Nov 23

Circle of Life

Twenty years ago I was sat in England and somehow convinced myself that elephants were about to become extinct. That led eventually to me selling up, leaving my job, getting dumped by the then girlfriend and driving out of London, on my “Big Adventure”. This resulted in me eventually arriving, six months later, in Cape Town.

By the time, however, I arrived in Cameroon, by way of France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Niger and Nigeria I was already convinced that the elephant was not in fact anywhere near becoming extinct, but was actually doing rather well. There were some counties south of Cameroon where no doubt animal protection came second to the need for food. Zaire for example, as Congo was at that time, was amazing but there was nothing that didn’t find itself onto a plate.

Further south still, as I entered the Rift Valley via Uganda, Kenya and Tanzeria, it was clear that major steps were being taken to protect huge areas and the resident people and wildlife. Zambia at this time was a ravaged and damaged nation and yet Zimbabwe was still floating and looking pretty well organised.

Twenty years on and it is very depressing to see that the loss of our so called “protected wildlife” has again become a losing battle. Not exactly “The Circle of Life” we had hoped that all the environmental work would create. When you read about vets and respected local citizens being involved in the slaughter of rhino and other creatures for their horns, or skin, you wonder just what man will really need to do to this planet before he wakes up and realises that a great deal of these impacts are irreversible. Only this week I received a call from a well known man who was trying to sell four cheetah skins, “I have a licence,” he must have repeated a dozen times. Licence or not who would want these things anywhere near their house, office or children?

On a lighter note, it was quite funny to receive a complaint about an earlier article I wrote about free speech. The person thought I had no right to say certain things, I wonder if they can see the irony in that? To many, it would seem free speech and democracy means the right to say and believe anything you like, as long as it agrees with their view of the world!

On the home front, it has been a hectic and yet exciting time, we have in Connor a South African archery champ in our midst and all the other guys are enjoying their sport. Maddy and Oz have declared war on the windows of every shop in Cavendish and Century City, their flat noses can attest to their professional window shopping status. The cricket season also approaches, much to Jakes delight and Liam is combining his water polo and drumming, although the cymbals are getting a little rusty! That reminds me of the Irish Water Polo Team that had to pull out of the Olympics, their horses drowned.

Finally, how many times have you won the lottery or a prize this week? If the state of the economy can be judged by the number of crank emails we receive, then we must be near the bottom and due for a recovery. The only problem is that one day I am going to junk the real email telling me I have really won something, but then I suppose that is what these people play on? Until then I have the perfect solution, I am not playing in any lottery or competition, therefore all announcements that I have won must be fake!

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