A Game Ranger's Perspective on Conservation in the Wild
Being a field guide or ‘game ranger’ as it is colloquially known, is not simply about showing our guests the plethora of animals we are so fortunate to see on a day-to-day basis, but also to educate them. With conservation on the forefront of our minds, we strive to show how fragile nature is and how dependent we are on the natural environment.
One of the endangered, and my favourite, species I am able to view on a regular basis is the African Wild Dog. The intelligence and incredible connection all the members of the pack have with one another make them extremely interesting to watch, and with fewer than 550 roaming in our wild areas in South Africa, it is a reminder to turn our focus to help conserve these beautiful animals.
The Southern Ground Hornbill is another species that I am able to see frequently, and with their large keratin casque’s on top of their heads (used to amplify their sound) they make for a very visually interesting bird to watch, but with one of the slowest reproduction rates within the bird kingdom there are only an estimated 1500 individuals left in South Africa. (Unfortunately we don't have a photo that we may use to show you this spectacular bird but definitely have a little google! )
Then of course, the ever sought after leopard. These slender, perfectly built animals are always worth the time searching for them, and while not endangered these cats are vulnerable with fewer than 5000 remaining in South Africa, and have vanished from at least two thirds of their historic range in Africa.
Being able to see and spend time with these endangered and vulnerable species is a reminder that I am able to experience things that most will only dream of during their lifetime, and that the conservation efforts to save these animals are of utmost importance. We as people need to help where we can, be that by educating or donating to the many wildlife conservations organisations that operate.
The world around us is extremely fragile, but can be resilient and beautiful when it is cared and nurtured for. Just as plants and animals can adapt and change to the different seasons, we need to adapt to the different ‘seasons’ during our lifetime, and make changes where we can. These changes could range from learning how to reduce the amount of waste we create, being mindful of which products we use and whether they are sustainably sourced. Simple changes like these can help many areas where animals are found, be it on land or in the sea.
We are all connected to nature, and our lives have the ability to influence it. Let us try and be as kind to the environment as we can, so that generations to come may be able to experience the wonder of the earth.
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