PDC UK at Prestigious Annual TUSK TRUST Lecture

PDCUK were thrilled to have a stand at  the prestigious Annual TUSK Trust Lecture, raising awareness and funds for wildlife in Africa. Many guests were in the Christmas spirit and most generous in their purchases of snare wire sculptures and beaded work directly from PDC’s Iganyana Arts Centre in Zimbabwe ( all the funds go directly to Painted Dog Conservation). Lots of  happy ‘painted dog tales’ were  also exchanged, happy reconnections and new contacts made. Jeremy Borg of Painted Wolf wines provided the wine for the evening also helping to raise both awareness and conviviality. Thank you TUSK.

Maria Njamba visits UK for 2 weeks, hosted by PDCUK

Last Month (October 2012) Maria Njamba visited the UK for 2 weeks hosted by PDCUK. Escalators, guide dogs for the blind, washing machines, dishwashers, supermarkets, , opticians, Verulam park, Southend Pier, the cinema, LONDON, Chinese food ( delivered), the Dartford tunnel and a suburban junior school, takeaway Pizza, a bottle of sparkling water…. I could go on but these were just a few of the items that were new to PDCUK’s guest from Dete, Zimbabwe, Maria Njamba.       Maria was voted Employee of the Year 2011 by her colleagues at Painted Dog Conservation for the 4th year running. As a reward she was given a trip to the UK (last year she got a hand plough) and the chance to experience activities related to her role as conservation and education guide at Painted Dog Conservation. She also had the chance to spread the word about the work of the charity whilst developing her own skills. While in the UK Maria was hosted for work experience by Paradise Wildlife Park, the Wildlife Heritage Foundation and Yorkshire Wildlife Park. She gave talks at most of these as well as St.Michael’s Outreach and at Assembly at a primary school in Wimbledon (where the Friends of Bishop Gilpin sponsor Mabale school to attend the children’s educational Bush Camp each year and have now extended this to Songwe school and child sponsorship ). Her talk was given to audiences from 12 -250 people and she even spoke with a microphone and 3 screens for the first time as a VIP speaker with the naturalist Chris Packham. At each place, her natural smile and style prevailed although she was emotionally overcome on a couple of occasions.  Maria was privileged to work with endangered cats and painted dogs in the UK and to see how volunteers run shops and support conservation. She also learned how diverse organisations are managed, collecting many tips on the way that will help back in Zimbabwe.        Time was also made for fun activities such as Windsor Castle, the seaside, Buckingham Palace, shopping, a trip on the Thames to see Tower Bridge and the Millennium wheel, the cinema (Odeon Leicester Square – not bad for a first cinema trip!).. to name a few. Mission Accomplished! Maria achieved the purpose of her visit plus more! Purpose and Objectives: Employee of the Year: development opportunity at UK establishments, R&R. PDCUK and Painted Dog Conservation thank ALL all who helped make this a success and gave generously of their time. We have barely touched on all that Maria did but importantly she raised awareness and funds for such a unique  project and touched many hearts and minds in a special way. And finally… she LOVES CHOCOLATE! Background: Maria is 47 and lives in a small 2-room hut with her two children. Water is available from a shared tap and she grows fruit and vegetables in a small patch of land and keeps chickens and goats. Electricity is sometimes available and a neighbour recently got a television so she saw the Jubilee celebrations and some of the Olympics.  At home she eats one meal a day, goes to bed at 8pm and gets up at 4.30am. So imagine arriving at Heathrow, the first challenge was the escalators which she had never used. The project director, Peter Blinston, found a lift. (By the end of the trip she was a skilled user of escalators.) In 2004 she was offered employment  with PDC as a cleaner to get the buildings ready for the first set of 30 children to attend the educational bush camp which is provided by PDC for free to 1000 children a year. Her potential as more than a cleaner was recognised and in 2006 she was offered promotion to work at the reception in the Community and Conservation Centre and provided with computer training and sent to a college in Bulawayo. She then became a guide. She told us that if she had not been given the chance by the charity to develop her skills she would still be subsistence living in a bush village and her children would be uneducated ( we support employees’ children to ensure they attend school). Her observations of the UK were that we spend more time together as families and people were very warm. She was amazed by the large number of volunteers she met of all ages. "My trip to the UK was an experience of a life time and it widened my mind and thinking about life as a whole. The moving stairs was so scary and I always think about it, and find it so funny. The trip was educational and also fund raising was really exciting. Now I know what Peter and Greg do when they say that they will be fund raising. I honestly enjoyed working with Lynn and team at Wildlife Paradise Park and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park team. It was nice working with you UK team I saw animals big cats that I have not seen before e.g. Tigers, Snow leopards, White Lions, Jaguars. But above all this I have learnt that it pays to be hard working because if I had not been hard working, PDC would have not given me the chance to see the world. Thank you." Maria

Tusk Trust: Annual Conservation Lecture, Thursday 15th November 2012

PDC UK is delighted to have a stall at the annual Tusk Trust American Express Conservation Lecture 2012 on Thursday 15th November.  We shall be taking a wide selection of beaded work and snare wire sculptures freshly arrived from the Iganyana Arts Centre, supported by PDC, so do please join us at this special event and come and do your Christmas shopping with a difference. There is something to suit all ages and all wallets! American Express Conservation Lecture 2012 "FROM SAVANNAH TO SHANGHAI – THE TRAIL OF BLOOD IVORY & RHINO HORNS" WHEN: Thursday 15th November, 2012. Doors open at 6:00pm/Lecture 6:45pm
 WHERE: The Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore London SW7 Tusk is delighted to announce that Ian Craig & Steve Trent will speak at the 18th annual lecture, to be hosted by BBC presenter Kate Silverton. The two leading conservationists will explore how the illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn is fuelling poaching across Africa and ask how we can stop the killing and stem the demand. Ian Craig, one of the Founders of Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Northern Rangelands Trust, member of the Board of KWS, will cover the impact of poaching on the ground in Africa and the struggles faced by game rangers and park managers in the face of escalating demand. Steve Trent, chair of WildAid UK & and former executive director of the Environmental Investigation Agency, is one of the world's leading experts in the the illegal trade of wildlife products and parts. With his long experience of Chinese culture, he will discuss the challenges faced in the battle to curb demand from the Far East. Tickets:  £15 available at www.tusk.org

Tragic Pittsburgh Zoo Incident

Painted Dog Conservation UK wishes to express its condolences to the family members who have suffered the agonising loss of their loved one as a result of the tragic incident at Pittsburgh Zoo. There is no recorded case of Painted Dogs attacking any human being in the wild. The situation at Pittsburgh Zoo is an unique, complex and tragic event for the family and staff at Pittsburgh Zoo. Our thoughts are with them all.