I was more than a little excited when WordPress Discover contacted me recently to discuss the possibility of being interviewed for a feature on UN World Wildlife Day, March 3.
WordPress Discover describes itself as “a destination site featuring the best writing, photography, art, and work published with WordPress” — so to be featured in such a prestigious space is a huge compliment — and a huge boost for both my blog, and spreading the word on the wildlife-related causes I write about.
To be featured on World Wildlife Day itself? I’m still pinching myself!
The below extract is taken from WordPress Discover, from a feature by Carolyn wells:
Giving a Voice to the Voiceless: Kate on Conservation
Blogging gives everyone a chance to talk about the issues concerning them. You can use your blog to campaign, educate, or simply to share.
March 3 is the official UN World Wildlife Day 2020 — designed to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. This message is also the driving force behind the blog Kate on Conservation. As Kate describes it, her blog gives a voice to the voiceless.
You wanted to start a blog to raise conservation awareness. What successes have you seen?
I know for a fact the blog has encouraged others to join protest marches, following my post about my own experience of joining a demo against the capture and slaughter of dolphins at Taiji Cove in Japan, and I’ve had people tell me that before reading my blog they’d never heard of canned lion hunting or realized that they too may have encountered this industry while in South Africa. It’s particularly heart-warming when I hear people are now supporting a specific NGO I’d mentioned, or are following a specific animal’s story after reading my posts.
It was actually a blog post I’d written and shared about Born Free Foundation that led one of the charity’s founders to reach out to me, and invite me to become more involved with their work. Eventually, that’s evolved to my serving on the Board of Trustees for Born Free, and I’ve been involved in conservation solutions at a much higher level than I’d ever imagined.
Today is World Wildlife Day: a day for highlighting the needs of the world’s wildlife. How would you suggest contributing to helping conservation?
The theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day is “Sustaining all life on Earth,” which is of course about biodiversity and connects to Goal 15 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Life on Land. This goal is very much about supporting our forests and ancient woodlands.
I would encourage everyone who wants to help to look and see if there are any local tree-planting initiatives near them and give them some support. Join in and plant a tree, or look at organizations like the Woodland Trust, who can advise you on how to plant your own tree to the best effect. Consider joining an environmental campaign to support our ancient woodlands, or simply go outside for a walk. The best way to appreciate nature and wildlife is to immerse yourself in it. Pay attention to the wildlife you see (or the lack of it in some cases!) — it may inspire you to find your own personal way of contributing.
Like any interview, my chat with WordPress Discover has gone through an editing process. The good thing about being a blogger is; you have your own space to go a bit further!
So in the spirit of World Wildlife Day; here are a few extra questions and answers from our original interview that I’d love to share with my readers..
Your site looks at the complicated world of wildlife conservation. Was there a particular incident that inspired you to start a website on this issue?
I actually began my WordPress site back in 2011, as part of a ‘Web Publishing’ module of my journalism degree. I chose to start the blog about ongoing conservation issues that linked to my earlier experience of volunteering at Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa.
At first I related everything I wrote to the experiences and work that I had completed as a volunteer, but it didn’t take too long for it to spread beyond that. You soon realise that every issue is rooted in something else, or impacts another area. That’s where it really starts getting interesting
In what ways are you using your website to educate others?
Everything I write is with a view to educate, whether it’s about a conservation issue at large, an animal welfare-related fundraising project or new products or services that are tackling an important environmental crisis.
I try and reach people in a variety of ways; through interviews with conservationists and storytellers, in-depth articles, listicles, guest posts by other conservationists, infographics, reviews of natural history books or wildlife films, or reports from the frontline (including my own experience with particular projects, events and protests)
You cover some very distressing issues in some of your posts — such as trophy hunting and circus animals. Is doing the necessary research difficult?
I think it used to be, but as the years have gone on, it’s given me more of a fire in my belly; a determination to keep speaking out and working towards changing attitudes and changing legislation.
I get angry and determined now, and try to channel that into something good; rather than getting distressed and upset. It’s very rare for things to upset me now, but it still happens very occasionally, and is usually something quite specific and related to an individual.
I think the last time something got to me was Lewis the koala, who passed away after being rescued by Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in New South Wales, Australia – I was really cheering him on after his rescue, and believed that his story would be a happy one.
I actually broke down when I read they’d had to end his life, to me he represented the loss of so much of Australia’s biodiversity.
After that, I set up a fundraiser for Port Macquarie Koala Hospital (an online raffle) and worked with a tee shirt brand called Ivory Ella to promote the sale of their Australian Wildlife Rescue t-shirts, with 100% of profits going to Animals Australia. I felt like I had to do something with the platform I have.