra, rhino and cheetahs roam free and unencumbered. Nothing could be further from the truth.
With bush meat trade taking third place in illegal international trafficking (and worth millions of dollars); habitat loss due to farming and mining cutting off natural migration routes; and hunting taking its toll on packs, herds and prides the African wildlife and it’s people are more at risk than ever before.
Why the people? Well, unemployment among the young is 50% with only 1.5% ever getting to college. Sound hopeless? Yes, if there is no effective intervention.
Do we believe we at Nikela have all the answers? Of course not! However, we do have a very viable one. If you’re old enough to remember a huge campaign in the USA during the 7o’s from the Forestry Service… Woodsy the Owl. This simple owl was used to change the attitude and the behavior about littering. “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”
Education works. Interactive education that is! So just what if the wildlife saved the children and the children in turn saved the wildlife?
It can happen, it lies at the very heart of the Nikela mission.
You see there are jobs going begging in the conservation sciences and other wildlife friendly fields. So if we inspire students with hope and opportunity supported by scholarships, for those that excel, via experiences with their wildlife (after all it is Africa’s greatest treasure) the wildlife will save the kids from joblessness and despair and they then will save their wildlife. This is very simplistically put, Russ has it outlined and WESSA, UKZN and the schools in Umbali like what they’ve seen thus far.
Celebrate Wildlife may just be the beginning of a big change and you can get involved if you care to. We are simplifying the website so watch for upcoming changes in the next week.