UK CELEBRITY, CONSERVATIONIST, PHOTOGRAPHER, TV PRESENTER AND PATRON OF THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION. . . HAS THIS TO SAY:
“AfriCat and Okonjima represent a perfect fusion of business and conservation. More it’s an effective synergism which sees both partners benefiting and as a result it is a hugely successful means of preserving some of Africa’s most charismatic species.
Okonjima offers top class ecotourism. Close encounters with both wild and rehabilitated big cats, encounters which can change the lives of both the visitors and the animals. The guides are superb, the accommodation beautifully designed, comfortable and luxurious without being ostentatious and the service top rate. Guests get to savour the Namibian landscape and learn its secrets and also an essential introduction to its vulnerability. They are also allowed access behind the scenes of AfriCats’ activities to see first hand how the charity works on the ground.
To visit this wonderful country and not make time for Okonjima is unthinkable. I have the great fortune to visit many conservation projects around the world and AfriCat is in the premiership. Its whole ethos is founded upon securing practical solutions to problems in the field. It’s about really making a difference, not talking about it. It’s about intelligent and effective solutions being implemented now, not tomorrow. And its new initiatives are more exciting than ever, releasing rehabilitated animals into huge protected reserves where they are carefully studied and monitored. The standard of care is exemplary and our understanding of these creatures’ ecologies and behaviours is constantly being advanced here. A few more AfriCats and this continent’s unique fauna would be a lot better off. Please do whatever you can to support its work. Thank you.” – Chris Packham
ABOUT CHRIS PACKHAM
Chris was born in Southampton in 1961 and as soon as he was crawling around suburbia Ladybirds were being desiccated in matchboxes and tadpoles tortured in jam jars. Husbandry skills improved and the menagerie expanded to large collections of reptiles (inside) and birds of prey, foxes, badgers, squirrels etc (generally outside). A precocious young scientist, swat and nerd in training he studied Kestrels, Shrews and Badgers in his teens and undergraduate days at the Zoology department of Southampton University. He also embraced Punk Rock and played in a band and the DIY ethos and determination to never take ‘no’ for an answer are forcefully retained.
Post graduation and a cancelled PhD, (the Badgers were getting a bit much), he began taking still photographs and trained as a wildlife film cameraman. The photography continues with exhibitions and invitations to judge prestigious competitions but the camerawork gave way to presenting. Chris began with the award winning ‘Really Wild Show’ in 1986 and has been working ever since. Credits include, ‘Wildshots’, ‘Wild Watch’, ‘Go Wild’, basically lots of things with ‘wild’ in the title. ‘X-Creatures’, ‘Postcards from the Wild’, ‘Hands on Nature’ and most recently ‘Natures Calendar’ almost had more inventive programme names.
At the turn of the century Chris ran a hugely successful production company ‘Head over Heels’ making programmes for Animal Planet, National Geographic, ITV and the BBC. Chris has had the good fortune to travel widely and he has explored many habitats from Antarctic Islands, rainforests, deserts, the Everest range, the deep oceans and some of the planets most notorious nightclubs and drinking dens. He is a sucker for Archaeology and likes to holiday amongst ruins.
He has a couple of old cars which don’t get much exercise, a couple of dogs who can’t get enough exercise, has no fondness for unnecessary exercise himself but reads and writes continuously. He dabbles in the art market and wishes he had a Miro. His top-ten favourite birds has a hundred in the list, he wants to see a Philippines Eagle before he dies and thinks Audrey Hepburn has no known earthy equal. He cannot sing and cannot dance.