We've all been glued to our screens watching David Attenborough's latest documentary. Daniela Pontis, Product Manager for Africa and our very own Africa expert talks about it in more detail:
Episode Six - The Future
It was an emotional David Attenborough talking to us in the last episode of the superb BBC Africa series. His message was very clear and urgent: wildlife is facing unprecedented challenges and if we don’t act quickly, the wonderful creatures filmed in the series will disappear from our planet.
Sir David quoted some shocking figures to make us realise how pressing the situation has become:
• Wildlife in Africa has had to face more change in the last 15 years than in the previous 2 million years, as the continent’s human population grows at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the world.
• One rhino is killed by poachers in Africa every day despite some of them being watched over day and night, and their horns can be sold for as much as $65,000 a kilo.
• The Gelada Baboons in the Ethiopian highlands are running out of space, as the temperature of the continent keeps rising, pushing them into an ever decreasing habitat at the top of the Simien Mountains.
• The second biggest rainforest in the world, in the Congo, where some of the most spectacular images of the series were shot, is in serious danger as 50% of it has been allocated for logging.
Unfortunately the list goes on. Is there hope? Some success stories prove that conservation can still make an enormous difference and human beings and wildlife can happily co-exist and avoid conflict. A Masai warrior is a living example of what modern conservation is about as he decides to use his remarkable tracking skills to become a lions’ guardian rather than its hunter.
The number of mountain gorillas, which was plummeting at an alarming rate only a few years ago, is now increasing, thanks largely to conservation efforts supported by tourism.
In Mozambique, the Gorongosa National Park miraculously escaped a 30 year long civil war and it can now become the habitat for many endangered animals that are being re-introduced here.
Saving ecosystems is the key to conservation and success stories tell us that, although there is a lot of work to be done, there is reason to believe we can still make a difference.
None of us can ignore David Attenborough’s emotional plea to conserve Africa’s amazing wildlife for future generations. Responsible tourism and conservation are core values for us here at Explore and we always ensure our tours are run in a careful and sustainable way. When we visit the wonderful ecosystems and wildlife all around the world, not least in Africa, we take care to leave something behind for the local communities and for conservation.
We support a number of wildlife conservation projects and have been a long-term supporter of Born Free, whose policies on animal welfare have been at the heart of our responsible travel guidelines:
If you missed any of the episodes, you can still watch them on BBC iPlayer.
Read Daniela's articles:
Episode 1 - The Immense Kalahari
Episode 2 - East Africa
Episode 3 - Congo
Episode 4 - The Cape
Episode 5 - Sahara