Most of the people in my immediate social and familial circle had never heard of The Cove up until a few years ago and I assume it is still the same for most people on the planet. Even as a wildlife photographer with all the researching of species and locations that I did, Taiji in Japan, simply slipped below my radar.
Thankfully, Ric O’Barry and Louie Psihoyos, went about creating a powerful and poignant documentary which opened the world’s eyes to the annual dolphin slaughter plus the insidious wildlife trade that drives it.
I had already begun work on the Kyle Gibbs Series which is set in a climate changed world but the continuing escalation of rhino poaching in South Africa kept bothering the conservationist within me. I really wanted to get cracking on a conservation series, set against major global wildlife issues.
The original plan was to start with the state of ivory and rhino horn poaching in Africa and then cover the ravaging deforestation going on around the planet. Once I saw the full version of The Cove in 2010, I knew that it was the topic that I wanted to cover first.
Hudson Drake grew out of my anger and disappointment at having to continually protest peacefully to gain acknowledgement of animal rights around the world. The annual slaughter of dolphins in Japan is nothing short of wildlife genocide in my eyes. Eyes that still well up every time I watch the movie. It is something we would never tolerate if it was happening to out fellow human beings. The United Nations would get involved, sanctions might be metered out and global condemnation would ensue. Why is there no such reaction to the slaughter of another sentient species on our planet?
As non-fictional beings, all we can do is raise awareness out there on the streets and continue to apply social pressure on Japan through platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Igazi means blood in Zulu and I chose it because the character, Hudson Drake, hails from Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. I wanted a character who would skirt the normal laws protecting wildlife traffickers as while they continue to commit their crimes. The goal was never to preach about the issues but rather to tell the story through the emotions of all the characters involved.
When it came to the book cover, I wanted to highlight the blood that is spilled every Sept – April, so the design brief to my cover designer was “give me a lot of red”. He came up with the leaping dolphin which I think depicts the wildlife entertainment in oceanariums perfectly. It is these “Seaworld” type entertainment shows which contribute directly to the slaughter of large pods of dolphins just to capture the odd animal to sell.
If Igazi can help pass the message on and make a few more people think twice before supporting dolphin and orca shows, then I would be one happy author.
50% of all proceeds will go to
The Ric O’Barry Dolphin Project