Thank you to everyone for the postings and comments.
As I stated in the original article, I deliberated long and hard about posting this, and I still stand by my decision to do so. However I must point out here that it was my personal decision to do so and not necessarily going to be the attitude of everyone. I have taken quite a lot of criticism over the last few days for the posting and it seems that quite a few feathers have been ruffled.
There is raw sentiment at the moment, and maybe if I had followed my own advice and not acted in the “heat of the moment”, then things might have been a little different, however I doubt it.
As I have already stated, I stand by my decision in writing the article, and already things are moving forward, a serious look at the standard of the fence is being conducted and improvement/modifications are being made, this in itself has to have made it worth it, we can not afford for this to happen again. I must however point out that the fence was under severe pressure with the Sand River in flood, and I am not in a position of authority to comment if there is any fence that is capable of withstanding such punishment.
I feel however I have to re-state some of my points again to ensure everyone is clear on my feelings and stand point.
I in no way blame the Local Community for what has transpired. We strongly believe in the upliftment of the Local Community Area, and will continue in every way we can to make sure we do our part. We strongly believe in education in the local community areas, as this is going to be the future of ensuring Wildlife have these areas to roam free, therefore much of our Community Development work, other than direct job employment, is focused in and around the local schools.
The tragic events that occurred are not to be blamed on the Local Community, our relationship with them is strong, and we continue to work hand in hand with them on the road to future benefit, theirs and that of the Wildlife in the adjacent Reserve areas. In the past we have been notified of a breach in the fence, or we have notified the Local Community that a breach had occurred, and we have been given an opportunity to rectify the situation. In this instance we were not given such an opportunity and the Provincial Authority, not the Local Community, made the decision to destroy the Pride without notifying us of their intention. Therefore I appeal to everyone not to vent outrage and blame on the neighboring Community. Indeed we will fight harder in our efforts to educate and uplift these Communities.
So many of you have asked how you can help, all I can ask is that you continue, as so many of you have, to help us in our endeavors to build schools and clinics and help us with the incredibly important job at hand of educating as many people as possible of the importance of Reserve Areas such as this, and how Wildlife and people can live side by side to the mutual benefit of both.
Sadly this is not a unique situation occurring only here, it is happening across Africa and although much progress is being made, there is still a long way to go. I have always been of the opinion that; to be a Conservationist in this day and age, we need to be optimists, we have to have the “glass is half full approach”, it is a long road ahead, but one we need to travel.
I also can report as I end off here, that communication between the Authorities within the Reserve and the Local Provincial Authority outside the Reserve have been scheduled as a matter of urgency, and I hope and pray we can have a conclusion that will prevent something like this ever happening again.