DECEMBER 2014 – Conservation success lies in providing protected habitats in which the offspring of the Big Five can grow and flourish.
The cute factor is undeniable; big paws and furry baby faces, awkwardly clumsy trunks and wobbly knees appealing straight to our hearts. But the Big Five babies play a far weightier role than that of delighting safari travelers with their antics. The Little Five are the future of conservation. Breeding populations of endangered animals are evidence of an eco-system regaining its balance; where there are babies there is hope. Conservation has made huge strides in recent years, helped immensely by increased interest in safari travel, and while lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo are often the star attraction, many other smaller creatures benefit from the same conservation measures. Pangolin, aardvark and wild dogs are just a few other endangered animals that have a better chance of survival now the Big Five are leading the way. Safari companies provide jobs for local communities and many fund community projects, education and research, encouraging locals to value and protect the animals that they once saw as a threat to their livestock and livelihood. But there is still a long road to travel to secure the future of both Little and Big Five.