IbN # 4 - Harry and Khan
You can still see how the amazing story of Harry and Khan unfolded through 2016/17 on their Facebook page.
If you want to get a look at Khan, where he stayed and get a feeling of where Khan and Harry spend their time together, then check out these videos about the rewilding project in the rainforest.
"One day, he (Khan) is going to look at me and he is going to say in his mind "see you later". And he's gonna go. That's how it is going to happen I think. And then I am going to cry like a little baby"
The story you will be told on this episode is not only about one man's good deed and hard work, but is also about how we as individuals can make a difference - even for the life of someone who is so distantly related to us as a wild rainforest animal.
My guest on this episode is Harry Turner, a former British soldier who after serving in Afghanistan at the age of 18 returned home with PTSD. Struggling with his life after the military mission, he finally found peace and belonging when reaching the magnificent world of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. What he did not know at this point was that reaching the jungle to save himself would mean giving someone else a second chance of life too.
I met up with Harry for this interview which took place in March of 2017 at a research/eco-tourism camp reachable only by boat and located by the Las Piedras river in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. It was in this remote location that Harry spent months with only little connection to the outside world and Khan the ocelot.
Khan was one of many wildlife trafficking incidents in which baby animals are taken from their parents either by loggers, poachers or hunters with the desire of keeping them as pets or selling them on the black market. Luckily it did not come that far with Khan. The 1-month old cat was rescued by Harry and a few others, brought back to the camp and from there the first ever ocelot reintroducing project began. For ten months, the two of them formed an inseparable bond. They went hunting at night and slept at day and while Khan was growing both in size, strength and independency so was Harry’s knowledge on this incredible animal. They knew each other’s strength and weaknesses and found great trust in each other’s company. And this is where I left them after the interview - in the jungle with the plan of spending another 8 energetic months together after which Khan would be set back into the forest as a wild and free animal. Back to where he belongs.
But not all good stories end well. Two months after the interview, in May 2017, Khan was killed by an illegal poachers’ trap in the jungle.
It was a devastating accident and I know both Harry, his amazing girlfriend Sam and everybody who had been supporting the Khan rewilding project were lost for words. It is hard to grasp when a tragedy like this, so meaningless, happens from one day to the next.
So it is in the mourning and memory of the beautiful ocelot Khan that this episode is sent out. It tells an important story of determination, devotion and unlikely friendship whilst shedding light on the illegal wildlife trade that is happening right now in many places on Earth affecting so many wild animals.
Videos from the earlier days of the Khan rewilding project
One of the main figures besides Harry in the Khan-rewilding project is Samantha Zwicker who runs an environmental conservation organisation by the name Hoja Nueva, that focus on sustainable agroforestry. You can check out this project on their webpage or Facebook page and see how you can get involved in conservation in the Las Piedras area of Peru.
Agroforesty is also being discussed on the second episode of Influenced by Nature.
and KHAN the OCELOT
A formerly trafficked ocelot kitten was given a second chance of life as Harry took on an incredible wild cat rehabilitation project in the Peruvian Amazon - a learn-by-doing project that led to an unlikely and inseparable friendship.
E P I S O D E 4