Rosie St Lam and Claire Lepage
In recent weeks, the WE community sustained the profound loss of two of our most beloved members. We wish to honour them and the great contributions they made, friendships they formed and impact they had on our community.
|Rosie St Lam (source: Facebook)|
Rosie St Lam was a very active member of the WildEarth family. She was there from the very beginnings of the live broadcasts, and was made a moderator thanks to her honest, no-nonsense nature. She was a fierce advocate for the rights of animals, says Valorie Berry. "She was very passionate about animal rights, often sharing petitions on her Facebook page, encouraging her friends to sign."
"Never one to hold back her opinions, I'm sure she would go straight to Graham [Wallington] when something bothered her about the show," says Valorie, who got to know Rosie over the course of many years.
"She loved the leopards, especially Mixo and Induna. She was a fierce friend and made many, many friends amongst the WildEarth community."
"This lady, as some of you might know, walks the talk, fights the poachers, adopts elephants, starts and signs petitions, walk with protesters against anything to make sure the wildlife and nature is not harmed," says Ole Davidsson, a long time viewer and friend of Rosie's.
|Claire Lepage (source: Facebook)|
"I don't remember a time [Claire Lepage] wasn't around. I first remember her because she would always sign 'Gorilla Hugs, Claire' [when leaving chat]", says Valorie.
She is described as a "sweet lady" and a "devoted leopard researcher". She spotted the WoW spot pattern on Karula's forehead which we now use to identify the Queen of Djuma. She was a huge fan of Pieter Pretorius and Lieschen Smith, and the big cats we follow on drive. She spent many hours learning all she could about the lion prides and leopards of the Sabi Sand, and was a wealth of information.
|Karula on sunrise drive, May 9, 2016. Screenshot by Claire Lepage.|
Claire was delighted when Sindile, the young male leopard who had been released back into the wild after months of captivity in a rehabilitation centre, was finally seen again. She was an active member of the Djuma Djunkies Facebook group, sharing her thoughts and feelings there, contributing to discussions and posting screenshots of sightings from drive.
"One of the things that stands out for me about Claire, beyond her passion with which she followed our drives, is the way she meticulously captured and logged everything that happened on screen. In no time flat she would be able to find any sighting, large or small, and tell us it was 'on such and such date on the morning drive with Pieter and Herman'. Even if this was years ago. Truly amazing!" says WE technical director Peter Braat.
"It is sad to lose friends, but having those friends is something I and WE must always celebrate. Sharing time in Africa and sharing time in our lives is, and will always be, something great! Rosie and Claire would share this sentiment, I know this. So, thank you for all the wonderful moments we all shared, thank you for being true friends and for your passion - WE will remember you then, then and then," says Pieter.
Our sincerest condolences go out to the families and friends of these dynamic women. WE are grateful for the help and support they gave WildEarth and the community they helped to build around safariLIVE. They will be sorely missed by us all.