Heroes In Conservation

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Heroes In Conservation

What makes a hero? Everyone has a different perception of what this might be, but the general idea is someone who helps and asks for nothing in return. We all have our own heroes for different reasons, each should be celebrated. So today let’s celebrate the heroes of our planet fighting to protect our wildlife and the environment.

‘Best Of’ Conservation in 2019

2019 has been filled with highs and lows of conservation. It’s very easy to feel that our environment is heading in a downward spiral. With politicians refusing to accept climate change, more and more species becoming extinct and green spaces continually being destroyed, it’s hard to stay hopeful. But we can’t give up! Every day more people join the fight for our planet and we must rejoice, so here are some heroes dedicating their lives for our planet.

June Haimoff

A British woman born in Essex who has driven the conservation efforts for Loggerhead Turtles in the Dalyan region in Turkey. For over 25 years June has worked tirelessly to ensure protection of vital stretches of beach known for Loggerhead nesting sites. Her campaigns prevented multiple construction projects from destroying the precious beaches, which would have a devastating effect on the Turtle populations. But thanks to her efforts the Dalyan Turtles Project was launched, and has now resulted in Iztuzu beach becoming a regional focus for Turtle conservation.


June helping release a recovered adult at Iztuzu beach, credit Maria Jonker

Jadav Payeng

Or otherwise known as the ‘Forest Man’, single-handedly replanted an entire forest in a bid to save his home and native wildlife. Jadav lives in Majuli, India, the largest river island in the world, which is slowly eroding away due to deforestation. He began with only a handful of seeds back in 1979 and now walks through 550 hectares of forest. The island has come back to life and supports an array of wildlife again such as Rhinos, Deer, Tigers, critically endangered Vultures and even hosts 115 Elephants for 3 months of the year.

But his forest has not gone unnoticed, logging companies threaten the forest every day, which is why he patrols it himself and fights for legal action.


The Rangers of Virunga National Park

Mountain Gorillas are some of the planets most endangered animals. But their population is on the rise thanks to the rangers and carers of Virunga National Park , a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s more bio-diverse protected areas.


Rangers taking a short break on patrol in the reserve,
credit Tim Freccia for GRID-Arendal

To protect this park, the rangers must go through a vigorous 6-month training process. Only 50% of the candidates make it and then the real hard work begins: 24/7 patrol of the park against poachers. The job is incredibly dangerous and unfortunately 175 rangers have lost their lives in the line of duty over the last decade.

“As a ranger my job is to protect Virunga National Park, not only for the people of the Congo, but for the entire world.”

Ranger Christian Shamavu, Head of Congohounds Unit

Theses men and women take immense pride in their work and are giving the Mountain Gorilla a fighting chance for survival.

Naude Dreyer

Local kayak enthusiast turned Seal rescuer has been wowing the Instagram world with his videos of rescuing entangled Seals at Pelican Point in Namibia. Originally the owner of a kayak business, Naude, could no longer ignore the Seals in obvious pain and had to act. Using the little tools he has, he manages to wrangle Seals and cut away any restricting fishing line. He now routinely patrols the 60,000 strong Cape Fur Seal colony looking for entangled Seals. The problem is almost always discarded fishing lines or nets and really demonstrates the issues with our current fishing habits.

Nauda currently has a funding page to help pay for specialised equipment to further help the animals.

Check out his Instagram to see how carries out these rescues:


Our Fighters For The Future

21 year old Selina Neirok Leem, is a climate justice advocate from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change. She’s fighting for her home and her peoples voices to be heard as they feel the impact of climate first.

“I just want to let the whole world know that, you might be ready to say goodbye, but our land is what we have, and we’re not ready yet to say goodbye.”

Check out this insightful interview on her views on taking action in both her community and globally to combat climate change by empowering woman to lead the change.

14 year old Alexandraia Villaseñor, is a climate activist and strike organizer from New York. This proud Latina from New York has worked together with other young individuals to host Fridays for Future, a community strike to raise awareness.

“Since climate change will be affecting my generation the most with the trajectory we’re on, it’s important to try and get action, especially from our world leaders and government officials.”

Read all about the Fridays for Future strikes.


People’s Climate March, source: flickr

17 year old Xiye Bastida, hailing from Mexico is also a climate activist and strike organiser, fighting for indigenous and marginalized voices to be heard in the climate crisis. An organiser of Fridays for Future, she wants to combine the efforts of coloured and white groups who become divided by the media. She also promotes her indigenous Otomi beliefs:

“Earth is our home. It gives you air, water and shelter. Everything we need. All it asks is that we protect it.”

Follow Xiyes’ campaigns on twitter.

With a line up like that maybe we can start to feel hopeful for our planet after all. Each person has a different story and background, but they all fight for our world and stand for what is right. Heroes. They refuse to give up so why should we? It’s not too late to try and change the world. Just as long as we all try to do it together.

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