AFRICAT UK AMBASSADORS
I have the great fortune to visit many conservation projects around the world and AfriCat is in the premiership. Its whole ethos is founded upon securing practical solutions to problems in the field. It’s about really making a difference, not talking about it. It’s about intelligent and effective solutions being implemented now, not tomorrow. And its new initiatives are more exciting than ever, releasing rehabilitated animals into huge protected reserves where they are carefully studied and monitored. The standard of care is exemplary and our understanding of these creatures’ ecologies and behaviours is constantly being advanced here. A few more AfriCats and this continent’s unique fauna would be a lot better off. Please do whatever you can to support its work.
Jack Randall is a zoologist on a conservation mission, best known for hosting his television series, “Out There with Jack Randall” (Nat Geo WILD, Disney+). Jack brings with him a fearless sense of adventure, fostered by his early mentor and hero, the late Steve Irwin.
At just 14 years old Jack left his home in England for Australia, where he learned to work with all manners of snakes and reptiles under the watchful eye of the Crocodile Hunter. Backing up his passion for species conservation with a Biological Sciences degree from the University of Oxford, he runs a series of practical field courses for the next generation of biologists from universities across the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. Together, Jack and his students are leveraging their passion for wildlife into a conservation purpose.
Simon Palmer has been a photographer for over 30 years, cutting his teeth on concert and horse photography. He has photographed the likes of Yes, Marillion, Simple Minds, Afrocelt Sound System and the Saw Doctors, through to capturing on film the American Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts. He was the cameraman in the team that won the prestigious EIFF Award in 2017 for the documentary work on Monty Roberts. Simon initially came to Okonjima, the home of AfriCat, for a holiday in 2011. This was his introduction to conservation, and through this has returned on a regular basis as a supporter of AfriCat to document their work. He gives talks on his photography, which prove very popular and fund raises where he can. Simon provides all his images to the charity to help with illustrating the challenges of conservation. Recently Simon launched a book, Paw Prints in the Sand, that donates money too AfriCat for each copy sold. He maintains that it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can make a difference with whatever skills you have. His skills happen to be behind the camera and talking too much!”
“Anyone who has the privilege of seeing a cheetah moving swiftly through the African bush will never forget the experience. And yet it is a sight few people will see in their lifetime, because this most beautiful and ancient of cats is at risk of disappearing forever.
People with a love of the cheetah cannot afford to sit by in the face of the threat to these cats. If we want to ensure that others in the future may see the beauty in motion of these extraordinary creatures, or see them silhouetted against the magnificence of an African sunset, we all need to assist in order that they do not disappear altogether. Your help to AfriCat can and will make a difference.”
David first visited Africa in his early twenties, immediately falling in love with the continent, its people, animals and culture.
Having visited the AfriCat Foundation at Okonjima in 2008, he accepted their offer to become Chairman of the UK Board and was integral to the renaissance of AfriCat UK after a difficult period for the charity. He operated as UK Chairman for several years working in consultation with the AfriCat Foundation in Namibia and with current Chair James Tomlinson to get the charity back on its feet and thriving.
David comments “Having handed over the reins to James and his team, I am delighted to see how well the charity is going and I am truly honoured to accept the Board’s offer to be a lifetime Ambassador”.
David is the Founder of a start up and social impact law firm, London Law Collective and lives in West London with his family.
With a lifelong interest in the natural world, we first visited Namibia and the AfriCat Foundation in 1998. We fell in love with the country, its people, and the work of the project. Since that first visit, we have been back around 15 times!
On a visit to Okonjima in 2010 Carey mentioned that he would have more time to support the AfriCat Foundation as he was retiring the following year. The next thing we knew we were back in Namibia for 10 days to gain a more in-depth picture of the work of the charity. Membership of the AfriCat UK Board for Carey and as the ‘new’ AfriCat UK Board established itself, we took on more of the admin functions while helping to shape the long-term strategy for AfriCat UK. The goal was to find ways to increase revenues that were sustainable with a small albeit enthusiastic team of volunteers. This utilized advances and developments in the ‘new’ digital technology for fund raising.
In 2019 Carey decided the time was right to plan his retirement and step down from the AfriCat UK Board in 2020. This gave scope to recruit new members to join the Board to take things forward. We have learnt so much, met some wonderful people and have many glorious memories of our wildlife experiences while staying at Okonjima. Our commitment to conservation, and the plight of the planet is as strong as ever. We will continue our support of The AfriCat Foundation, and the new Namibian Lion Trust as best we can.
Janet and Carey Widdows
Lisa has been involved with the AfriCat Foundation and Okonjima Lodge for over 20 years after being introduced by mutual friends in Bangkok. ” I have watched the foundation develop, adapt and change as the years have rolled by. As a teacher by profession, it has been a pleasure to see the education side of the foundation go from strength to strength.”
Originally responsible for all of the Foundations websites and social media, Lisa now solely concentrates on the AfriCat U.K. website when not teaching in a large International school.
An avid traveller and lover of nature Lisa currently resides in Thailand with her two boys and hopes one day to get back and see the beauty of Namibia once more.