“I first became aware of the incredible work being done by AfriCat at Okonjima around twenty years ago and was so impressed by their dedication, work ethic and passion for conservation that I asked to become a patron.
What a joy it was to return to Okonjima this year and catch up again in person with the AFRICAT team and see how the foundation has gone from strength to strength.
With true grit and determination, they somehow managed to survive the Covid years and are now helping even more endangered animals.
The highlight of my trip was meeting TREX, the most beautiful little pangolin who roams free in the wild but wears a tracking device and has a devoted “nanny” to watch over him and keep him safe from poachers.
It was such an honour and a really emotional experience to see TREX happily toddling about feasting on termites and being kept safe from harm.
It is heartbreaking to think that these wonderful creatures are the most trafficked mammal in the world. They are trapped and thrust into containers while still alive to be sent to Vietnam and China to be eaten, and their scales used in traditional medicine.
It makes no sense, because just like a rhino horn pangolins scales are made of keratin, exactly the same as our fingernails.
At AfriCat the emphasis is on conservation through education, which is how real changes can be made to protect TREX and all the other animals who urgently need our help.
The AfriCat funded research being done on pangolins, leopards, cheetah, brown hyenas as well as the impact of climate change on aardvarks is enormously important. The more we learn, the more we achieve in terms of conservation.
Working closely with scientists, researchers and conservationists from all over the world, as well as the local farming community, means that ideas and information can be exchanged to develop long term strategies, not just for Okonjima but for the rest of Africa and the entire planet.
I’m very proud to be associated with such a forward thinking, caring organisation who continue to make such a difference.”
– Lorraine Kelly