Several of the conservationists he meets here are almost in tears as they contemplate the prospect of a world in which elephants and rhinos have been poached to extinction.
In Botswana, the government has decided that the primary role of its army should be to stop poaching. But the area is vast, and in the dry season as all the elephants travel north to the Chobe River, they’re effectively sitting ducks.
And in Tanzania, Tom meets Tony Fitzjohn who came to Africa to work with George Adamson and now protects rhinos in a sanctuary patrolled by 22 armed guards. “Look at me,” he tells Tom. “I’m the Born Free generation and I’m building fences.” (x)
Shocking fact: In the 1930s there were believed to be nearly five million elephants ranging free in Africa. Today, the total is thought to be less than half a million.
But as Tom’s African trek draws to a close, he is determined not to be despondent. He completes his journey at a rhino sanctuary in Tanzania, where a baby elephant turns up to bid him a surprise farewell.