Behind the masks

Masks are a well known feature of African culture. They’re used in many circumstances and in psychological terms represent the persona of the wearer.  As such they’re a language on their own, communicating to the viewer what is being said.

In Uganda a young man, called Bright Niwagaba, explained the meanings behind some of the masks he was selling.  He said they were made and worn by Pygmies, Africa’s forest dwelling hunter-gatherers, and represent everyday political and social events as well conquest and subjugation by other tribes.

Here are some of his stories.

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Chimp tracking – Budongo Forest, Uganda

Twenty five years ago the Government of Uganda took a decision to preserve the Budongo Forest in North West Uganda for man’s closest relatives.

Resident chimp predators, such as lion, were moved to the far side of the Nile River.

In partnership with Jane Goodall, The National Forestry Authority started the long process of habituating a community of chimpanzee for tourism, as a way to finance the forest’s conservation.

Since then tourist dollars have helped the authorities to teach villagers alternative ways of obtaining food protein.  They now farm pigs and chicken.  As a result snaring in the forest has been reduced by 90%.

Chimp Tracking is a great experience.  Watch the video here.




Vanity, vanity, vanity

The ugly face of human nature

The documentary film Blood Lions shines a spotlight into a dark corner of the human psyche, one that is driven by vanity, and fed by greed.

In South Africa there are an estimated 8,000 predators held in captivity, most of them lion. The animals represent a lucrative income for their captors. Until now it’s a story that has been untold.

Blood Lions

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The Pope on Conservation

The most important publication issued since the first report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has gone largely unnoticed in the conservation world.

The Laudato Si is a 200 page position paper issued by the Catholic Church on the impact humans are having on Planet Earth. Published in May 2015 the document is a call-to-action to redress the damage we’ve caused to Mother Nature. 

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