Friday, 11 October 2013

Update: Tom and the crocodile 30 years on.

Tom is living happily in the USA and it seems he is now completely pain free for the first time, thirty years after the attack.  It did, however, require another round of serious surgery.

Tom's new titanium knee.

Like always, there is forever something new to learn from this unique friend of mine:

Some twelve years ago he resigned as senior ranger in the Kruger National Park and emigrated to the USA.  People who knew him as well as I do were unanimous in their predictions that he would soon be back in Africa.  All of us were under the impression that anyone with such a passion for nature and the wild outdoors cannot survive anywhere else but on this dark continent.

We were all wrong.

I followed suit two years later, and in my ten years in the UK there was not a single day I did not dream of Africa.  I became totally obsessed - it was the most boring ten years of my life.  I simply had to come back or be institutionalised.

Only now do I realise that it depends on where you go and what you do. 

Tom has done a remarkable job of crossing the Rubicon.  I'm sure his love for lions, buffalo and elephant will never wane, but he has managed to immerse himself with great gusto in a different frame of mind concerning nature.
He has spent eight years doing research on the highly endangered Carson Wandering Skipper, and he does freelance work for both the California Department of Fish and Game, and the Nevada Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Carson Wandering Skipper

He is also deeply involved in the rehabilitation of old military training areas and restoring large tracts of land to its former natural state.  Where there used to be unexploded ordnance and other nasty stuff, there are now bears, deer and butterflies.
It just goes to show - there is much, much more to nature than just the big and dangerous stuff we're all so keen on.

I am happy to note he is still creating the most awesome wildlife sculptures - do check it out on

If any of my friends in the USA should wander into Cabela's in Reno, you might get to meet the legend himself in the Gun Library.  Trust Yssel to do some freelancing in a place where he can fondle the occasional Greener, Rigby, Holland&Holland, Nitro Express and other old friends.  Not that he would ever find a use for them again, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if he has acquired a considerable collection by now.

With all that said and done I still cannot help but sometimes wonder......
There is no stronger bond of friendship and trust than stepping into the dense reeds together, in pursuit of a buffalo wounded by poachers.
Reminds me of the old 1969 hit song by Peter Sarsted "where do you go to....when you're alone in your bed...."        Could it be Africa?



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