African wildlife conservation researcher and writer. Also a longtime Jimmy Buffett Parrothead!
The call of Africa began while growing up in 1980s America. It beckoned through photographs in National Geographic Magazine, trips to the zoo with my grandfather, and PBS programs like Nature with George Page and TV specials about South African musicians like Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Johnny Clegg.
It was in 2005 that I first journeyed there, visiting the Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa's Limpopo Province. I then spent some time in the Soweto township of Johannesburg in Gauteng. I'll never forget visiting the home of President Nelson Mandela, then sipping coffee while watching street musicians and passers-by outside on a warm, sunny South African Sunday morning. Soweto was where I discovered that my passion for Africa's wildlife was matched by a compassion for the African people; a love for their many cultures, languages, stories, and songs. It wasn't long afterward that I went on to earn my bachelor's in communications, followed by a master's in African Studies.
I've since traveled throughout much of East, Central, and Southern Africa (see travel page). I'm particularly fond of South Africa and Uganda, especially the rich bushveld in the Waterberg Biosphere near Vaalwater, the savannas of Queen Elizabeth National Park, and the misty, borassus-palmed deltas of the River Nile in Murchison Falls National Park.
Aside from African wildlife research, I'm a regular contributor to the National Geographic Society and Communications Specialist for the Uganda Carnivore Program, a small conservation outfit based in northern Queen Elizabeth National Park that works to protect lions, leopards, and hyenas.
The more I research African wildlife conservation, the more convinced I am that it needs serious reform. We must start by listening to African men and women who have been marginalized by conservation "altruists," many of which haven't exactly had a good track record of saving African animals over the years, in part because they thrive on crises for financial support, a brazen paradox if ever there was one.
Though some of my views on hot button issues have changed and evolved over the past decade, the one that hasn't is my belief that Africa's people are the key to safeguarding wildlife and their habitats. When the quality of human life increases and when African people can fully engage in effective wildlife management, then the continent's natural world will be better off in the long run.
For more, please visit my conservation message page. Also check out my writing page, click the file below to see my resume, and don't hesitate to write. Ngiyabonga! Webale! (Thanks!)
"First with the head, then with the heart."
- Bryce Courtenay