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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 01 Dec 2011
GRAEME BRISTOW

Born in Zimbabwe, Graeme is part of the Bristow family who was been working in the wild life sector for 3 generations. The story began in the 1950s when Graeme’s grandfather started rescuing injured and rejected animals to treat before releasing them into the wild. He would keep the animals he could not release until it got to a point where he was bound to open the first wild life park in Rhodesia called, The Rhone Game Park. Since then, the Bristows’ lives took a new turn as their love for animals grew and their purpose was geared towards conserving and preserving nature and its animals. Graeme took his passion along with him to Mauritius in 2007 and here we are featuring this great man in our December Lifestyle article.

I had met Graeme a few times before the interview and my greatest observation of all is the immense respect he commands from not only animals but also people. Not a man of many words, Graeme is the Managing Director of Safari Adventures but more of a humble nature lover who simply feels at best once in communion with nature. I felt quite gratified to share his passion through this article. A man who respects his environment is indeed a great man.

Chased by baby lions


The work of the Bristows from the 1950s onwards is impressive. They not only managed to set up parks for wild animals but they also helped the movie industry to generate funds to help animals even more. Some movies on which Graeme Bristow has worked are Lion Spy in the den, King Solomon’s mines, the Gods must be crazy 1 and 2, Sherlock Holmes and the incident of Victoria Falls, A far off place, Pride etc... Graeme insists that his animals are filmed in the most natural setting and are not used for circus acts such as jumping in hoops of fire.

One of the earliest childhood memories of Graeme is waking up at 10 in the evening with lion cubs being placed under his feet by his dad…in his cot! Graeme was sharing his cot with 2 baby cubs to keep them warm and save them from the cold. Other childhood memories include being chased by baby lions and trying to ride wildebeest!

As an adult, one of the greatest events that changed Graeme’s life occurred while he was taking elephants to Longleat Safari Park in England. Due to the overpopulation of elephants in Zimbabwe, the government decided to cull them. Graeme’s father quickly looked for a solution and struck an accord with the government to export the elephants to other countries to save them, provided 50% of the elephants exported belonged to Zimbabwe in the future. It was in Longleat Safari Park in 1987 that love at first sight struck Graeme as he met Julie while he was taking the elephants to the giraffe’s section, where she was working. He convinced her to follow him to Africa where he proposed and they were soon married. Benjamin and Georgie were born out of the union and they are now following the footsteps of their parents as they want to spend their lives helping animals.

 

 

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