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Alan Jardine - Conservationist with a shark lab and a parrot

If you happen across the small town of Mossel Bay, located at the edge of the Western Cape in South Africa, you may come across a pirate. Initially, he seems to be a grumpy old man with a parrot sitting atop of his shoulder. He is usually sitting by the lighthouse at The Point, staring out to sea; the waves breaking on the shore. If you decide to take your chances and approach the pirate, you will find that you have, without the aid of a treasure map, stumbled upon one of the Garden Route’s hidden gems.

The pirate will tell you stories galore. From taming elephants to helping gorillas to reproduce, he has done it all. If you ask him very nicely, he may even tell you about his experience with swallowing a highly venomous octopus! But what made this pirate decide to leave his life of glory and settle down in this little sanctuary? According to him, from all the places he’s travelled, this is the one in which he felt the most comfortable. “No matter where you go, someone will stop and say hi.” It is more of a “smaller community” than a town. It lacks the “hustle and bustle of a big city”, but silence is not always a bad thing. Regardless, to a pirate, the only important sound is that of waves crashing on the rocks.

HOTGR Blog double Alan 1
HOTGR Blog double alan2

"It is not easy to get to a place where you are comfortable, and happy"

After a short conversation, you will find that he is, after all, not so grumpy, not so old, and not so much of a pirate. This is Alan Jardine, a conservationist, marine biologist, zoologist and author. Throughout his life, Alan has switched between a hands-on work experience with nature and suit-and-tie boardroom positions. But by far the most impressive thing he has done is opened his heart to Alex, his seven-year-old parrot who is cared for like a child, and to his wife whom he married in “in his autumn years”.

“It is not easy to get to a place where you are comfortable, and happy” and yet somehow Alan has beaten the odds and is “at the place he needs to be today”.

As he no longer sits in boardrooms, he typically dresses for comfort, but that suits him to his core. Alan Jardine has found his natural haven where he can immerse himself in conservation-work and be at peace with his surroundings.

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