Today is International Women's Day 2020; a day to celebrate and hero women and all of their accomplishments.
Whilst we could use this day to write about huge conservationists and biologists who are pushing boundaries on flora and fauna conservation, instead, I want to write about my favourite adult human (sorry but favourite human will always go to my goddaughter Hattie!) Ranger Jodie.
For anyone that doesn't know, Ranger Jodie is a manager at a chimpanzee sanctuary in Cameroon. She lives in a 225 acre protected forest and cares for over 70 chimps daily. Chimps at the sanctuary have been rescued from poachers and from being used as entertainment in tourist attractions. These chimps are unable to be released into the wild for many complex reasons, including being too comfortable around humans. A fully grown chimp is incredibly dangerous and the risk of rerelease would be too great for both the chimp and locals.
Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue was set up by Dr Sherri Speede - another incredible woman! The sanctuary not only protects, cares and provides for the chimpanzees, it also has a huge education programme focused on educating children with aims to turn the future tide on illegal bushmeat poaching. They also work very closely with law enforcement and support agricultural projects to help protect chimpanzees natural habitats. It is an incredible centre which deserves far more recognition and support for its work supporting chimpanzees in Cameroon.
So why have I chosen to write about Jodie on International Women's Day? Well, despite an incredibly hard and taxing job, she is always the person who fixes my crown without telling the world it was crooked. Jodie is the person I can bounce ideas off of and she always tells me what I need to hear, even when it gets hard. She is unashamedly unapologetic in her quest to make the world a better place for animals and is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She inspires me to push The ARC further to achieve all that it can possibly be. Jodie is a true unsung hero and on a day designed to promote female excellence I believe she deserves to be in the spotlight.
For more information on SYCR (including how to support them or apply for their volunteer programme!) check out their website.