Wildlife Queensland is excited to be celebrating women in wildlife conservation and International Women’s Day 2017 with a special brunch featuring guest speaker Sharon Pincott, internationally acclaimed wildlife warrior and author of Elephant Dawn.
Supporters of conservation (of both sexes!) are invited to enjoy this buffet among the bougainvilleas at Southbank’s Ship Inn as Pincott, a Sunshine Coast resident originally from Grantham in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley Region, shares her incredible story of 13 years spent working alone, on a full-time voluntary basis, with the clan of wild, free-roaming, elephants known as the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe.
“If I had to sum up the experience in one word it would be ‘extraordinary’,” said Pincott, “even though it was the best of times and the worst of times.”
“Given the many battles that we all had to face, I developed an incredible bond with families of wild, free-roaming elephants as I helped them through some really tough years. I was fortunate, in time, to be accepted as one of their own; as one of their family,” she said.
As a result of her long period of immersion fieldwork with a single clan of wild animals, Sharon Pincott has been credited with having become ‘to elephants what Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall are to gorillas and chimpanzees’. As did the other two women, she arrived in Africa untrained.
“I think that women have a great capacity for empathy and nurturing – important when working with wildlife,” said Pincott. “I think also it’s perhaps women, more-so than men, who need to hear that they truly can make a difference for wildlife, little by little, one step at a time, and even as just one, lone woman if necessary.”
Well-known as Mandlovu meaning ‘Mother Elephant’ in the local language, Pincott is now a specialist in the field of African elephant behaviour and her extraordinary career is the subject of five books and the award-winning international documentary film, All the President’s Elephants.
“This year’s ‘Be Bold for Change’ theme for International Women’s Day resonates with me,” said Pincott. “I think it’s important for women especially to know that their powers of resilience – which may indeed be needed in this very political world of wildlife – will surprise them. I’ll never regret stepping out of my routine, boldly making my own huge change in the way I lived my life.”
Wildlife Queensland President Peter Ogilvie is proud to host Sharon’s presentation which not only highlights her extraordinary achievements, but also serves to recognise the substantial contribution women have made, and are continuing to make, in the field of wildlife conservation.
“I am in awe of the long-term commitment, personal achievement and knowledge obtained by Sharon Pincott and the other two women mentioned in this release,” he said. “Protecting wildlife in Africa can be just as dangerous to the people as it is to the wildlife they are trying to protect. I look forward to hearing how Sharon tackled and overcame both the tasks she set herself and the inevitable hurdles that others placed in her way.”
Tickets to the event are selling fast, with all proceeds going directly to support Wildlife Queensland’s conservation works here – much closer to home – for our native species such as the platypus, the greater glider and the Richmond birdwing butterfly.