I concluded my second conservation trip to Africa in late 2017 with a long journey to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, southern Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through my countless travels to Africa I have always been keenly attuned to the prevalent issues plaguing the great continent. On this journey however it has become starkly apparent that many places in Africa are in real trouble. They are at the end of the game. Despite the herculean efforts launched by many people, governments and organizations we are failing to halt the receding line of habitat and to provide sustainable places for wildlife and communities to thrive. We must find a way to come together, despite our differences, in an effort to elicit real change. I believe that our power as conservationists, hunters, wildlife photographers, artists, hiking and outdoor recreational enthusiasts is only as great as our ability to unify our efforts.
On this trip I came across two freshly poached rhino carcasses. There is no way to describe the flood of emotions when you are staring into the cavernous carnage that is discharged with such a disregard for life. I have created many rhino paintings over the years but standing in the crime scene, littered with two slaughtered carcasses frozen in angst, one can only weep at this profound, senseless loss of life. This madness must stop and in order to reverse this slaughter we all must become engaged. It is not for someone else to do it, it is up to all of us.
We must act now to preserve Africa and its extraordinary biodiversity. In the face of every epic of tragedy emerge true heroes; men and women working tirelessly to claw back against the loss of habitat and loss of life, both human and animal alike. Each small victory contributes to the greater mission and each hero must be recognized and supported. Over the next few years I am going to bring you the stories of the people and places that are making a difference with wildlife, habitat and community development. We are working to strengthen these partnerships to assemble the full support needed to help empower real change. In the end we must secure a true protected home for wildlife to thrive. Wildlife doesn’t need to be saved, it only needs a safe place to live and they will save themselves. Please join me on this journey.