Our fields and forests, the wild edges of our city, are theirs too…
They live in the shadows, moving quietly between their natural habitats and the last vestiges of open space left near our towns and suburbs. Many are nocturnal, emerging after dusk to follow well-worn paths in search of food. They are quick, vigilant, and able to forage within a wild larder that regularly involves criss-crossing both human and natural landscapes.
They are our wild neighbours, creatures great and small, hardy and resilient who still call this patch of land, home. Adaptable, resourceful, these small mammals somehow manage to live alongside the ever-expanding suburbs, contending with ever-increasing threats, living deeper in the shadows with each year.
My admiration for these animals knows no bounds, I have been drawn to their secretive lives since my childhood in rural Hout Bay, and I speak out for them at every opportunity.
My work through Wild Neighbours is guided by Jane Goodall’s words “The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves“, and I hope that these words and the images that I continually share, inspire people to see nature anew, to realise the extraordinary privilege of our interconnection, and to work with all our combined efforts to hold onto all that is wild and free in our beautiful world.
A life without the call of a robin, the arrival of the swallows at the onset of spring, the bark of a baboon deep in the mountains, or the sound of foxes on a still night, will echo with a loneliness that is too profound to even begin to imagine.
Now is our time to make changes, to speak out, to act on their behalf.
Belinda Ashton 2020