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  • SimonLeak

Benin September/October 2021

Simon headed back out to Benin in West Africa in September to deliver tracking training to rangers from two national parks, in a single group of 24. This skill is particularly relevant, as the park in question borders Burkina Faso and Niger, both hotbeds of Islamic terrorism, where incursions are frequent and poaching stakes are high. The training was well supported and highly successful and concluded with both Level 3 and 4 qualifications.

In February 2022, it was a great shock when word broke about a series of tragic and deliberate attacks where the rangers were targeted. A total of 9 were killed, including our French trainer contact, through whom we were arranging and planning more training for this troubled region. He was one of the unsung heroes of the conservation world: brave, forward thinking, dynamic and always leading from the front. He was amongst several killed in a roadside bomb while responding to an earlier incident. He will not be forgotten by those of us who worked with him for our chosen cause.

This further highlights the dangers faced by those on the very edge of the wide ranging threats to wildlife and environments, not only in Africa, but worldwide. These are the often forgotten corners of the world, where tragic events make small headlines for a day or two and are then largely forgotten.


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