We are proud to say our INSOMNIA Girl from Belgium, Marisa Papen, is working to raise awareness of the decline in exotic species in wildlife parks in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here is her story, in her own words…

Not only life underneath the Big Blue surface has considerable marks of human fingerprints, (obviously) our whole planet has. The Earth has been through several major catastrophes and mass extinctions before, but this is the first one in human history – and yes, all thanks to…

When I was a little kid I remember being glued to the screen when watching wildlife documentaries on National Geographic. I’d even have dreams at night about wildlife and wild places. I remember one dream very fondly. I was running barefoot in the middle of a huge stretch of zebras while the big orange ball of fire was setting behind majestic curly trees. It was marvelous – the realest thing I had ever seen, even though if it was nothing more than a dream. When I woke up, I knew that one day, I’d be running there for real, on African soil, through a sun-covered Savannah, gallopping with those zebras.

It’s safe to say that Africa’s wildlife is in jeopardy, the situation is immersily critical!

And then this October, 20 years after that dream I found myself In Central Africa, Congo, the land of Gold and Blood. On a mission to realize my vision.

Although a few days before my actual arrival, Olivier, our host told us, there would only be a very small chance to spot some animals in the real wilderness. There was a game reserve (not a zoo, the animals are actually wild and have a lot of space) pretty close to where we were staying he said, but I still wanted the real deal. He thought I was aware of the statistics. And I was… but I had no idea the situation was this bad.

Unfortunately he was indeed more than right…
10 days of driving through incredible nature…
Encounter with animals:
One baboon.

For hundreds and thousands of years these African Savannahs were overflowing with wildlife. However, thanks to man’s destructive ways, these animals have been completely disappearing. To give you an idea, here’s some numbers from Kudelungu and Upemba:
32000 elephants to 180
1000 zebras to 78
The last lion was seen in 1973
The last buffalo in 1991
The last rhino in 1954
Cheetah and wild dogs have also disappeared, there’s simply not enough prey left for them to eat.

Almost this entire decline is down to human activity. Habitat loss, deforestation, climate change and the biggest felony here in Congo; poaching.

Marisa Papen | Sammy Slabbinck

It’s safe to say that Africa’s wildlife is in jeopardy, the situation is immersily critical!

Fortunately it’s not entirely too late yet… there’s still hope thanks to organizations such as Forgotten Parks. These people are risking their lives day in day out to protect the remaining animals and introduce new wildlife again. The rangers localize poacher camps, they rescue hurt/dying animals, they look for traps that have been put out by the poachers, and they train the rangers very hard to fight them if necessary. Forgotten Parks also created an incredible educational system where they teach local children about animal rights, the importance of what the rangers do and so on and so on… I could keep on preaching about this organization for a much longer time but just check out their actions yourself:

If you don’t buy this Calendar please consider making a donation through their website anyways.

Because we all, politicians, businesses, you and me, have an interest and a responsibility to act right now and to protect what we all value: a healthy future for nature, animals and so, ourselves…

I hope this project will open some eyes and it will be the start of a change that has to happen.

The profit of #PLANETPLASTIC goes out to Forgotten Parks.

And last but definitely not least, a special thanks to legendary photographer Uwe Ommer, Marie-Aude & Olivier Delafoy from Hamaji Magazine and Robert Muir from Forgotten Parks Foundation.

With love,

Marisa Papen

You can buy the Calendar on

Marisa Papen Calendar 2018Marisa Papen Calendar 2018Marisa Papen Calendar 2018 | #PLASTICSUSHI GOES #PLANETPLASTIC





Partilhar na rede