Year End Update
As we approach the end of the first year of my new avocation, it’s been a successful year, thanks to your support and encouragement. I led my first Big Cat Safari in February and two Migration Safaris in August, along with a fact finding trip exploring Amboseli National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park to scout possible locations for future trips.
My most exciting news is the establishment of the Satao Wildlife Foundation, which last week received its IRS designation as a 501c3 non-profit organization. I chose this name to honor one of the great tusker elephants, Satao (photo below from Tsavo Trust), who I later learned was born the same year as I was. For nearly 50 years, he roamed the continent of Africa, fighting off lion and leopard attacks, surviving flood and drought, only to be murdered by poachers for his ivory tusks on May 30, 2014. His senseless murder was the driving force that motivated me to make a difference in the lives of wildlife.
While my work may not bring an end to poaching, there are other threats from loss of habitat and human/animal conflict which are decimating wildlife numbers around the world. In Africa, there are great people and organizations doing meaningful work to improve the lives of wildlife. During my trips, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know these people and understand their work. The Satao Wildlife Foundation will support their work in the field, as well as conservation education at home. The first recipient is the Mara Meru Cheetah Project which studies cheetahs and their habitat in the Masai Mara. They need 5 laptops, portable hard drives, memory cards, a handheld weather station and other technology which I plan to deliver during the February safari.
Please consider supporting us and helping improve the lives of wildlife. To donate, click the link below which will take you to our PayPal page where you can use your credit card or bank account to make a tax deductible donation. You do not need to have a PayPal account. If you prefer to send a check, please make it payable to the Satao Wildlife Foundation and mail it to: 16725 Munn Road, Chagrin Falls, OH 44023.
Amboseli National Park
Amboseli is an easy 45 minute flight southwest of Nairobi on the border of Tanzania. Located in the foothills of Mt. Kilamanjaro, the park is known for its large herds of elephants. Lake Amboseli is the lifeblood of the park which shrinks dramatically during the dry season causing the elephants to congregate near the remaining water. The terrain is much more open and barren compared to the Masai Mara. We witnessed several family groups of elephants, including the one pictured at the top. If you love elephants, then this park is the place for you!
Lake Nakuru National Park
Lake Nakuru is about a 3 hour drive northeast of Nairobi and is known for the large flocks of Pink Flamingos that once covered the lake. While I was hoping to see the flamingos, the weather in recent years has increased the water level by several feet, causing their food source to disappear and they have moved north. Missing the flamingos was disappointing, but the large number of black and white rhinos made up for it!
Masai Mara National Reserve
The two weeks spent in the Masai Mara during the Annual Migration was amazing! During this time of year, approximately 2 million wildebeest and zebras migrate from Tanzania into Kenya in search of food, and they need to cross the crocodile infested Mara River to get there. The Migration is an event everyone should witness firsthand to truly appreciate the magnitude of all these animals in one place together.
Of course, many of the other resident animals are there during this period, including lion, cheetah, elephant and leopard. I am honored that my image of the mother cheetah chasing her cub was selected to appear in the Wildlife Conservation Society’s 2016 Calendar and 2015 North American Nature Photography Association’s annual journal, Expressions.
More photos from this trip can be found here.
Both the Big Cat and Migration Safaris for 2016 are nearly filled so now is the time to start planning your 2017 safari! If you have a group or family that has always wanted to go on safari and see these magnificent animals, pick a date which works for you and I’ll design a memorable custom safari.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.