Wildlife is under a death sentence everywhere. Those giraffes (and ostrich, look closely) I saw in Kenya in 1969, fifty years ago (!) are being snared by poachers. What for? For giraffe hair bracelets? To turn their skin into a carpet? Pointless. As a teen, I was fortunate enough to see the last of the wild. Isolated pockets still remain with Game wardens practically turned into a military force. But who knows how long they will last?
This is how giraffes were seen in 1879. (In Mammifères, Louis Viguier). 140 years ago. This is yet another of my books falling apart. Major restoration in the works. The engravings are priceless. Many would tear the book apart and sell each engraving for 20 Euros on the banks of the Seine.
1969, Nairobi National park.
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle…”
“The lion sleeps tonight”. Masaï Mara, 1968.
Hedgehog, 1969, at our house in Nairobi.
Yours truly, 1969. Hedgehogs are easy to “tame”. If you find one curled in your garden, pick it up gently with open palms so you don’t pinch yourself. Put it on the terrace or the lawn and wait quietly. Eventually they will uncurl. And wander about without fear. Mind the fleas though. Hedgehogs are plagued with them. (Pic already posted I think.)
Gnus, 1970, Nairobi Park. Unlike buffaloes, who are extremely aggressive, gnus are peaceful creatures.
1879. Waterbuck. I had a few “good” waterbucks somewhere. Couldn’t find them, so let’s have another giraffe:
Nairobi Park, 1970. This particular shot is one of my favourite. One of the first I took with a brand new Asahi Pentax I’d received for my birthday. Gone was the limited Kodak Instamatic. Welcome to the world of F-stop and zoom.
“Otters busy fishing”, 1879. See “Ring of bright water” for the magic of otters. Riou, the artist, (see signature on the left) did many an illustration for Jules Verne’s books in the 19th century.
Otters busy doing nothing. Nairobi Park, 1970.
Sorting through my Kenya files, I realise I don’t have “good” zebras. So let’s end on this one:
“A sunset in Serengeti”, by my father Cyril, c.1995. And to finish where I started: wildlife is an asset. Africa could bring in millions of tourists to watch the animals. It is a capital they have nearly squandered.
Happy Mother’s Day for those who celebrate next Friday.