How much of a surprise has it been to receive the NFS Sparrow Award?
Surprise is an understatement. Really thought the world had forgotten me. Obviously not! There are friends and relatives out there who are really grateful for my efforts at rehabilitation.
What inspired you to get involved with the conservation of bird and wildlife?
At an early age it was obvious to me that the world was changing rapidly and that there were many collateral causalities in the form of abuse, displaced, orphaned and injured wildlife. The trade in illegally held wildlife continues to grow.
Looking at so called ‘animal shelters’ where birds, small mammals and reptiles were deposited by the general public who cared enough, broke my belief in such centres where mortality was high due to further abuse and neglect. The veterinary profession was ill equipped to handle and care for injured wildlife. The paucity of knowledge of diverse groups of animals and birds was appalling. I guess the vaccum in these centres galvanized me to assume the burden of the care and eventual rehabilitation of these beautiful creatures.
How do you raise your funds to carry forward your activities?
Apart from my advertising photography it’s been friends, relatives and well wishers who have funded my activities thus far and continue to do so. To them, my deepest and most sincere thanks.
How do you manage to maintain a balance between professional/ family and your work in regard to conservation?
Rehabilitation is a 24hour responsibility where your social life ceases to exist anymore. Things like trekking, bird watching and travel simply find no place in a rehabilitator’s life.
What kind of you support do you expect from Government agencies, citizens and society at large? To value nature and change the highly consumptive lifestyle we lead in the urban areas today which is responsible for the problems face by wildlife. To learn to share space with these small critters.
What are the challenges/ difficulties you face in doing the work you have decided on?
Too many difficulties to enumerate...
If there are pitfalls, what motivates you?
Pain and suffering of animals and the lack of good rehabilitation process in the country.
Such work is often a lonely path. How does it feel to see your efforts being recognized?
Totally amazed that people go to great length that I can be recognized. At one level I revel in the loneliness of rehabilitation and would rather be left alone. But at the other, it is important for my supporters for my efforts to be known. Therefore, accepting this award is a way of repaying them for all the love and concern that they graciously showered on me.
What plans do you have to take forward your work?
Like to give it all up as care worn and frayed at the edges. But I guess I can never stop as long as the abuse of nature by our species continues.