Courtesy of Nomad Tanzania
Photo by Elizabeth Gordon
A chimpanzee at Greystoke Mahale, a camp run by Nomad Tanzania
A travel outfitter is giving house-bound animal lovers a chance to get their wildlife fix—while learning about Africa’s most urgent conservation issues.
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A new virtual event series from travel outfitter Extraordinary Journeys will bring the magic of Africa’s last wild places to life with stories from the bush—while also informing them about new concerns about conservation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Live from Africa,” which launches on May 19 and runs through summer, will feature leading field experts ranging from big cat filmmakers to Maasai conservationists. The purpose of the talks, which are open to the public via registration, is to entertain wildlife lovers with firsthand encounters from Africa’s savannas, shrublands, forests, and deltas, while also shedding light on the wildlife conservation issues that the pandemic has exacerbated—one of the most pressing of which has been a rise in poaching.
It was the spike in rhino poaching in Botswana in tourism hot spots during coronavirus—a spike many experts believe is a result of fewer visitors to wilderness areas (considered a safer haven for the endangered mammals compared to neighboring South Africa)—that inspired Elizabeth Gordon, cofounder of Extraordinary Journeys, to launch the series.
“It really dawned on me that the whole conservation model linked to tourism was in jeopardy,” says Gordon. “Huge conservation areas and communities have been depending on [tourism] money to survive, and we needed to do something to help the situation.”
While the events are free, Extraordinary Journeys has set up a relief fund for viewers who want to donate to projects that benefit local communities and protect threatened wildlife. The company will give donors a $150 per person credit toward a future trip.
Gordon will interview each guest and plans to let viewers ask questions at the end of each discussion so they can feel closer to the places they can’t currently support with their tourism dollars. “I want people to feel connected to countries that they can no longer access right now, and I’m hoping this series does just that,” she says.
Also on the lineup:
For the full schedule and to register, sign up here.
>>Next: How the Coronavirus Is Impacting Conservation Efforts in Africa
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