Don Lindsay has just written a novel that is not really fiction at all. It is the story of the game ranching industry in South Africa. It is the story of three generations of a South African family that explains the entire ranching industry, i.e. the restoration of game and wildlife to a land that had been denuded of wildlife for livestock – the re-wilding of South Africa. The family’s ranch is the very first wild game ranch in RSA. I understand it is, in part, Don’s own family story.
The reader witnesses the conflict between livestock and ranching of game as game is restored. The beef and livestock industry was king and absolutely above economic challenge. On top of the conflict between livestock and wild game ranching, the concomitant biopolitical issues are seen in real context. The issues of today are each addressed in turn as the third generation son courts a beautiful expatriate young woman who has a strong protectionist philosophy. She is with the news media and has come to Africa to save its wildlife and to report what must be done. In the end, she understands, as will the reader, “a hunter and his contribution to the wild.”
It is a genius of a book. The introduction by Ian Player, the father of rhino conservation in South Africa, makes it even more compelling reading. Don was President of the International Professional Hunters Association (IPHA) for 14 years and President of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) for nine years. Don cites that he is a member of Shikar Safari Club and a founding and current member of Conservation Force. Many know him as the owner of African Railwood. It was he who grew up around the first game ranches. His book is dedicated “to those conservationists and hunters whose passion it is to bring wildlife back to the land from where it was eliminated in the past, and to keep wildlife on the land where it is constantly threatened at present.” Noble indeed.
The hunting community owes Don a great deal for all he has done and now for capturing the win for wildlife and habitat in this book. The book is available from the Rowland Ward website (www.rowlandward.com).
South Africans boast that the returning numbers of wildlife is the “greatest terrestrial success story ever.” Initially, no one could believe horns or game could be worth anything at all, much less far exceed the value of beef. Today, all wild species are thriving in South Africa, even the cattle-killing lion and leopard. The rhino is undergoing serious poaching in Kruger National Park, but still remains at its highest population in over 100 years. Who would believe that lion and leopard would ever be anything but vermin, killers of livestock and people? This is a remarkable story told in a remarkable way by a remarkable conservationist and friend. Thank you, Don. We are so very proud you have been a part of Conservation Force from its founding.