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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Out of the City and Into the Wild!

Last weekend, the TN volunteers ventured out of the Ouagadougou chaos to visit an animal conservation farm near to the town of Koubri. It’s not your average animal farm, mind you! It had ostriches, snakes, turtles and monkeys to name a few! The farm is run by a Suisse/Canadian man who has been living in Burkina since 1953. He’s a really interesting guy and is fluent in two of Burkina’s local languages. He taught us a tonne of stuff about Burkina, its animals and its changing environment. He even has childhood memories of being woken up in the middle of the night by lions roaring! (An event that rarely happens now with Burkina’s increasing population and expanding cities).

Anyway! Back to the farm…!

The farm breeds big game animals, such as antelope, so that they can be bought by game reserves. Around 3% of the population of each species is hunted, but the money generated from that goes towards animal conservation and protection. Since the 1970s, Burkina Faso has been experiencing increasingly dry weather, and natural water sources are becoming sparse. These locations are then used by local herders to maintain their stock, but herds of cows drive out natural wildlife! So this is why a more unique approach to conservation is needed. The farm we visited teaches animal husbandry to local people, specifically to young couples who will then train others in their communities. To encourage a partnership between villages and their surrounding natural habitat is to ensure the sustainability of wildlife; villagers make money protecting animals, wild species flourish under agreed guidelines and poachers are less inclined to hunt animals if in doing so they risk the wrath of 50 people from their village.  Clever eh? It’s innovation like this that will help sustainable development and protecting the environment to be able to coincide.
(Pictures to come!)

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