Blythe Loutit

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Blythe Loutit (died in 2005) wiki

"When Loutit moved to Namibia from South Africa in 1980, poaching was out of control across the continent. The Kenyan Government had taken to shooting poachers on sight, which seemed only to draw more brutal gangs from Somalia armed with AK47s...

"She attended school in Pietermaritzburg and went on to study drawing at the South African National Botanical Institute. She met Rudi Loutit at the Wilderness Leadership School in Natal and married him in 1973. They dreamt of a life together in Angola, but civil war there made them turn to Namibia instead. Rudi Loutit became a manager at the Skeleton Coast National Park while his wife tried to concentrate on drawing, but the watering holes were surrounded by rotting rhino and elephant carcasses about which Windhoek seemed unconcerned. She founded the Namibia Wildlife Trust with her friend, Ina Britz, and by 1983 they had joined forces with another group, the Wildlife Society of Namibia. A remarkable collective of tribal chiefs, journalists, housewives, diamond miners, soldiers and geologists became the Save the Rhino Trust, the first benefactor of which was an orphaned rhino calf which Loutit named Nabas.

"Blythe’s good humour and stubbornness were vital in the bleak early days. Soon, groups such as the David Shepherd Wildlife Trust raised money for the SRT, which recruited ex-poachers as guards. Politicians and industrialists who came to Namibia for trophies were identified. Vitally, the regime in Pretoria began to curb the excesses of the SADF and in 1988 they were withdrawn. Upon independence in 1990 Namibia became the first country to write environmental protection into its constitution...

"Loutit stepped down as director of SRT in 2001. Her legacy has been dealt a series of blows: her research director, Mike Hearn, died while surfing in January, and in February the death of the rhino Nabas gave warning of new human interference...

"In 1988 Loutit was awarded the Peter Scott Merit Award; in 1991 she was awarded the Operation Survival Award and in 2001 the BBC’s Animal Award for the Conservation of a Species. She was admired as a wildlife artist and she illustrated six books on the flora of Namibia as well as her children’s book, The Magic Elephant of the Namib. Today Namibia is the last place where black rhino live unrestricted by fences or armed guards." [1]

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  1. Blythe Loutit, The Times, accessed June 23, 2009.