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In 2001, wildlife photographer Chris Weston was on assignment in the Taita Hills reserve in Kenya working on a story about the impact on elephant populations of human encroachment into the region.
While photographing at the scene of an elephant killed by villagers, Weston met Matunde, a man who, in one short exchange, was to change his attitude towards wildlife conservation. Matunde was an uneducated but intelligent man. He lived in a mud hut on small plot of land with his wife and five children, where he grew lettuces - his only source of income.
On the subject of the dead elephant Matunde commented, "I can tell you the value of every square foot of my land. If an elephant wanders through here and tramples half my crop, that's not just a few lettuces it's destroyed, that's half my annual income." He continued, "Let me ask you, Mr Chris, if someone or something came to your home and took half of your annual income, how would you react? What would you do - honestly?"
Matunde opened Chris Weston’s eyes to the real issues surrounding wildlife conservation: That the best way to conserve and protect wildlife is to help those people living around wildlife.
Later, in 2008, Chris Weston met Leo Grillo, a movie producer and actor and passionate animal welfare advocate. The two men found within each other a shared vision for wildlife and between them, they conceived the idea of a book, Animals on the Edge, which Weston authored, which exposes the complex issues surrounding wildlife conservation. The book was just the beginning. Next the two men turned their energy and creativity toward delivering solutions to the many problems Weston uncovered and out of all this was born Animals on the Edge - the NGO.
Our work saves wildlife by helping animals and people to co-exist. With our knowledge and experience, we are in a unique position to make a lasting difference. But we can't do it alone. Help us and together we can - and will - make a difference.
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