Sport fisherman will know the feeling: when the line snaps free from the outrigger and the reel starts to scream; moments later, the rod in your hands is bent into a tight curve with what feels like an elephant dragging along at the other end. All the waiting is over, all the searching for long, boring hours wondering whether it's really worth it. But now, almost certainly, it is. This is the prize the big one. So it is with a safari guide who, after days, even weeks, of searching for the elusive leopard, suddenly spies a flash of gold, maybe a tail dangling like a bell- pull from the branches of the tree. There is a sudden thrill of recognition, then a warm sense of achievement, satisfaction and excitement as he whispers dramatically to his guests, "Leopard!"
I am a painter.
I have sat with Diane Fossey's gorillas in the high forests of Rwanda, mingled with the wild chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, trapped, tranquillized, held and released a wild snow leopard in the Altay Mountains of Mongolia, tracked Siberian tigers in the wilderness of Vladivostok, been surrounded by brown bears as they fished for salmon in Alaska and spent many days following the great wildebeeste migration in the Serengeti and southern Kenya. I feel truly blessed.
I have written two books and, for the past 24 years, had my paintings
published by The