Maria do Rosário Bom Jesus Lima

Maria do Rosário Bom Jesus Lima, an Angolan lawyer, helped the EPI earlier this year in the successful implementation of Angola’s first ever workshop on wildlife crime, and in tightening laws on wildlife crime in the country’s  new penal code.

You trained as a lawyer, but how did you get interested in environmental issues?
My mother was always passionate about nature and taught me to love and protect the environment.

Angolans have so many daily challenges- do they really have time to worry about elephants and other wild animals?
We don’t yet have all our basic needs, but it’s the duty of people all over the world to protect animals and stop them becoming extinct. I believe Angolans are becoming more and more aware of that.

Do you think the Angolan authorities are really committed to the fight against wildlife crime?
The new penal code specifically enables the authorities to combat wildlife crime. I know this is not enough on its own, but it nonetheless represents a big step forward in our struggle.

Angola is a big country- what is the most beautiful region you’ve visited? And have you ever had the good fortune to see an elephant in Angola?
Angola is beautiful, but the region that impressed me most was the Serra da Leba near Lubango, for the views and the nature. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen an elephant in Angola, but I’ll soon be visiting Kissama National Park and hope to see some there.

We believe you have a young family..what is your greatest hoped for their future?
I want my sons Pedro and Elias to enjoy the world’s resources the way my generation has been able to. For this reason, I encourage people to protect nature. I don’t want my sons to grow up in an Africa where elephants no longer exist.