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.


More Photos from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

These photos are from the visit to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

August 30, 2012

The past one week has seen the visit to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a center dedicated to the care of elephants orphaned due to the death of their mothers due to poaching or other causes in two of Kenya’s most famous national parks Amboseli and Tsavo East. Photos courtesy: Herman Mwasaghua, Manager Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

More pictures added to Photo Section

Just added some more photos taken at the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. See more photos in the photo section.

Photo source: AP Photo/Sayyid Azim

source: :

With IFAW in Amboseli National Park

This video and my update below were published on the IFAW site.

 I write this on my last day in Amboseli National Park, in the shadow of Mt Kilimanjaro.

It has been a spectacular journey so far, full of wildlife and the amazing people here to protect them, set on a beautiful landscape that I’ve long dreamed of.

Amboseli is a flat savannah, the pale grass of the dry season sharply contrasted against the green foliage of the acacia tree. Spotting wildlife is easy then, best in the cooler morning and evening when the animals are more active.

I had heard that the Kenyan people are unforgettable, and yet I am struck by their kindness, sincerity and genuineness, that I feel if everyone were a little more Kenyan, what a kinder place the world would be. There is an authenticity to Kenya and its people that touches the core of your soul. I feel like I have come home, and know I will return – if I even manage to leave!

Here in Amboseli I have spent time with some of the people working so hard to protect the animals in this important ecosystem – James Isiche, IFAW Director of East Africa, who fueled my passion for elephants and inspired this documentary to protect them; Jason Bell, IFAW Director of Southern Africa and the Elephant Program; and the IFAW experts gathered here to implement IFAW’s ambitious Amboseli project.

The Kenya Wildlife Service hosted a ceremony at the park headquarters where IFAW handed over three new Landcruiser vehicles so the rangers can patrol the park, protect the wildlife from poachers and help mitigate human-wildlife conflict.

While there, I saw the importance of these new vehicles as I watched a team of mechanics work to repair a dilapidated old truck. These rangers are the true heroes, risking their lives to protect wildlife and deserve the best equipment to do their jobs.

Julius Kipng’etich, the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service, started his remarks by asking for a moment of silence for a ranger who died in the line of duty last week, shot by a bandit in one of Kenya’s parks.

As we stood remembering this man, I was deeply moved by the sacrifice the rangers make every day to protect wildlife from harm – and for products nobody needs. I thought about his family and their loss of a loved one – and probably their only breadwinner.

It was an unexpected honor to interview Kip and learn how KWS works to protect wildlife in Kenya and serves as a model for conservation throughout Africa. I also met two senior Maasai elders, Nick and Johnson, who have been working on wildlife conservation for a very long time. And amazing elephant activist Pat Awori, whose passion for saving elephants will inspire me far into the future.

Today was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience as I spent the morning with iconic elephant scientist Cynthia Moss, who has been studying the elephants of Amboseli for forty years – the longest elephant research study in the world. Much of what we know about elephants has come from Cynthia’s research and later I met Vicky Fishlock, an IFAW-supported scientist studying the effect of the 2009 drought on elephant families.

Cynthia took us off road to get up close and personal with the GB elephant family, so relaxed, playful and happy. How I wish every elephant could live that way, every day, free from the threat of poaching – in the wild as they’re meant to be. And that’s why I’m here – to make that wish a reality. Together we really can ensure these majestic beings will roam our earth for generations to come. --KB


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Photos From Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Today see me w/the Rangers Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

And, here with John, one of the amazing people protecting wildlife in Kenya that I met 2day at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Auction of Authentic Sookie's bra to save elephants!

I'm auctioning off a True Blood Authentic Sookie Bra worn and signed by Anna Paquin with a Pam photo signed personalized for you by me, Kristin Bauer van Straten to help raise funds to aid in saving the Elephants.

This bra is was worn by Anna Paquin in the openings scene of episode 4.06 "I Wish I Was The Moon" of True Blood when Sookie makes out with Eric. 

It's an original, ONE OF A KIND and AUTHENTIC True Blood costume. Anna Paquin signed the bra on the side strap. The auction winner will also receive a 8x10 photo of Pam signed personalized with his/her name by Kristin Bauer van Straten.

The Sookie Bra was kindly donated by the True Blood Costume Department in support of Out for Africa.

There are also two first edition Sookie Stackhouse books signed by Charlaine Harris that are listed in separate auctions.  Hurry on over at my EBay account "Atlas Love on EBay." 

In Poaching Frenzy, Africa’s Elephants Vanishing

Here's a New York Times article on what I am seeing in Kenya while shooting my doc on this subject!  It's so sad.

Read the full story
at the New York Times.

Excerpt and photo from the article: "Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized."

Photo: Tyler Hicks The New York Times

New photos in the Photo section Added

Added, two new photos to the Photo page. Here's one:

Our sound man Dan with an orphan at the
Sheldricks Wildlife Trust in iThumba

Sunday, September 2, 2012

First Photos from Africa Posted in Photo Section

New trip photos have been posted in the photo section here from August 26 & 27, while at the David Sheldrick orphanage in Nairobi and meeting the amazing folks of the and James Isiche from IFAW.

Go to the PHOTOS SECTION to see them.