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GARY DOUGLAS : Butterflies

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meet Gary Douglas

Butterflies are an indicator of the health of an ecosystem 

 

Gary Douglas | Butterfly - Zimbabwe [2007 © greatguides.org]
Butterflies are an indicator of the health of an ecosystem 

 

Gary Douglas | Butterfly - Zimbabwe [2004 © Roddy ] - Gary Douglas - Butterflies - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

For Gary, Butterflies are a jewel of nature. His attention to detail and his love of beauty are only a part of his fascination with butterflies. Gary is not an obsessive lepidopterist; he sees butterflies in their context, as a biological indicator of the health of an ecosystem. Butterflies require specific plants and trees and these beautiful, delicate insects are sensitive to changes in habitat. It is with this understanding that he introduces the entire environment and its dynamic life systems to his guests.

Gary is more than only a  lepidopterist

Gary’s knowledge of the African bush is deep, and built on a life in the wilderness. He grew up in rural Chiredzi in Zimbabwe. His memories of childhood linger, of being dropped off alone at a dam with a fishing rod and food to cook on the fire. He was six. He relished the longer fishing trips in the wild that he took with his Dad.

At 16 he applied to become a park ranger, two years before he was supposed to.The parks officials all knew him by how often he had written letters to them.Out of 6,000 applicants he was one of only seven who qualified. He became an officer in the parks service, and was trained as a pilot, a skill he used to good effect as head of the anti-poaching unit that protected rhino in the Lower Zambezi Valley. He developed good relations with private safari guides, understanding that they were important ‘eyes’ and ears’ in his anti-poaching campaign.He trained them in anti-poaching and realised that training was his core passion.

Gary Douglas - Zimbabwe [2004 © Roddy ] - Gary Douglas - Butterflies - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Gary was head of anti-poaching in the Zambezi Valley

Gary Douglas - Zimbabwe [2004 © Roddy ] - Gary Douglas - Butterflies - Roddy Bray's Great Guides

Leaving the Park Service he became Group Training Manager for the ZimSun tourism group. He also led their birding safaris in Zambia. His success led to his appointment in the mid-90s as guide trainer for Singita, one of the most prestigious safari groups in Africa. He worked with their staff in South Africa, the Serengeti and Zimbabwe, with additional responsibilities including wildlife management and security.

Gary has a passion for training and wildlife management

In 2002 he teamed up with Jonathan Francis, an extremely bright young guide he had trained, to launch their own safari company, with a special interest in rare birds, butterflies and frogs. They have since guided an ‘A’ list of famous families on trips around the world, from the Galapagos to Gabon. Guiding kids is a particular joy for Gary, opening up their understanding and appreciation for nature. Gary, is a gentle and conscientious man, who has done much for guiding and wildlife protection; in sharing his knowledge his success is well deserved.Gary Douglas - Zimbabwe [2004 © Roddy ] - Gary Douglas - Butterflies - Roddy Bray's Great Guides
Gary leading a family on a butterfly safari


 


Author: Roddy Bray
Published Date: 02 Apr 2011
Location: Southern Africa | Zimbabwe
Themes: natural world, travel | insect, conservation, safari guide, fauna