Bright and early on the morning of Friday November 6 , I sat down with Wildlife Rescue volunteer and teacher, Ms. Quirien Mulder ten Kate, for an interview to ask her about her knowledge on wildlife. My objective was to gain a clearer perspective on what it was like for my eminent person, Joy Adamson, to work with lions, and to learn about the obstacles she may have faced in the process of returning them back into the wild.

At 8:00am, I began the interview with a question that relates to my eminent person’s work quite well: Do you think that releasing animals back into the wild is important?

“I would think so,” she said, “The work that I would do…is a slightly different situation [because] I work mostly with birds, and so the birds that come in are injured due to human reasons. Because of development, because of transportation, because of density, we are encroaching on a lot of the animals’ habitats, and as a result, there are more interactions between people and wildlife. Therefore, more wildlife gets injured. Quite a few of the animals are coming in due to urbanization and bringing animals and people closer together. The objective for wildlife rescue is to get them back into the wild as soon as possible”

For me ,” she explained, “it is very important because due to our habits and our ways of living, we are making it really difficult for these animals to make a living and to be alive. So I think it is our responsibility to do the best we can with rehabilitating them if at all possible.”

When she added that helping all the animals is difficult since the “funding is very limited”, it brought another question to mind, which was if she had heard of the Born Free Foundation or World Wildlife Fund—two organizations that Joy Adamson had helped to create. Indeed she had, so I asked her if she could tell me a bit more about them.

With World Wildlife Fund, I know that a lot of their focus is on endangered species. What people have also come to realize is its great to rescue all these animals, but they also need a safe habitat to be returned to. It is important for [animals] to go back to their native habitat for genetic reasonsWhat World Wildlife Fund has come to realize is that its not just the animal that needs to be protected, but you need to protect the habitat”

After this portion of the interview, I began to move into some more personal questions. I asked her about when she first realized that she had a passion for animals. As a child, she had been surrounded by animals, so naturally, she became attached.  “It usually has to do with someone in your life that gets you interested,” she explained. This  made me wonder about if Joy had been inspired by someone in her life as well as a child.

Next I decided to question her about her opinion on zoos. Although it may sound like a general question, she provided very good points supporting both views of the situation. There were many ideas, but for writing purposes, I narrowed it down to specific pros and cons.

  • Pros
    • There are zoos that have Landscape immersion that is better than normal zoos since:
      • “Animals would have more space to roam freely”
      • The wouldn’t necessarily be caged”
      • “You would use natural landscape features like channels and canals to separate the animal from the public”
      • “You would have to pay a hefty fee that would be used for the zoo”
    • Zoos help “For endangered breeding purposes”
    • They are useful “For educational purposes”
  • Cons
    • “Due to space limitations, they [walk] in circles and don’t have a chance to exhibit their natural behaviour”
    • Having zoos may make people want to see them in the wild

At the end of the discussion, she concludes, “I guess that there is no certain answer…”

I had several other questions including, ‘Do you think Joy’s race and class have her an advantage to spreading her message,’ ‘Are there specific challenges with working with wild animals,’ and ‘Do you believe that people currently have a good understanding about wildlife and are putting an effort into preventing their suffering?’

As with all the other questions I asked, she provided me with detailed and knowledgeable answers that got me thinking about what it was like for Joy Adamson. One of the most interesting things I learned was that:

“One of the challenges [is that] you tend to have mammals for a longer period of time because their recovery is more complicated, and so what happens is you have to be very careful about something called imprinting. Some animals [in particular] imprint on people, especially the young ones…Once they have imprinted on people, you can’t release them because if you release them into the wild, they would go after people.”

In the end of the interview, I asked if she could point me towards any more leads that could help me if I had questions about my eminent person and her work. Finally, I thanked her one more time as I walked out the door, my mind fresh with new information that kept me wanting to learn more.