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EXPATRIATES IN MAURITIUS
» 01 Dec 2015
LIFESTYLE

If you are interested in wildlife, simply do something – anything! It does
not matter how small you think it is it will make a huge difference.
HI CHRISTOPHER, WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I am 25 and was born in Johannesburg. I am the progeny of two very distinct South African cultures. On the English side we have my Irish grandfather, and my British grandmother. They settled to have a family in South Africa, of which my mother was the eldest. I traced my father’s heritage all the way back 8 generations of ‘Afrikaner boere’ (Afrikaans farmers). Our first ancestor settled in Africa from Holland in the 1700’s. A month before I moved to Mauritius, I had an unforgettable ‘road trip’ with my father to trace our family’s heritage. Like something you would read in a fictional novel, it so happened that the wildlife reserve that I was managing at the time was actually the exact resting place of a lost branch of my family. It fascinates me that the dust which covered my boots was the same one that had covered my great great grandfather’s boots, 200 years before me when he owned the farm.

YOUR CHILDHOOD MUST HAVE BEEN FUN ON THE FARM, WASN’T IT?
My childhood weekends and holidays in a lot of ways was very similar to the classic book Lord of the Flies. Where a group of youngsters would govern themselves in a natural environment the end result, however, was much better for my friends and me. We would disappear for weeks on end into the wild, camping, hiking, exploring, & rock-climbing. Of course I need to mention the notorious survival camps, where we would challenge ourselves to live off the African wild to the point of hunger and exhaustion including but not limited to eating snakes, and nights under the stars so cold that we simply could not shiver anymore. Needless to say that we all survived a little worse for wear and those are my most treasured memories. It was on these adventures that we developed our moral compass to become the young men that we are today. Today we are still as close as brothers.
WHAT EVENT OR PERSON HAS HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE?
A family which has been working with wildlife for 4 generations has mentored me since the beginning and I would not be here today if it was not for their guidance. Almost everything I have learnt about animals and farming in general has been from their collective experience and I am eternally thankful to them. The most influential lesson I have learnt lately is that you should feed your dreams, and not your demons, and be careful not to confuse the two.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO MAURITIUS?
Similar to the biblical story of Noah’s ark I came to Mauritius as the custodian of 100 African wild animals with the mission to start a conservation escapade here. I have spent nearly every day and night for 2 years with those magnificent animals and I can identify each individual by glance. I hope to see their offspring, the first born and bred in Mauritius, and this will be the perfect culmination of all the trials and triumphs that I experienced throughout this adventure.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN MAURITIUS?
I work for Casela, World of Adventures where I hold the position of wildlife manager. I am continually excited by being part of their developments with the African safari experience. I love to share my passion with Mauritius, and the rest of the world.

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF HAPPINESS?
At this stage of my life my definition of happiness can be summarized by 3 things, that is, a strong horse, a loyal dog, and my closest friends and family. If I can combine those in the African savanna you will probably never hear of me again!

DO YOU HAVE ANY CLOSING COMMENTS OR OTHER INFO YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?
Yes, I like to think everybody has some degree of fascination with elephants, rhino, lion or giraffe etc. However a sad truth is that most wild ecosystems are holding on by a thread. I dread the thought that my children will never see a rhino! If you are interested in wildlife, simply do something – anything! It does not matter how small you think it is it will make a huge difference. I believe sustainable utilization, in all its pure forms, is the key to conservation

 

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