PODCAST #24 · GARETH PATTERSON · LIVING WITH LIONS, SECRET ELEPHANTS & AFRICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM

“Once you start empathising with other life and seeing the reverence in other life, then you start having sympathy with it… because you’re seeing part of yourself in other life and that is the cornerstone of respect."

Award-winning wildlife expert, author and public speaker, Gareth Patterson, is known internationally for his efforts to protect the lions and elephants of Africa. His wildlife work has featured widely in the media, books and in documentaries.” Gareth has written extensively about his experience rewilding George Adamson’s last lion cubs and subsequently written about his discovery of a viable population of elephants in the Knysna Forest. He continues to work to raise awareness and build passion for the wild with his recent children’s book ‘Born to be Free’, his upcoming project ‘Beyond the Secret Elephants’ and his ongoing efforts to reignite African Environmentalism through Sekai Africa.

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We visited Gareth Patterson in his cottage on the edge of the beautiful Knysna Forest in South Africa and together with his beautiful bush dog, Tuli (you can hear her grunting and sniffling throughout), covered the following varied and important topics:

  • Gareth’s background, growing up in Nigeria, Malawi and Botswana; his first love (snakes!),   (~01:30)
  • An overview of Gareth’s career path through guiding, environmental education, lion rehabilitation and writing about the status of the lion in contemporary Africa (~03:40)
  • Meeting and working with legendary lion man of Africa, George Adamson in the Kora National Park in Kenya (~07:45)
  • Taking on and rewilding George Adamson’s 3 cubs: Bastian, Rafiki and Furaha (~9:45)
  • Gareth’s inspiration for caring about Africa’s lions and elephants and early childhood influences (~11:40)
  • Memorable moments from living and working in the wild including as living as a functional member of a lion pride (~14:35)
  • An introduction to bush dog, Tuli (~18:40)
  • Gareth’s recently published children’s book “Born to be Free” about the Adamson lions (~18:50)
  • The story of Rafiki leading Gareth to her newborn cubs (~22:20)
  • The story of the Knysna Elephants: legendary, mythical elephants living near the coast on the southern tip of Africa (~28:50)
  • Gareth’s new project, the sequel to The Secret Elephants for which Gareth is fundraising for at the moment. It will be called “Beyond the Secret Elephants” (~35:40)
  • Sekai Africa, Gareth’s vision for reigniting African Environmentalism and how we need to involve everyone in protecting our wildlife (~38:00)
  • Gareth’s words of wisdom for a growing disconnected world (~50:15)
  • How to support Gareth’s work (~51:46)

“We need reconciliation between the external conservationist outlook and the indigenous. We need a rainbow nation of thinking with conservation in Africa that includes everyone."

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