The Knysna turaco, or, in South Africa, Knysna lourie, is a large turaco, one of a group of African musophagidae birds. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
The Knysna turaco, or, in South Africa, Knysna lourie, is a large turaco, one of a group of African musophagidae birds. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

Garden Game Ranger Challenge helping people explore nature in their own backyards

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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Cape Town - With people remaining indoors during the strict lockdown, a Facebook platform encouraged them to explore the natural wildlife surrounding their homes, to help them avoid Covid-19 anxiety.

The Facebook page - The Garden Game Ranger Challenge - was created for people seeking a form of sanity amid the pandemic, while they were restricted from moving around.

People were encouraged to participate in the wildlife challenge by searching for any species within their surroundings and posting a picture on the page for discussion with others taking part in the initiative.

Founder Jason McCall, said: “Nature has a way of positively distracting people from negative scenarios. I wanted to combine that with the idea that for those who are lucky enough to have gardens or backyards, they are privy to seeing a whole world of wildlife right in front of them.”

McCall said his love for wildlife and the need to get people to think about something other than being restricted in the lockdown inspired him to start the group.

People from all over the world are taking part in the challenge, posting pictures or videos of birds, bees, insects and snakes.

“By taking the time to photograph, post and discuss these finds, they’re investing in those creatures and hopefully see the importance of their preservation. This includes seeing the knock-on effect that losing these creatures will have on the world. Start with the small to save the big,” McCall said.

There are now 70 countries involved, posting their backyard and garden wildlife shots on the group. South Africa features in about 80% of the posts, and includes Polokwane, Durban and Cape Town.

“Older people who aren’t necessarily tech-savvy are taking photos and uploading them, they’re becoming part of a community on social media, and the youth are discovering their garden and nature. They’re learning about interesting things such as why bees are important and how snakes can be identified and so on,” he said.

McCall said there was also a sense of pride created when a picture or video was posted, it didn’t matter whether it was of a moth or a mamba.

“All creatures have a part in the lives of humans, and this message comes across every day.

“I don’t have the facts, but from what people are posting on the group, sightings of creatures certainly increased quite a bit during the lockdown, including species of birds returning to areas where they had not been seen for many years,” he said.

To become a part of this group, visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/219250855821679/.

@Sukainaish

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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