Saturday, September 29, 2012

Africa is not the West or the East - it's Africa.

I am now in S Africa with Abri's family. We filmed all over Kenya over the last month. We started with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi and at iThumba in Tsavo. The Sheldricks and the amazing keepers take in the baby orphans of the ivory and rhino horn trade and raise them by hand until the are least five or six and then releases them back to the wild, to the very place that poaching still exists. The worry they must have, but the conviction that I also share that a wild animal must have the choice to be wild, captivity is a cruel compromise. The orphans are never forced and can always come home, and they do. While we were there we saw an Ex-orphan come home with her new tiny wild baby to meet her beloved keepers that were Mommy to her for so long. Sweetest creatures I have ever met are elephants. Sweeter than puppies and kittens even, and for me that is saying everything.
We also went to see the Northern Rangelands Trust in Sarara. It is a conservancy formed between the Samburu, many other tribes, and eco tourism to manage and protect their wildlife.  It was incredible to get to spend time with the Samburu and also to see Sarara. They've created something truly incredible and now battle to protect it from the dramatic upsurge in poaching. The rangers are absolutely heroic and the people so kind.
Amboseli is facing huge challenges as the population explosion and politics are causing wildlife to be used as a pawn. I really pray that the incredible Cynthia Moss and IFAW can help with their Amboseli project to also show a current benefit and a respect to the locals of their wildlife - that they had lived with peacefully for so many generations.
LEWA was our last stop and a very hard place to leave. All of Kenya was hard to leave! Ian Craig, the father of the Northern conservancies, has truly created and organized an extraordinary effort to keep wildlife alive to the huge benefit of the local people. 
The thing we Europeans do not understand about Africa is that one can not separate the people from the wildlife. In an effort to help we often do that with unknowingly misdirected aid which creates a dependency and a horrific imbalance with dire consequences for all. We see the ads in the US every time we turn on the TV. I have always pitched in as well but after spending time on the ground in Kenya, with Kenyans, I see how easily we mistake how best to help. The wildlife is the Kenyans first natural resource, to save the wildlife is to save the people and vice versa. They are actually one and can not survive without each other. We don't understand this as it just isn't so in our first worlds.  But for me it's important to learn from them and not just make them in to us.
I will work to show this as best I can in this movie. There are brave incredible souls working to save the last Rhinos, the last elephants and the very unique people and cultures of Africa. I feel after being on the ground that this is the only way both will make it - we cannot separate and focus on helping one without the other without creating harm to both. This is one of the last wild places on Earth where human life is still in touch with all life, and I hope it gets to remain so. 
People are basically good, and want to help, and I now see how to best do this in Africa - with the groups who help from the ground up and talk about the people AND the wildlife and let both be. Incredible what I have seen, and the successes of this philosophy. It would have been impossible to understand this without seeing it and having it explained to me by my new Friend Mark, a Samburu, and Joseph, a Maasai. The locals taught me about their country as I would a visitor to Los Angeles who naturally had all kinds of misinformation. One can't help from a boardroom as one can from the ground, as I have now seen. Amazing people I miss already.
Off to tea with Mum and Gran for the last days in Africa.
Much love and thanks, I really think together we can do something good, but we must help in the African way.
Asante Sana and Ashe oling...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rhino Killed for an insatiable illegal Chinese Market

Yesterday, September 14, 2012 - I was just at LEWA filming, and saw this rhino who was since killed 4 an insatiable illegal chinese market. How do we affect the chinese heart?

Two nights ago, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy sadly lost a 17-year-old male rhino to poachers. Nengoitei was brutally killed and his horns removed. This is the 5th poaching incident Lewa has suffered to date. Investigations are on-going. The hefty sum paid for African rhino horn today has attracted criminal groups ready to cash in at the expense of an entire species, and this incident is a harsh reminder of the threat facing rhinos across their entire range. Lewa will continue to do its very best to protect this endangered species and avoid any recurrence of this nature.

Marla's T's & hats gift.

Written on Thursday September  13, 2012. A gift from my friend Marla for my African Elephant Doc that we are still shooting in Kenya. T's & Hats. Thanks Marla!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Two Orphan Elephant Rescues in Two Days!

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust rescued two more baby elephants this past weekend.

Here's what they reported on their Facebook page:

First we were called to rescue a calf of approximately 11 months old from Mount Kenya with a spear wound between the shoulder blades, we have called him Teleki.

Then on Sunday morning a calf of approximately 6 months old rescued this morning from Lake Jipe, Tsavo West National Park.

Both are extremely thin having been without their mums for some time, so both remain touch and go cases this morning, but everyone is trying extremely hard to ensure they pull through their nightmare ordeal.

You can help right now by making a donation, which will help towards the various costs associated with these rescues and the treatment and care we are providing to the orphans.

Go here to find out how:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

New items have been put up on EBay to be auctioned in support of our efforts for the documentary.

To see all the items up for auction that include Sookie's Bra and a Charlaine Harris First edition hard cover, "A Touch of Dead" go to the link:

Added yesterday and today are the following:

Authentic TRUE BLOOD PILOT SCRIPT signed by ALAN BALL and 14 cast members
+ Pam photo signed with your name by Kristin Bauer  Currently the bid is US $1,125.00, but it still has 8 days to go.

+ Pam photo signed with your name by Kristin Bauer.  This items is already at US $175.00 and also has 8 days to go before the end of the auction.

+ Pam photo signed with your name by Kristin Bauer.  This too is already up to US $175.00, don't miss out, it has 9 more days left.

 And finally the LIMITED COLLECTORS EDITION ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY signed by Deborah Ann Woll+ Pam photo signed with your name by Kristin Bauer.  Another one that is already at $175 and still has 9 days left.

To see all the items up for auction that include Sookie's Bra and a Charlaine Harris First edition hard cover, "A Touch of Dead" go to the link:

Happy Birthday Ian Craig!

An amazing conservationist I just met in Kenya at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Happy birthday Ian Craig!

Ian is one of our founding members and has served the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy as the founding Executive Director from 1995-2008. He propelled Lewa to the proud entity that it is now, and today we salute this extra ordinary gentleman!

Kinango - Elephant Orphan History

I met this baby elephant yesterday. Each of us fostered an elephant orphaned due to poaching. The Sheldricks do courageous work. They need $ and our help.