*During Women’s History Month, the Shepherds of Wildlife Society highlights women who are or have pioneered the fight for indigenous rural communities’ most basic human rights to manage their renewable natural resources.*
Today we highlight Sue Tidwell, author of “Cries of the Savanna: An adventure. An awakening. A journey to understanding African wildlife conservation,” and staunch advocate for sharing the voices of small rural communities in Tanzania, Africa, on a global scale. Tidwell’s inaugural title has won numerous awards since its initial publishing. It has been a foundation for her platform to connect with readers and audiences and “help them fall in love with Africa - and therefore care about the people and wildlife there.”
Tidwell wrote her novel after she traveled to Tanzania, when she was exposed firsthand to the challenges local communities had with wildlife management. She recognized the need to connect readers with the story of wildlife management and its significance to the local people. She shares, “I want to give people a voice locally and help people understand conservation from different perspectives, especially of those who live there and deal with it.” Tidwell is one of the only women to write a book on this theme and in this genre, which includes other titles such as “Killing the Shepherd - Beyond the Film.”
Caption: Sue in Tanzania with game scout Lillian (credit Sue Tidwell)
Before her trip, Tidwell “was much more emotionally attached to wildlife there than in the states. However, through my experiences with local people such as the game scout named Lillian, who later became my friend, I recognized that this wasn’t just about the animals and more about the community as a whole.” Tidwell’s daily interactions and experiences were so impactful that she took a similar approach in her narrative to connect readers to conservation as she was introduced to it, highlighting day-by-day accounts and unpackaging details of conservation practices that she learned from the local people. In her words, Tidwell shares, “We have to think about the people and not just the wildlife… it has to be worthwhile for them [local people] to conserve wildlife. I wanted to put a human face on the wildlife issue,” and Tidwell’s book helps audiences to do just that.
Putting words to paper was the first step in Tidwell’s efforts, and since publication Sue has traveled the United States highlighting the stories of the people she met, helping to increase understanding of the dynamic challenges of wildlife management that local communities in Tanzania face, and overall inspiring audiences to care for the people who are dependent on these natural resources.
Sue is just one of the leading women who are or have pioneered the fight for indigenous rural communities’ most basic human rights to manage their renewable natural resources. To learn more about Sue Tidwell, her book, and her efforts, please visit www.suetidwell.com.
To read more blogs in this series, please visit www.shepherdsofwildlife.org.