Frank Pope, CEO of Save The Elephants, shares his sincere take on the importance of being a father and the weight that carries when paired up against nature. His story - influenced by northern Kenya - gives insight into the challenges we face as humans on this planet and how much of an impact we truly have, both environmentally and socially.
We hope his vitalized words inspire our readers and remind us all why saving the elephants is such a major responsibility in relation to the bigger, bolder picture.
Living in a National Reserve in northern Kenya has its challenges, but it certainly gives you some advantages as a parent. I’m sure there are a lot of ways to teach my daughters the importance of family and friends, and of empathy, courage and strength. But nothing beats the example that elephants set.
That said, being a human brings responsibilities that elephants don’t have to bear. The planet is groaning with the weight of our overpopulation and the future of wildlife is in jeopardy. But while the impacts of humans as a species may be terrible, the actions of individuals are our main hope for saving the last of the wild.
If my wife Saba and I are responsible for adding more people to the planet, we need to make sure that they (our children) are aware of the incredible richness of nature, of its critical importance to our lives and of their duty to fight for its survival.
In our home, canvas and mosquito netting is the only thing that separates us from the wild. Rather than the wail of police sirens or honking of car horns what wakes us up at night are baboons and vervet monkeys shrieking warnings of a passing leopard, or the gurgle of an elephant’s stomach as it sleeps outside our tent.
My girls have learnt a lot already. They know love of family – I know that from the hugs I get in the morning. They know courage – when my eldest found a red cobra in the bathroom she calmly retreated to tell us about it. And they are learning about what it takes to care for the wild creatures that they share their lives with.