On the Road with RoxAnna – 8RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 23, 2018 12:00 am
This past couple of weeks has been challenging but we have kept a positive attitude even without knowing what was in store for us. For most of our time here, we were uncertain if we would be able to accomplish our mission and we tried to not feel defeated. It was also helpful that we had each oth...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 7RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 23, 2018 12:00 am
Field conservation can be defined as action that helps secure the long-term survival of species in its natural ecosystems and habitats. Projects in the field can be to recover a species, coordinate veterinary care for disease issues, create assurance populations, research, increase community awar...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 6RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 23, 2018 12:00 am
As the time passes in the desert, many topics come and go. The concept of animals being happy has been one of the many that have been discussed here. The definition according to Websters dictionary for happiness is, "a state of well-being or contentment or a pleasurable, satisfying experience." D...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 5RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 18, 2018 12:00 am
Sleeping in the middle of the desert in a tent under the stars hearing the sounds of the night is not always the best way to fall asleep. You hear noises and if you are not familiar with the area, you do your best to decipher the sounds of the night instead of trying to fall asleep. The heat is s...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 4RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 18, 2018 12:00 am
The delay has made us rethink how we spend our days. While we wait for the collars there is only so much we can do around camp. The pens have been set up, the oryx have been moved to where they need to be and the supplies have been accounted for. Now all we can do is wait. We have gone out severa...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 3RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 16, 2018 12:00 am
The first time I laid eyes on the Scimitar-horned oryx out in the wild was a remarkable feeling. Goosebumps moment, for sure! To see an animal that was gone from its rangeland and now be returned is an incredible feeling. If nobody had bothered or cared enough to put forth a plan to save this ani...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 2RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 16, 2018 12:00 am
Although the trek was long to base camp and we had lots of hiccups along the way, the best part was that we were able to see so much of the country. To make it even better, Chad is in the beginning of the rainy season and they have already had some rain. This meant much of the country has beautif...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - 1RoxAnna Breitigan/ July 16, 2018 12:00 am
I began this adventure from LAX international terminal, I had no issues except that we already had heard there would be a delay with the project that I was going to participate in as I boarded. I met up with others traveling for this project at the Paris airport. Once we were all together we bega...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 9June 19, 2018 12:00 am
Ah, well. After a wonderful 6 weeks in India working with the very impressive Applied Environmental Research Foundation based out of Pune, I am home. Travel to India is rarely quick and comfortable, involving multiple 10 hour plus flights and frequently long layovers in between. In fact, I had on...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 8June 12, 2018 12:00 am
A decade or two ago a friend of mine was thinking about writing a book with a working title of “What’s In It For Me: A Selfish Person’s Guide to Caring About the Environment.” I doubt that he was going to use that title – talk about a way to kill sales of a book! Insulting the intended...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 7June 7, 2018 12:00 am
With only a few exceptions, most conservation activities focused on protecting ecosystems (as opposed to species) that happen in India happen with the government declaring protected areas and removing the people from the land. This approach is modeled on how National Parks are created in Wes...Read Full Article
India with JDB – 6June 4, 2018 12:00 am
Just after I had tucked in to read for a bit before sleep, I got a Whatsapp message from Akshay saying “Dr. James we are coming to (your) hotel in 15 min to discuss something…is it okay?” Thankfully I didn’t say what I was thinking, and instead said yes, please come over for a quick chat....Read Full Article
India with JDB – 5May 31, 2018 12:00 am
I have rarely seen as quiet and respectful a community gathering as tonight. The Applied Environmental Research Foundation and I visited a small rural tribal community of indigenous people (collectively referred to as Adivasi) in the foothills of the Western G...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 4May 24, 2018 12:00 am
Often, you come into a situation expecting something, and after being there for a while, it turns out you were right, but not-right at the same time. The last week and a half that I have been working with the conservation researchers at the Applied Environmental Research Foundation in India has b...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 3May 21, 2018 12:00 am
Finally, my flu seems to be clearing, and just in time. I will need a clear head, as we will start grappling in earnest with helping to build scientific and theoretical capacity among young conservationists in India! Whew! I thought that I would be incapacitated by this stupid illness, but it doe...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 2May 21, 2018 12:00 am
India is an assault on the senses. Almost everything that I am familiar with in my wide travels are more intense here: the spicing on the food, the chaos of the driving, the intensity of the smells, the kindness and generosity of the people, the beauty of the women’s saris, the peace to be...Read Full Article
India with JDB - 1May 21, 2018 12:00 am
Well, here we go again!
