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Brendan Whittington-Jones cut his conservation teeth in the complex habitat of suburban Cape Town. Ignoring the lure of European starlings, pine trees, frigid rocky shores, Fynbos, dogs, cats and home, he chose to follow his older brothers to Rhodes University. In the valley bushveld of the Eastern Cape he studied Zoology and Entomology with the aim of doing something vaguely similar to David Attenborough or the men who led him and fellow school pupils on an iMfolozi wilderness trail in 1993. Following a brief study stop in Pretoria, and a period living the South African-graduate-in-Britain dream of minimum wage labour and travel, he settled into a manic and life-altering three years at a private game reserve in Zululand with iMfolozi Game Reserve just 20 kilometres away. Curiously this Zululand chapter led to a swirl of years cleaning up after zoo animals in Iraq, the USA and Afghanistan before temporarily resettling in Cape Town. When the iMfolozi temptation resurfaced in the form of a wild dog research post, he grabbed it. Seven years of indulging in game reserve life assaulted his perceptions of conservation space and success, taught him to judge people based on whether they liked wild dogs or not, and allowed him privileged access into the ecological utopia of northern KwaZulu-Natal province. He developed an addiction to pies and midday braais. He currently lives in Oman.
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