The Lion by Joseph Kessel, Sophie the Giraffe, Tarzan and Babar the Elephant are just a few examples of fictional characters which show how African wildlife has piqued the western imagination.
The third-largest continent on the planet (counting the Americas as a single continent), accounting for 6% of the Earth's land surface, Africa and its natural world fascinates people of all ages.
The exhibition at the Museum of Bordeaux invites visitors to explore the wildlife that inhabits this vast continent stretching over nearly 30 million square kilometres. The only true wilderness left on any continent in the world. From the Sahara Desert to the Savannah to the rain forest, African wildlife is exceptionally rich with many ecosystems. Malawi and its African wild dogs; Mozambique and its rare marine species; Namibia and its red sand; Zimbabwe and its rhinos or South Africa and its immense protected areas; Botswana and the Okavango Delta; Lesotho and the Orange River; Eswatini and the Lebombo Mountains, all in all a wide range of landscapes, climates and natural resources to be found in Africa.
The first part of this exhibition at the Museum of Bordeaux is dedicated to Africa’s ecosystems. It presents the different components that come into play in the cycle of nature such as geography, climate, the alternation of the seasons, and the importance of water on the African continent. Light is also shed on the behaviour of Africa’s iconic large wildlife: the food chain, coexistence without competition, migration, and survival strategies.
The second part highlights the impact and threat of human activities on these ecosystems whose balance may be under threat. Agriculture, industry, human expansion, hunting, poaching and the illegal animal trade are just some of the practices that need to be addressed to slow down climate change and safeguard these natural sanctuaries for as long as possible.