Mark Haldane’s South African diction came across clearly through the WhatsApp link. “I avoid cities as much as possible” was his answer to my query of whether the months he spends in his Coutada 11 concession in Mozambique ever made him miss civilization. Following on, I asked about what he liked the most about any natural area and, specifically, Coutada 11? “My greatest enjoyment comes from knowing all the bits of the environment” was his immediate answer. He went on, “I know all the animals in my concession. I know all of the plants, except for the trees. I’m working on learning the tree species right now.” I realized as I listened to Mark that I was hearing Robert Ruark’s assessment of the African Professional Hunter’s motivation. Mark Haldane did indeed give voice to “a simple love of outdoors and creatures, as against a hatred for the contrived living of cities, for the claustrophobic contrivances of civilization”…But, where did Mark’s passion for untamed wilderness, and against human contrivances, originate? In other words, what was the beginning point for the evolution of this particular PH…?
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