The Bigger Picture – Wildlife conservation in an uncertain world
Last night’s screening of The Bigger Picture documentary film and exclusive panel discussion hosted by Lt. General Sir Graeme Lamb KBE CMG DSO, former director of UK Special Forces and Commander of the British Field Army, highlighted the issues faced by rangers on the front line of conservation in Zambia and the wider landscape of wildlife conservation in an uncertain world.
General Lamb opened the evening by setting the scene saying: “It’s bigger than wildlife conservation. We need to address the issues being created in an inherently troubled and uncertain world where everything is in flux and moving at such a pace and in such a manner that is sometimes difficult to comprehend. We live in a time where order is being challenged and we need to attend to the underlying cause not just treat the symptoms.”
He went on to say that, in his experience, most issues were local and could be solved locally, “We should never underestimate the collective voice of a community with a common goal,” he said. “A quiet revolution by people who care, supported by those who ‘can’ is a powerful formula.”
Continuing the theme of the power of communities the film ‘A Chance to Live’, by award winning filmmaker Dieter Deswarte, allowed Zambia’s rangers to tell their own story, how, even with little or no pay and substandard equipment, they are determined to protect their native wildlife.
“Rangers are few but poachers are many” was a quote that resonated through the evening but the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation is helping to redress the balance through its support of Zambian conservation NGO Game Rangers International (GRI).
“We are making a difference,” said Sport Beattie, CEO of GRI. “With expert advice on security and protection we are helping to support government funded rangers who patrol the huge spaces of Kafue National Park and we have helped establish Special Anti-Poaching Units to combat the rise in wildlife crime in the area.”
In the recent Great Elephant Census, that mapped elephant populations across Africa, Kafue shone out as a beacon of hope in a troubled landscape. “It proves that what we do works,” said DSWF’s Sally Case. “But we have to do more and, with as little of £12 a day enabling a ranger to carry out his duties, it is well within our power to continue the protection of Zambia’s wildlife.”
“We have set up a successful model for wildlife protection that can be rolled out to other elephant bearing regions,” said Sport Beattie. “We just need continued commitment and funding to make it happen.”
Thank you to everyone who took part in the panel discussion: General Lamb, Dieter Deswarte, Freddy Paske and Dave Mackay of The Bigger Picture, Charles Skinner, Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at JANUS Global Operations, Sport Beattie of GRI and Sally Case of DSWF.
You can read more about DSWF’s work to combat wildlife crime in Zambia here
The discussion formed part of DSWF’s week of wildlife art which runs until 1pm on Sunday July 2 at the Mall Galleries, London SW1
You can find out more about The Bigger Picture here