I am away from our beloved facility at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens on another lengthy trip, this time to Incredible India for a six-week partnership working with the Applied Environmental Research Foundation (AERF). The goal of our Fulbright Program sponsored...Read Full Article
Helping Rhinos with JDB - 5February 16, 2018 12:00 am
A day ago, I had one of the highlights of my professional career, something that I have long read about in African adventure books: I had dinner and a game drive with an African Chief and his Royal Family. And, more importantly, it was a transformative experience in what has been a massively tran...Read Full Article
Helping Rhinos with JDB - 4February 8, 2018 12:00 am
Well, we have really done it now! We’ve been here in South Africa for four weeks, working non-stop, and I am really happy to say we are done! All told, we have completed 151 individual interviews about the social impact of the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit program – and we have even entered...Read Full Article
Helping Rhinos with JDB - 3February 8, 2018 12:00 am
Today The Living Desert made possible a small but important change that furthers conservation, just by buying some extremely artistic batik bags! I’m not one that is quick to tears, but I definitely welled up a bit today! Okay, more than a bit.
We do conservation in many ways at The Liv...Read Full Article
Pathways Africa with Mike - Day SevenFebruary 8, 2018 12:00 am
It’s been 15 years I’ve inspired to visit Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Namibia. After attending the Pathways Africa Conference was the perfect opportunity. Founded in 1990, CCF
is a non-profit organization, a cheetah sanctuary, overlooking the ecologically diverse Waterburg Platea...
Helping Rhinos with JDB - 2January 19, 2018 12:00 am
Well, we’ve now officially been here in South Africa for just a bit over one week, and I cannot believe how much we have been able to accomplish in this relatively short time! Amazingly, we have completed all the interviews for two of the four projects that we had planned to complete while here...Read Full Article
Pathways Africa with Mike - Day Five & SixJanuary 18, 2018 12:00 am
And on the Fifth and sixth day...
After an amazing week of the Pathways Conference and a day spent with GCF staff, it’s the weekend and I’m heading south to Sossusvlei. On the 400 km journey it’s evident of the deep diversity and natural beauty of the Namibian landscape. On the route...
Pathways Africa with Mike - Day FourJanuary 18, 2018 12:00 am
Today I was witness to a school field trip program like no other. Some of you may have meet Julian Fennessy, Co. Founder and Co. Director of The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, based in Namibia. Julian was one of our conservation speakers in October for our “Year of the Giraffe” campaign. Th...Read Full Article
Helping Rhinos with JDBJanuary 12, 2018 12:00 am
The vervet monkeys woke me again today. They are simultaneously adorable and infuriating, inquisitive and terrified, quiet and racket making – a bundle of contradictions, but that is also the nature of doing conservation work in Africa.
I am here in South Africa for five weeks to lead a...Read Full Article
Pathways Africa with Mike - Day ThreeJanuary 11, 2018 12:00 am
With a light rain falling on Windhoek and after a hearty breakfast at 6:30am it’s time for day two of conservation training. The training commenced with a lecture on Land Tenure and Management, presented by Kelly Stoner, associate Conservation Scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. K...Read Full Article
Pathways Africa with Mike - Day TwoJanuary 11, 2018 12:00 am
Today, as part of the Pathways training 45 participants we visited the fame of Ulf-Dieter Voight, owner of Krumhun farms. His family have been cattle farmers since 1909. In 1996 he changed Krumhuk to biodynamic farming with their community developing different production lines and processing thei...Read Full Article
Pathways Africa with Mike - Day OneJanuary 8, 2018 12:00 am
After a 30 hour journey through Airports and daunting security checks, I’ve arrived in Windhoek, Namibia for the Pathways Africa Conference. Pathways is a conference and training program
esigned to address the myriad of issues that arise as people and wildlife struggle to coexist in a sus...
