Saving chimpanzees, by Eugene Cussons
By moving heaven and earth to rescue chimpanzees all over Africa, Eugene Cussons, author of 'Saving Chimpanzees: A man on a rescue mission', has extended an important hand to mankind's closest relative.
The youngest child of three, I grew up in the north-eastern Lowveld region of South Africa where I was born in 1979. With an older brother and sister, my early life was anything but uneventful. We lived on a game reserve, which instilled in me a great love of nature, and some irresponsible behaviour besides. One of my first memories is of my brother and me entering buildings abandoned by humans but inhabited by swarms of bees for the sole reason of seeing who could fight his way out with the least damage. I did not, at that stage, hear the call to save the great apes from extinction, but one thing I learned early on was that the conservation of animals is the key to the preservation of humans. When I was a child my father, who was a civil engineer by trade, used his other skill as a helicopter pilot to assist in game capture operations on game farms and ranches in the old Transvaal province. The captured animals were sold to game farmers, and the excess or unwanted ones were relocated to my home at Umhloti Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga where they were given a new lease on life and where my father insisted that no sport hunting should be allowed. I was exposed to the ways of managing a nature reserve from a young age and I was taught that managing life often means that you have to take it; sometimes one has to track sick or injured animals that would have to be put out of their misery, or removed, to ensure the safety of both humans and other animals. So I learned the necessary tracking and hunting skills that enabled me to assist in such efforts from time to time. But these weren't my only skills. I have always had a great thirst for adventure, mastering every adventurous skill I came across - rock climbing, sky diving, piloting, scuba diving, free diving, even my explorers rating as an off-road driving instructor. It was, however, during my high school days that I learned real survival skills; navigating teenage challenges and schoolyard bullies proved daunting at times. When I moved to a new high school for my final two years I found myself in a new and different environment, one that offered me an opportunity for personal growth and development, an opportunity to become any kind of person I wanted to be, to embark on a sort of personal social experiment, if you like. This was the part of my life that I'm most proud of, finding the courage to swim upstream and becoming someone who would not be afraid of anything life threw at him. So I began to reinvent myself, changing from an introvert into the complete opposite. It was a journey of self-discovery and transformation, and it worked. I learned how to set myself a goal and how to chase it down by whatever means were needed. All good things come to an end, they say, and so did my teenage years. I had to decide what to do with my life, and it included further education. However, I wasn't completely done with my personal social experiment and instead of further study in the field of conservation, I decided to study economics. This was probably the best thing I could have done, for not only did I enjoy the 'bigger picture' but it gave me the skills to identify opportunities and to make them work. There was just one small problem: I'm not really fond of money. [...]
This is an excerpt from the book Saving chimpanzees, by Eugene Cussons.
Title: Saving chimpanzees
Subtitle: A man on a rescue mission
Authors: Eugene Cussons
Publisher: The Penguin Group (South Africa)
2nd updated edition. Cape Town, South Africa, 2012
ISBN 9780143530541 / ISBN 978-0-14-353054-1
Softcover, 14 x 21 cm, 253 pages, numerous photos
Cussons, Eugene im Namibiana-Buchangebot
As you read 'Saving chimpanzees' you will be saddened and ultimately inspired by the resilience of the young apes and the dedication of their human saviours.