Last Monday the Journeys by Design team travelled up to the houses of parliament ready to watch the debate on the UK ivory trade. Yes, there is still a legal ivory trade in the UK. If it’s news to you, you’re not alone.
Welcome to Simon's next diary installment of his recent Tanzania trip.
Today, in order to get to the gate that would take us down to the Ngorongoro Crater floor for exactly 6am, which is when it opens, we were up at 5am. When coupled with the free-flowing whisky the night before at Entamanu and an exceptionally comfortable bed, this proved challenging.
Welcome to Simon's next diary installment of his recent trip to Tanzania.
After leaving Gibb's Farm, we continued through stunning scenery until we made it to the crater. Famous for its captivating views and vast plains and home to huge herds of wild game, I've never actually heard anyone talk about the sizeable forest leading up to the rim from the south eastern side. I wondered how many people have explored these parts: even among popular travel spots like this, there are still so many pockets of wilderness untouched by mainstream tourism.
I’ve just got back from a trip that included hosting deputy editor of the Financial Times Jane Owen on a ‘whistle stop tour’ around the likes of northern Kenya’s Il Ngwesi and Borana Wildlife Conservancies. The purpose of the trip was to help articulate, publicise and curry interest in the conservation models that Wild Philanthropy was set up to support.
You may remember us introducing a leucistic giraffe earlier on this year. If not a brief recap: leucism is a condition where a partial lack of pimentation in an animal causes white skin, fur, hair, scales or feathers. In July Tarangire National Park welcomed the birth of a giraffe, later named Omo after a popular washing brand, whose hair was all but completely white in colour.
I met with Daniel Turner, Animal Welfare Director for Born Free in Europe. He has a place in Kemptown, by the sea. We’re lucky to have people from FFI, Born Free, Conservation Capital, ITAD and some other big players in the conservation world living in the same city as us.
I’m doing a lot of hot-off-the-press pointing at the moment - the Hazda, Tanzania’s Maasai Steppes, the mixed land approaches of the likes of the Northern Rangelands Trust – but there’s a lot going on, especially in terms of conservation, as Sophy Roberts points out in The Wild Philanthropists, published in this month’s Robb Report.
Forgive me. I know we bang the Borana drum almost as often as we do the likes of Omo Valley or the Hadza, but I cut my manager teeth here, know the conservancy’s founders well, and believe its mixed land use conservation model the answer to Africa’s threatened wildernesses.
On my recent trip to Tanzania, I had a stark reminder of the close proximity in which humans live with wildlife and the potential affects this can have on the lives they lead, when we spotted a leopard heading out of a settlement and into the forest opposite. The main highway that separates Manyara National Park from the neighbouring town showcases an abrupt juxtaposition between human development alongside wilderness. Such a quick sighting and the leopard was gone.