Tanzania with Mike - Day SixSeptember 11, 2017 12:00 am
Jambo and Asante, thank you and hello are the key words to learn prior to you journey to Tanzania. Tanzanians are friendly and welcoming, and it’s nice to be too. The food is fantastic, beef, chicken and fish for us carnivores and plenty of fresh vegetables. The wildlife viewing is amazing, and...Read Full Article
Tanzania with Mike - Day FiveSeptember 11, 2017 12:00 am
After yesterday’s sightings of cheetah and realizing that only 11 resided in the park, I was ready to look for them again in the same location. Up at the crack of dawn, Boni and I setout to the site along the Tangirie River we saw them last. Along the way, laying next to its borrow was the fuzz...Read Full Article
Tanzania with Mike - Day FourSeptember 9, 2017 12:00 am
Today I’m pick-up at my hotel very early by Boniface Veshut. Boni is a naturalist that works with WNI. We drove to Tarangire National Park. Over the next few days Boni will escort me the field for viewing wildlife and conservation in the home range of some of Africa’s big five and more.... Read Full Article
Tanzania with Mike - Day ThreeSeptember 9, 2017 12:00 am
The Wild Nature institute has developed a new children's book, which is the core to their giraffe-themed conservation education project. Juma the Giraffe is the second in an ongoing series of children’s educational materials produced by the Wild Nature Institute that teach ecological and social...Read Full Article
Tanzania with Mike - Day TwoSeptember 7, 2017 12:00 am
This morning plans changed, our classroom visit have been postponed for a day, due to an unexpected government school testing program. Being flexible is very important, and that’s just what Monica Bond and Derek Lee, founders of the Wild Nature Institute are. Instead we visited the PANS foundat...Read Full Article
Tanzania with Mike - Day OneSeptember 6, 2017 12:00 am
Today I’m flying to Kilimanjaro International Airport, Tanzania, via Amsterdam. There wasn’t a direct flight from Palm Springs International! Over the next week I’ll be sharing on-going conservation and education action The Living Desert supports through the WNI (Wild Nature Institute) in T...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna – Day 10May 10, 2017 12:00 am
Today is my travel day home from this long adventure, back to California I go. This will be the last post in this series. I hope you have enjoyed going on this adventure with me. It was quite the experience and I am coming home with lots of stories. Traveling to new places...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 9May 9, 2017 12:00 am
Last day in Senegal, Africa included a quite long bus ride, one interesting pit stop, a lovely fresh fish lunch and lots of hugs good byes to new and old friends. The goodbyes were more like until we see you again or I will email you. I felt privileged to be around these minds this we...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 8May 7, 2017 12:00 am
I thought today I would list out a bunch of things that have been note-worthy or curious about being in Senegal.
Here it goes:
- TV is in French.- My francais is better but I will keep practicing. It’s still better than my Spanish.
- Money is in CIFA- I am not even su... Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 7May 6, 2017 12:00 am
We humans are a funny species
Traveling to places you have never been before can be exciting, inspiring and enlightening. Seeing and experiencing other cultures gives you a whole new outlook on the world, life and humans. We tend to get wrapped up in our litt...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna – Day 6May 5, 2017 12:00 am
If not us, then who?
The Sahelo-Saharan region is a part of the world that most people don’t know about and is a very harsh environment. Which in my book makes the animals that live there some of the toughest species on the planet. Against many odds they survive and can...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 5May 4, 2017 12:00 am
Trek across Senegal
This morning we left Dakar and traveled for over four hours to Saint Louis, another coastal town in Senegal. As we drove across the landscape it became very apparent we were in a different world. The culture and concepts are so very different than what...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 4May 3, 2017 12:00 am
We went on a day trip today to a Reserve where some of the rarest Giant Eland live. An eland is an antelope in case you were wondering. There were many other species of antelope plus some giraffe, zebra and a couple of rhino. One of the most amazing sights were th...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 3May 2, 2017 12:00 am
Senegal- on the coast of West Africa
We all have a story, don’t we? We all have family, friends, experiences that got us to where we are today. This is a common thread among humanity. We all have a story.
Today I saw many different people, some Senegl...
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 2May 1, 2017 12:00 am
Landed in Madrid.
Third airport and 6000 miles later, still on the road. Nothing like a 9 hour layover to get you thinking. So many faces, so many destinations, so many stories. People rushing, people sauntering, people even sleeping. Somebody is always coming and somebody is always going...Read Full Article
On the Road with RoxAnna - Day 1May 1, 2017 12:00 am
Here I go…
I am at the first of many airports I will be in for the next 26 hours. I am on my way to Senegal which is on the western coast of Africa. While I have worked with many African species over the years, I have never actually stepped on the continent. To my close friends I have b...Read Full Article