Updated: Jun 24
The conservation industry has so many unsung heroes. People who are selflessly committed to the cause. Colin Patrick is one such hero and I have been privileged to spend time with in the Greater Kruger National Park.
As guides our duty should not only be to create wonderful safari experiences but also to ensure that these can continue for the generations to come.
Safaris, and the business built on these experiences, are entirely dependent on the existence of wildlife and wildlife habitat. Both of these are under constant threat from human habitat encroachment and other threats such as poaching.
Colin’s work in the conservation space absolutely deserves greater recognition. When many people would have run out of energy, determination or the discipline to continue doing what he does - He simply continues. Colin spoke openly of the pain he feels each time another rhino dies. I know this feeling - When I found my first poached rhino I cried.
He spoke to me about how for large periods of last year he would be returning from work elsewhere in the country to receive a phone call asking for his assistance to track poachers. He would park his vehicle at home, greet his family, quickly pack for the operation ahead and then again depart. I sadly know people who are employed full time in conservation roles who will not work a minute more than their employment contract requires. This is commitment far beyond the call of duty.
Last year Colin started working with a highly trained, and disciplined, Belgian Malinois. The earlier days of her life were shaped by involvement from both the Southern Africa Wildlife College and the Endangered Wildlife Trust. Annie is already making a marked impact and the combination of Colin and Annie makes an incredible team. As with all great teams, they have a deep bond.
Recently the two broke new ground, ground that many believed as not possible, as they tracked poachers right through the night. The hot pursuit saw them arrest the poachers near the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate 13 hours later. His tracking ability is phenomenal and his passion for the skill is contagious.
Alongside his partner Andreas Liebenberg, in their business Counter Insurgency Tracker Training, the two of them are setting new standards within the anti-poaching space. Andreas is another true inspiration.
As a footnote both Colin and Andreas are FGASA Scout’s - This is the highest qualification attainable in the nature guiding industry and only nine people have attained this globally. It is a qualification that requires deep commitment and easily takes over a decade to achieve.
Exceptional? I believe so …
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