We woke up this morning to the sad news of the passing of one of the world’s great men Nelson Mandela. I think that President Obamas comment that he was a truly good person probably sums him up in one word. We all know of his great achievements with humans, reconciliation in a very volatile situation in South Africa, his great work with charities to ease the suffering of fellow South Africans and his great achievements as a statesman but I am not sure how many people are aware of his work with animals.  I truly believe that a person’s attitude and reaction from children and animals is a great indicator of their character. As children we have not yet lost our instinctive reaction to people and generally people who do not have an affinity to children and animals have serious character flaws. Clearly this is not the case with Mr Mandela.

 In 1997  together with Anton Rupert and Prince Bernard of the Netherland he established the peace parks foundation  which  supports the creation of transformer conservation areas to allow natural migrations to continue and to date more than  minion square km are recognised as Trans Frontier Conservation areas where the local people benefit from the tourist activities associated with such areas. Three years ago in his capacity as a founding member of Peace parks he joined forces with Richard Branson and their dream was to make the elephant corridors of the past a part of the future whereby elephants could roam between Chobe National park in Botswana, Kisiski National park in Namibia and Kafue National park in Zambia, this massive conservation area would be 300,000 km and would be called the kango- Zambezi transfinite Conservation area.

Unfortunately whilst a lot of work has been done on this and the governments of Botswana, Angola, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe have bought into the principle it is not yet a reality as there are many obstacles to overcome but my hope is that this dream will not die with Madiba but that together we will all be able to make this dream come true.


Knowing of this dream I cannot help but make the comparison between the great giants of the animal kingdom and this giant of a man. Both have incredible wisdom and compassion, both share a strong family connection and both as seen as iconic symbols of Africa.


I leave you with a quote made by Mr Mandela to Peter Godwin a journalist with National Geographic

“I dream of an Africa which is at peace with itself

I dream of the realisation of the unity of Africa whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent

I dream of vast deserts, of our forests, of all of our great wilderness.

We must never forget it is our duty to protect this environment.

Tran’s frontier parks are the way we can do this