African wildlife is vanishing. The reasons are numerous and manifesting themselves as if they were choreographed to occur in unison. They include overpopulation of humans which requires more farmland which creates a rapid reduction in habitat; greed which feeds the rationale for poaching and allows markets for ivory and trophies to thrive; local tribal customs and cultures that were once noble and now are turning into impediments to adaptation to changing times; global warming which is already affecting habitats around the world and will eventually completely destroy the delicately balanced ecosystem that supports life in the cradle of civilization; and lack of empathy and weakness of leadership that seems to be rampant on the whole planet.
We are not experts on the incredibly complex issues that threaten the region and can’t speak to what solutions, if any, there are to alleviate the situation. We can only attempt to visually represent what we saw and how we felt about it. Words are inadequate to recreate what it feels like to be close to such magical creatures that exist in only one place in the world. There are many reasons for humanity to feel shame as the species who are the stewards of the planet. The disappearance of these animals and the experience of observing their demise, is perhaps the most visible example of that shame.
We are indeed the top of the food chain and we are eating all that is below us into extinction.
Penrhyn and Rod Cook
“Africa is mystic; it is wild; it is a sweltering inferno; it is a photographer’s paradise, a hunter’s Valhalla, an escapist’s Utopia. It is what you will, and it withstands all interpretations. It is the last vestige of a dead world or the cradle of a shiny new one.”
Beryl Markham: West with the Night