The Conservation Lab 2017

By Brian Huggins

Mango African Safaris was honored to attend the second annual Conservation Lab. The event was held 29 & 30 APR 2017 at Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch, South Africa. This invitation-only event builds bridges between 100+ leaders from the key sectors of conservation, travel, technology, behavioral sciences, philanthropy and government. The Conservation Lab creates optimal conditions for creative thinking and collaborative innovation with the ultimate goal of creating a brighter, more sustainable future for Africa’s wild areas. Wow, quite an event to be a part of. Mango prides itself on staying at the forefront of ecotourism, helping ensure that these beautiful wild areas remain for generations to come. It's not enough to know about the latest camps opening up, Mango strives to actively work towards ecotourism reaching its full potential for supporting wildlife conservation.

The theme this year was to ‘Fight our Way Back’. The cast of attendees was led by famed archeologist, conservationist, and politician Dr. Richard Leakey. In his opening remarks to the group, he said that we are not too late, but that the task ahead will be very difficult. If we want to save the many shrinking wildlife areas and habitats for future generations, then we much act now. Collaboration between key sectors is essential if positive, long-term changes are going to happen. Events such as the Conservation Lab provide the much-needed chance to open lines of dialogue between some of the greatest minds in these areas. 

My personal highlight was the final morning, when I found myself with a few minutes of one on one time with Dr. Leakey during breakfast.  Having always wanted to meet him, and armed with loads of questions about his life, wildlife conservation and much more, I was pretty excited. Needless to say, I was a bit less excited when all we talked about was politics and the current administration here in the US.  Oh well, better luck next time!



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