As many of you know, I am an ardent supporter of Stefanie Powers and her dedication to wildlife protection and conservation. Today she shared the sad news that her close friend and fellow conservationist, Martine Colette, had finally lost her battle with lung cancer at the age of 79.
Ms. Colette was hardly your typical environmental activist – she was born in France and as the daughter of a Belgian diplomat, she spent much of her childhood in Africa , exposed not only to the majesty of nature but the extreme cruelty humanity could inflict upon the animal kingdom . In her 20’s, she moved to Hollywood and began a career as a costume designer; it was during this period that Ms. Colette began rescuing animals. Many of the society elite at the time wanted to keep exotic animals as pets without realizing the extraordinary risks involved. When the glamour wore off and the creatures became too big and dangerous to keep, they ended up in Ms. Colette’s care. In time, she gained a reputation for rehoming and rehabilitating wild animals which earned her the nickname “the girl from Africa” because everyone called on “the girl from Africa” to take care of their pets when they had no clue what to do with them. Eventually her ability to care for animals outgrew the space she had at her home and in 1976 she founded the 160-acre Wildlife Waystation Sanctuary in the Angeles National Forest which became world renowned for its approach to rehabilitating injured and neglected animals of all kinds. The sanctuary closed in 2019, but Ms. Colette never gave up on the animals she loved so dearly. It was reported that even in her last days, she was still fielding phone calls and advising others on how to protect animals that had been rejected and abandoned. May she rest in peace and walk with the tigers for eternity.