“I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.” 
Aldo Leopold, The Green Lagoons (1948)

Growing up in northwest Rhodesia, and then working as a young man in formal conservation and the safari industry around Southern Africa, I have been fortunate in that I had wild country in which to be young, and through which to freely roam. It was a youth full of experiences that instilled in me a lifelong desire to help conserve this Planet’s natural environment and, in particular, it’s wildlife and wild places.

Since then, I have been privileged to live and work in some of the most magnificent wild places of Southern Africa, and to know the wonder of sharing those places with the awe-inspiring wild creatures that inhabit them; large and small. I have also been privileged to share that life with some extraordinary people; friends, colleagues and “others” - many of whom should probably also fall into the “awe-inspiring wild creatures” category!

To my dismay, the aim of conserving wilderness and wildlife, and integrating that aim with rural economic development, which I, and many of my fellow African conservationists, strive for, has, obviously, and with some equally obvious exceptions, been notably less successful than we hoped for.

Given the increasing rate of extinctions and ecosystem destruction caused, directly and indirectly, by the burgeoning human population and its even faster growing materialism, along with endemic greed, corruption and criminality; the question is whether we will be able to ensure that the children of today will, as I did, have wild country, filled with wildlife, in which to be young and through which to wander, in awe of Nature - the Nature that gives them life and sustains them? If they do not, what paupers they will be; their very survival threatened by the assault on Nature that our species’ brief visitation upon Her realm has initiated.

During the past few years I have voiced my thoughts on a variety of conservation, rural development and safari tourism issues, and documented some of my observations made during travels through the Southern African countries. I have even had the temerity to put forward a few suggestions on the resolution of some of the challenges. Those essays and narratives were a reflection my ever growing concern for the natural environment of Africa and for Her people, who need it to survive and prosper.

I am very aware that I am no longer in the bloom of youth, nor am I currently hands-on in the field. However, I shall continue to attempt to add positively to the environmental and wildlife conservation debates and efforts in the field; to foster communication, collaboration and cooperation between Conservation Stakeholders; to promote the coordination of their efforts, and to help expedite the application of financial, material and intellectual resources to those efforts. I hope that anyone who happens to read this, will do likewise.

David Peddie
(Itinerant Conservationist and Rainbow Chaser)
October 2017 

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.” 
Aldo Leopold (1948)


Sketches by Lin Barrie - Zimbabwean wildlife artist and conservationist
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Curriculum Vitae                                                   Conservation    Community    Commerce    Culture                                      © David Peddie 2017