Conservation in a vacuum

14 May, 2013 § Leave a comment

When we went out to Morocco, Sian asked us to find some Vitamin E oil or similar for reducing scarring. This was for a young girl in the village of Lahcen where they work who had had some hot oil splashed on her face and hand the previous week. The woman had approached Sian and Ahmed to help and of course they rushed her to hospital and made sure that she was admitted and got the right treatment. Sian wanted to make sure that the girl had the minimum scarring from the incident, especially since the wound was on her face.

The whole affair made me think about in situ conservation projects and their interaction with the local people. I think all too frequently conservation projects focus on the animals or the habitats without considering the impact on the local people. Without building a positive relationship with the people whose lives are impacted by both the wildlife and the efforts to protect it I feel success is limited. While we were driving around with Sian and Ahmed we often picked up shepherds and school kids and families and gave them a lift to wherever they were going. We stopped to talk to everyone and everyone recognised the monkey bus and waved. Without this kind of relationship with the people how much success can conservation achieve?

I found it incredibly inspiring to see the respect and affection that the project has for the people and the people for the project. I look forward to having a chance to work with BMCRif in the future.

This is the view from the BMCRif house in Lahcen in the morning!

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