The Andrew Harper Traveler spoke with David Grant Luck of Wilderness Safaris.
What inspired you to become a guide?
I guess there were many inspirations leading up to my decision to become a guide. Most important was my late father, Walter, who was actively involved with and was the chairman of the Copperbelt branch of the Wildlife Society in Zambia. He was a huge inspiration to me as a youngster. Spending the little time I had with him in the bush and meeting prominent individuals like Lee and Gerald Durrell and Sir David Shepherd fed my passion for all things wild. Having a number of pet flap-necked chameleons, snakes and other critters also contributed somewhat. Ultimately being able to share my knowledge and love for the bush with my guests and friends was another huge inspiration. To me, this is most rewarding.
Why is conservation important to Wilderness Safaris?
Wilderness Safaris realized at its inception, more than 25 years ago, that due to various factors—namely human impact and encroachment, alternative forms of land use and mismanagement of these wild and very remote areas—we as a company would have to take on a very progressive and responsible role in conserving these areas before they are lost forever.
Not only are these last remaining wild places of concern to us now, but also what happens to these areas in the future. Reaching out to local people in adjacent communities and getting them empowered, educated and involved with ecotourism is a huge priority as well. After all, the communities and their peoples, especially the young folk, will be future custodians of this environmental wealth for generations to come.
How do you weave ecotourism into your program?
Fortunately, my fellow travelers who accompany me on these incredible journeys are all very discerning, globally caring individuals. They are people who are already connected to the global environmental concern. They have chosen to travel to our destinations with Wilderness Safaris so that they can experience firsthand the awesome wilderness areas we have access to, and experience the culture of the people living in and around them.
I am a passionate conservationist and this, together with my passion for the wild places on this planet, is testament in my life. By sharing my knowledge and safely guiding guests through these amazing areas, I try to bring a sense of wonder at the intricate fragility of these ecosystems, which hopefully leaves a lasting impression and an even stronger desire to conserve the wild places on this planet, regardless of where they are. I hope their experience here inspires them to make more environmentally conscious choices in their daily lives and, of course, that they come back to experience more of the wonders of Africa.
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