Biodiversity and Landscapes
Through My Eyes
The beauty of our World.
The journey Through My Eyes will open up your eyes to the beauty of this planet we live on. But under this beauty, we live in a troubled world, threats are numerous to the natural world from habitat loss, mining, dam building, illegal wildlife trade, poaching, unsustainable bushmeat harvesting to climate change denialism. Beauty on the surface but cracks in the foundations. We seemingly use the wrong cement mix over and over again, not learning from but repeating our mistakes, as the natural world crumbles. Politicians and some NGOs seem to reflect this in spades.
Through My Eyes is a beautiful book, photographs will do that to a book and many of the most resilient coffee table books are those full of beautiful photographs. The mix of landscapes and biodiversity, discussions on geopolitics, real world problems with poaching and illegal bush meat harvesting, the linkages with people, health and conservation and the fun of being a wildlife vet in wild places are highlighted in Through My Eyes. The power of advocacy, the power of pictures and storytelling, going hand-in-hand.
It is time the World woke up!
I recently read an article about the Cocos-Keeling Islands. Cocos (Keeling) Islands is an Australian external territory in the Indian Ocean, comprising a small archipelago approximately midway between Australia and Sri Lanka and closer to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It is a remote set of 2 atolls and coral islands. The article was about plastic pollution on the island’s beaches. I perked up when I read the name, I knew the islands and in fact had visited there in the early 1990s with a bunch of black rhinoceros in tow! At that time, Australia had an animal quarantine facility located on the island as well as an airstrip that could handle big jets and Australian air-force planes. I flew from Harare, Zimbabwe in a DC8 Affretair cargo jet and crew, with 10 black rhinoceros on board in individual crates. The black rhino had been captured from Chete Safari area on Lake Kariba, held at a facility outside Harare before being flown to Cocos.
They were held on the island for 2-3 month quarantine before they were transported to Dubbo Zoo in Western Australia. These animals were being sent to Australia as an insurance policy to establish a captive breeding population in that country, well away from African poachers. I relate this story because I stayed on Cocos-Keeling for a month, we provided support to the rhinos (Giant land crabs were our biggest challenge) and I explored the island and swam in the lagoons, exploring pristine coral reefs. It was an idyllic location and I cannot remember any plastic pollution on the beaches at that time (30 years ago). A recent study (University of Tasmania, 2019) carried out on these remote islands has shown major plastic pollution on the islands beaches, with an estimated 414 million pieces of plastic debris.
The beauty of our world is being damaged by single use plastics, our throw-away society, the continued use of fossil fuels and the inaction of seemingly blinkered politicians and special interests. Our biodiversity is under severe threat, the slaughter continues of rhino and elephant, pangolins are traded, bush meat arrives at New York city airports smuggled to restaurants, potentially introducing exotic diseases to the USA. All I can say is: It is time the world woke up! Well, my words were prophetic in 2019 and indeed, an exotic disease in the form of a novel Coronavirus virus called Covid 19 did enter the USA in January or February 2020, at the same time rapidly spreading around the rest of the world. The rest is history with over a million deaths globally and over 40 million people having been infected. Despite this, has the world really “Woken Up”? Some seem to still be in a deep slumber!