I send you a tiding from the Ethiopian savanna.
The wild animals of Africa and the endless savanna. . . It’s to see
these that I have come to Africa.
The photograph shows some Swayne’s hartebeest, wild animals that I
encountered when I first came to Africa in 1996. In the sanctuary, there
are only 100 individuals of the Swayne’s hartebeest. In the Red Data
Book, these are recorded as animals in danger of extinction. Arssi Oromo
people cultivate the land and graze livestock in and around the sanctuary.
The Swayne’s hartebeest are ordinary animals, but if you see them every
day, you grow attached to them.
I had lived in this area for two years, as one of the Japan Overseas Cooperation
Volunteers. I became a postgraduate student, and then returned here again.
Why do wild animals become threatened with extinction? Why are the local
people, who are assiduously getting on with making their living, made into “villains”?
With questions like these in mind, I am doing research on the relationships
between the local people and wildlife conservation.
The sun looks big on the savanna. When the sun is at its zenith, at mid-day,
one hears the cries of the cow-herders minding their cattle, and the twittering
of birds. Night-time, by contrast, is quiet under a great expanse of stars.
From time to time the barking of hyena and jackal can be heard. It is all
indescribably beautiful. Captivated as I am by the warmth of the local people
and the beauty of the nature, I may have returned again to Africa. I’m
shortly going to move to National Park a little to the south of here. I’ll
send you news again, from there.