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Wayne Hanssen

wayne and wahuWayne Hanssen Founder of AfriCat with Wahu  

 "I was born and raised on a dry patch . . . and that patch is Okonjima – Namibia – Africa. I do not remember much about the farm before that, for as far as I am concerned - my dream childhood started right here, when I shot my first bird at the age of 7. In my 12th year, I bagged my first cheetah and by the time I reached 15 - I had proudly and ethically hunted my first leopard. To me that was a measure of a man. I may look back now at the age of 47 (2012) and be ashamed by the amount of animals I have killed. . .  but for a boy who is 'wild at heart' to have the opportunity to grow up in the heart of the African bushveld with a rifle, a hunting dog and a local tracker to teach one all the survival skills of the bushman that first roamed this land . . .  it does not get much better than that! One day while out hunting a leopard with a client, which we had already been tracking for 6 hours that morning, we finally spotted it lying on a rock. It was still a 100 paces away and the law of our hunting ethics was never to shoot an animal further than 30m - to give it a 'sporting chance'. I lifted my binoculars and the sight that met my eyes was to change my life forever.

This magnificent animal was looking at a black eagle perched on a rock some 2 meters away. Those green eyes of a leopard meeting that majestic gaze of an eagle; each the king of his own domain! I will never forget the look in those eyes. . . . as the sun rose up behind us!! I was still starring speechless through my field glasses when my client lost his nerve and fired the shot that would stop my hunting career in its tracks. All I saw was the eagle dive off the cliff face and the lights go out! One of the most beautiful animals to walk this planet – was killed for the sheer pleasure of man!? Not because this 'man' was hungry, or because he felt threatened or because he was defending his family or stock – no, this animal was killed - just so that he could go home and to tell those that wanted to listen – that he had bravely, stalked and killed this dangerous animal and now has the trophy to brag about!?? All this just to satisfy the blood thirst of one man and the greed of another! Right there and then I vowed to save the lives of a 100 animals for everyone that I had hunted.

That was to lead to the inception of the AfriCat Foundation back in 1992. It is now 2012 and I can proudly say I have reached that goal. I can really vouch for the phrase that "the best conservationist are those that once where hunters themselves".

 

Today I lead the Okonjima team in a tourism venture that offers our clients 'authenticity' and 'luxury'. Their funds are used for 'conservation', 'environmental education' and our 'social responsibility'.
My Passion . . . is grassland science.
My Dream . . . is to turn Okonjima’s 55 000acres of Nature Reserve into what it once looked like, before man destroyed it due to a lack of understanding the fragile nature of our environment.
My Wish . . . is for the next generation that hold the future of this land in their hands, to learn from our mistakes and to 'BE the change they wish to see' in this beautiful country, Namibia!

 

AfriCat founder, Wayne Hanssen talks 'Grassland-science'!
FILMED AND EDITED BY ITV, UK - © itv 2010. Taking Care of the Land: Wayne Hanssen leads the Okonjima team in a tourism venture that offers their guests 'authenticity' and 'luxury'. Funds are used for 'conservation', 'environmental education' and 'social responsibility'.

 

 

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