FLYING THE FLAG HIGH IN SUPPORT OF WILDLIFE RANGERS
INTERVIEW WITH TIMBAVATI’S HEAD OF RANGER SERVICES | ORLAT NDLOVU
In a grand display of support for wildlife conservation, a private screening of the powerful documentary film "Rhino Man" was recently held in the United Kingdom (UK), hosted by United For Wildlife. Prince William and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, graced the event with their presence and support. The exclusive gathering served as a platform to shed light on the urgent need for rhino protection and the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
The Impact of "Rhino Man"
Filmed in the heart of the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, "Rhino Man," a gripping film by The Global Conservation Corps, aims to expose the harrowing reality of rhino poaching and the incredible individuals dedicated to saving these magnificent creatures from extinction. The film showcases the tireless efforts of rangers, conservationists, and local communities in Africa who risk their lives to protect rhinos and disrupt the illegal wildlife trade. By highlighting their stories of courage and resilience, "Rhino Man" ignites a sense of urgency and encourages global collaboration to safeguard these iconic animals.
A Platform for Awareness and Action:
The private screening provided a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the critical conservation challenges faced by rhinos and other endangered species. It served as a rallying call for attendees to lend their support and resources to initiatives combating wildlife crime and preserving biodiversity. Prince William, through his presence and impassioned speech, emphasized the importance of collective action, urging governments, organizations, and individuals to join forces in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
Flying the Flag High:
Our very own, Head of Ranger Services, Orlat Ndlovu attended this prestigious event and ensured that his late colleague, Anton Mzimba’s message was heard. This experience was an absolute once-in-a-life-time opportunity for Orlat; we asked him a couple of questions to shed light on his exciting experience:
Q: What was it like going to OR Tambo International Airport for the first time?
A: I felt like I was lost, I was nervous, and I felt under pressure trying to find my way around and trying to find my bags. With so many people and everyone walking fast to get on the right bus from the plane into the airport… It was interesting. A big challenge for me but I learned a lot by self-navigating.
Q: What did you think of the UK?
A: It was very different to South Africa. In the UK I felt safe, and the people were very friendly to me. The kindness of the people I met was lovely. It was a busy place, but people were very helpful. It was a wonderful place to be.
Q: We all want to know, what was it like meeting Prince William?
A: I was so excited before physically meeting him, I felt like I was dreaming. It was not something that I thought would ever happen to me. I thought to myself; Is it really me that is going to meet the Prince? I started getting nervous when I heard that he was at the door. I started shaking. When he came to meet us, I couldn’t believe it. I had to calm myself down. It was so lovely meeting him; he is so kind and polite. He really is one of a kind.
Q: What did you think when you saw your name tag on the seat next to the Prince?
A: I was scared, it was the first time at such a large event, and I had to say a speech. I was nervous that I wasn’t going to do the right thing. I wasn’t sure how to be or act. I was worried that I was going to fall when I had to stand up right next to the Prince and walk to the stage. After meeting him I realised that I didn’t have to be scared, he made me feel safe around him and he made me feel at home. I enjoyed his company. He asked me to walk with him and his guards so that we could talk and he expressed his appreciation for what we do.
Q: Are you proud of the documentary that you featured in?
A: I am so proud, thanks to the team for all the effort they have put in to make this a success. Watching the documentary being screened made me realise that people from all over want to help. Like the late Anton Mzimba said ‘’we are not doing this for us, we are doing this for the world’’ I hope that the documentary touches many people and educates people on the work we are doing. I am hoping that the documentary changes people’s perspective on field rangers and the job we are doing. It really shows what we do, I am so excited about the success of the documentary.
Q: What was your favourite part of the trip?
A: The whole trip was amazing, flying on the big plane and landing at Heathrow International Airport was incredible but of course, meeting the Prince, when he walked up to me and shook my hand, that was my favourite!
Orlat’s journey and memories of this special event has provided him with more hope and support than ever before. A big thank you to all the partners involved, with special mention of the Global Conservation Corps (GCC) for making this special moment happen. We look forward to full release of this documentary within this year! Keep an eye out for the official release of Rhino Man.