Episode 17 – 31 August A recap of favorite news bits!

You might have heard about this delightful little story but I had to just share it with you! Die Burger reported that Simon Kruger wandered away from a family picnic at a Conservation Park, near Adelaide, Australia one Saturday lunchtime. A search involving 40 people and two rescue helicopters was then launched, and continued through the night. Simon was wearing only a fleecy and track-suit pants. But luckily he was spotted by a helicopter nearly 24 hours later, and winched back to safety. When he was rescued, Simon told his father: “Dad, I’m okay. I slept under a tree and there were kangaroos.”  His father, Etienne Kruger, told Australia’s 7 News that Simon was picking flowers for his mother when the kangaroo approached him. “A kangaroo came closer to him and ate the flowers he’d picked for his Mom from him, and the kangaroo fell asleep next to him. I think God sent a kangaroo to keep him warm.” Simon’s mother, Linda Kruger, said she believes it’s a miracle. “When I smell his jacket, it’s kangaroo – bush and kangaroo,” she said.

Just goes to show that the bond between human and animal is sometimes more significant than meets the eye!

 

“Guide confronting the Elephant” youtube video

The video of the “Guide confronting the Elephant” really hit a chord with me about. When I read about this, I was completely taken aback and couldn’t believe that some people have so little respect for animals, and in this case a wild animal! The video shows a man charging an elephant in the Kruger National Park, and what makes it worse is that he is game guide – sworn to uphold a specific ethical code.  The footage shows the man, who looks drunk, confronting the wild elephant as he is egged on by his friends. The foreign press got hold of the story and it went viral which is not so good for our South African tourism industry especially as there have already been elephant attacks in Kruger this  year. You might remember, in April, an elephant overturned and crushed a car carrying two tourists

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, who suffered serious fractures. Kruger takes elephant interactions very seriously and educates tourists about how to behave in their presence… For example – Give elephants plenty of space; do not approach or get too close to their young and, if driving, wait for the elephant to move.   It was therefore doubly disturbing to learn that it was a “professional” responsible for this behaviour!

It’s always heartbreaking when a few individuals sully the reputaion of an entire industry. I’m sure you agree that we have some of the most knowledgeable and passionate game rangers in the whole world. FGASA, the Field Guide Association of South Africa came out strongly against the behaviour, condeming the act and disassociating themselves with everyone who took part in the incident.   I’m glad FGASA is taking such a hard line – I’m a paid up member trying desperately to get my qualification – and I want it to mean something beyond pure academic knowledge when I graduate. As they said in their statement, National Parks did not always enjoy the status they currently have, and it was exactly due to the risk of such incidents that conservation authorities of the past were very hesitant to encourage tourism in these areas. Let’s hope this incident serves as a reminder to us all that it’s a privilege to spend time with wild animals and that rules and regulations have been put in place for their safety… AND ours.

 

Fracking in the Karoo

And now I get the chance to boast about a friend of mine! Environmental campaigner Jonathan Deal was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for his work in the fight against fracking in the Karoo. Some of you may remember that I covered the “Fracking” story in 50|50 last season. Fracking is a technique they use to extract natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. With an individual cash prize of $150 000 (close on R1.4m), it is the largest award for grassroots environmental activism in the world. So it’s quote a prize to win!