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September 02, 2013
It is with our
greatest pleasure that we at the Tikki Hywood Trust would like to
welcome Kirsty Coventry to our family. Kirsty is Africa’s
greatest Olympian and we are truly delighted that she has fallen
in love with the smaller creatures of our country such as the Pangolin.
Every ‘underdog’ needs a hero, who is willing and able
to talk on their behalf. A voice is one of the first step to bring
awareness to a specie's plight and helping to bring them back from
the brink of extinction. Even though Kirsty's love affair started
with Naia, a paralysed orphaned otter – she will be lending
her voice to the other lesser known endangered species of Africa
hand in hand with us, the Tikki Hywood Trust.
Here is a word
from Zimbabwe's "Golden Girl" herself;
When I won my
first Olympic medal the cameras were not focused on me at all. They
were focused on the two fastest lanes, the middle lanes, 5 and 6.
At this stage, I wasn’t even the underdog - I was nobody.
I know what
it is like to be the underdog and because of that I am proud to
announce that I am partnering with the Tikki Hywood Trust. This
is a Trust based in Harare, Zimbabwe, that benefits the smaller,
often overlooked animals: the underdogs like the Pangolin, Bat-Eared
Fox and Serval.
Only in my 2nd
and final lap did the commentators realise there was someone else
there, someone (from the outside lane) who was to be reckoned with,
someone from a small African country, a country that one would not
expect swimmers to come from, a continent that one would not expect
swimmers to come from! But suddenly this someone was being recognised,
this someone who had gone against the grain, against everyone’s
belief, stood her ground and believed in herself, believed that
the underdogs deserve to be recognized, and won a Silver medal.
I know the amount
of work it takes to get your voice heard and because of that I want
to help the little guy, I want to help the ones that are often overlooked.
My first project
is to help rehabilitate Naia. Naia is an 8-month Cape Clawless Otter
that was found injured by dogs. Her back legs were both paralyzed
and left dragging behind her as her front legs pulled her forward.
I have been swimming with her for the last week and she has been
making a tremendous recovery.
My ongoing ambassadorial
role will be to help the Pangolin get onto the endangered list.
The Pangolin is a much revered and respected symbol in Zimbabwe.
It is held with such high regard that if found, the Pangolin must
be taken to a Chief. Sadly this isn’t the case and they are
being sold for export or eaten. Very little is known about these
creatures but we are currently employing researchers and working
with international organisations around the world to help us better
understand them. Of great importance right now is to get these creatures
onto the endangered list so no one is allowed to export and/or eat
them. Allow the Pangolins to become protected and remain a Symbol
of respect and honour to our Chiefs, not a myth we can only tell
our Children about.
I look forward
to working closely with the Tikki Hywood Trust and opening dialogue
with all interested and caring Governments and organisations.
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