HISTORY AND HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As a child, growing up in South Africa, Paul (Oxton) spent a lot of time visiting the Kruger National Park and various other Game Reserves with his family. He developed a deep love for Nature and Wildlife, and as he grew up, it slowly intensified into the desire to do something to protect Africa’s rich and diverse Wildlife Heritage.
Having left South Africa for several years, and while in the corporate world in the United States, Paul would watch the TV Series ‘Wild at Heart’. He would miss South Africa more and more with each episode airing. In 2008, Paul returned to South Africa, to stay.
With Rhino Poaching on the increase, Paul started raising awareness on Social Media in 2011, going by the name ‘Wild at Heart’. He created beautiful graphics, posters and quotes, and soon gained a large following. His artwork, posters and graphics were used all over the world during peaceful gatherings and awareness meetings, all geared to illuminate the world about the true plight facing Africa’s wildlife.
When the time came to register the Foundation and actively, practically, start to help the Wildlife, the natural choice for a name was ‘Wild at Heart Foundation’ – but this was not available due to copyright issues, and so ‘Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation’ was born, formally registered as a Non-Profit Organization in February 2015.
For his Birthday one year Carina (Crayton) organized a trip to the set of Wild at Heart. Up to that stage, Paul never knew where it had been filmed, he just noticed that it reminded him of Muldersdrift in South Africa, where he grew up. The set is based at Glen Afric Lodge, and is the backdrop for countless movies about the African bush. Even Jack, one of the zebra stars of the movie ‘Racing Stripes’ lives there. Seeing the main house of the set for the first time, in real life, Paul was transported back into time to his days in the USA, when he watched the series with so much longing to come back to his roots. He knew he’d made the right choice.
In an interesting coincidence, Glen Afric used one of Paul’s quotes on their Valentine’s Day menu one year, without knowing the role their Wild at Heart set played in the greater scheme of Wild Heart things.
“Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation was born from Hearts that passionately beat to the rhythm of an African drum, with an uncompromising Love and Dedication to do whatever is right, and in the best interest of the Wildlife Most at Risk.” - Carina and Paul ( Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation )