Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
– Chief Seattle, 1855
Muzza Munro is a pretty special guy. His work in conservation only began 11 years ago but he has already made a massive impact in protecting this beautiful world we live in. It all started when Muzza had the opportunity to volunteer at one of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee projects in Uganda, Africa. “It was an amazing life changing experience. I decided that helping out animals in need all over the world seemed like a very worthwhile and rewarding way to spend my life.”
Following Africa, Muzza worked in the development and sales of Auckland Zoo’s membership and experience products; promoting conservation on the side. His next move was back across the Tasman to Australia Zoo – Steve Irwin’s legacy in Queensland. “I headed up their Wildlife Warriors charity and raised funds for conservation projects around the world.”
He left the zoo in February to focus on the
So who is Bona? She is a two-year old orphan elephant in Sumatra who at six-months old wandered into a palm oil plantation malnourished and starving to death. “She spent the next 12 months at an elephant camp without the necessary supplements to keep her healthy,” Muzza says.
In February 2012 when her story came to his attention, Bona weighed a tiny 182kg, was malnourished, had curvature of the spine and was very weak. “An elephant of Bona’s age would be naturally drinking from her mother, so her overall body condition was very poor.”
So Muzza started consulting with elephant experts around the world to put a plan in place to save Bona’s life. “Within three weeks of establishing a Facebook page for Bona we raised enough funds to buy her first month of life-saving supplements and began the major logistical task to freight these from Brisbane to Sumatra.”
Then came the time for Muzza to be face-to-trunk with his little girl. “After weeks living and breathing Bona, it was an emotional encounter to finally interact with her – she was more incredible than we would have ever imagined.”
If, or should we say when, Bona survives Muzza says she will play an important role in protecting diminishing habitat for her species. “One day when she is big and strong enough she will join the Conservation Response Unit team to patrol against illegal poachers and plantation encroachment that will harm her species’ last remaining precious habitat.”
Bona is getting better and better every day too. “She is still not out of the woods but her improvements make it much more hopeful that she will grow up to be a strong and healthy elephant.
So what is next for Earth Warrior Muzza Munro? Well while he was in Sumatra he met Jonny the Sun Bear and Dara the Tiger who are both in need of new homes, so once he has raised all of the funds needed to help Bona he will begin helping these two. “The Elephant Conservation Centre is also under threat from mining so we will need to see what we can do to stop this from happening.”
Muzza is also very keen to get younger people around the world more involved in conservation through an Earth Warrior kids program – “to give kids a voice and a chance to make a difference.” While in Sumatra he spoke to the school kids there as raising awareness in the local communities is so important to help reduce human/elephant conflict.
Photos courtesy of Save Bona
Education is vital in the quest to save our planet so I always encourage young people to get out and learn as much as they can about the environment they live in. Make yourself aware of the issues and stand up for what you believe in. If you see something wrong then speak out. You have a voice and people will listen.
– Muzza Munro