Friday, 29 July 2016

Panthera Tigris: International Tiger Day

Panthera Tigris       


- Shere Khan : Does my face not remind you of what grown men can do? -
- The Jungle Book 1967 -


 Jeandre Gerding, 2007 

Over the centuries fables have played a huge roll in education, entertainment and understanding how the natural world works. We as humans have created these stories to teach about pride, wisdom, love and kindness; imparting a sense of humanity and responsibility for our actions, not only for ourselves but for the world we inhabit.  

There are none more prevalent and accurate than fables and stories about Tigers. For centuries we have told stories about how the Tiger got his stripes (man burning the Tiger to teach it not to come near or trust humans). Shere Khan, from the Jungle Book, is only afraid of two things in life: fire and man.  For decades stories have been told about how man is destroying the Tiger and yet even though the words are spoken, it seemed that nothing was learned.




The tragedy we are currently facing in our day and age is that the tale of Tigers is not a folklore  told at bedtime any longer. Unfortunately the story has already ended for three subspecies with the BALI, CASPIAN and JAVAN now extinct. With this in mind there are people who have listened intently to these passing tales and have decided to rewrite the saga; to reinstall the pride, kindness and humanity into these fables. 




-The Bali Tiger: Extinct-



Project Tiger (projecttiger.nic.in) is a pioneer in this endeavour. Their main objective is to facilitate the breeding of Tigers in a safe environment for both Tiger and man. They have to date set up 25 Successful Tiger reserves in India where this can happen . This increases the number of Tigers that are able to inhabit wild untouched areas. 

Another well established group  ‘India Tiger’ (www.indiantiger.org)  is focused on tourism and travel . Their aim to to improve the knowledge of not only the local people but also tourists about the plight of the Tiger.  They do this by making ‘tourists aware of the issues, linking commercial tourist activities with various conservation programmes, providing support for local communities and  managing natural resources in the most responsible ways’ 

A third and by no means least is the ‘Panthera Organisation’ (www.panthera.org/cat/tiger) . Panthera is a group that WE are very aware of and partake in with our own Wild Cats in the Sabi Sands. Panthera is a relatively new organisation, having been established in 2006. It is a wild cat conservation programmes the world over. Some of the most effective and well-known projects include the Tigers Forever Programme and  the Himalayan Tiger Corridor. WE are very proud that WE are able to work with Panthera and start moving into a positive direction with concerns to conservation of Wild Cats. 



These three organisations , amongst a plethora of others are Celebrating International Tiger Day (http://tigerday.org/) on the July 29.  The day  aims to bring awareness to the conservation of Tigers living in the wild and thus increase their numbers. 



WE are committed to taking responsibility for our actions and creating awareness. WE believe in conservation of all animals even if they are not in our traverse areas.  WE would like to one day see these incredible strong stripes roaming in the wild, sharing their stories live, rather than have to tell stories of a legend that once was. On July 29th WE will not only be celebrating Tigers but all endangered species as well as the conservation efforts that are being made throughout the world. Remember, the first step is creating awareness and promoting understanding and education – WE implore everyone to do the same.



Let us not endeavour to make Shere Khan, Red Tiger, Tigger and Vitaly completely fictional characters, becoming mere myths and memories - faded burnt orange and black fables. Rather , let us build on the fables where we see the Tiger live strong , wild and treasured. 



Wednesday, 20 July 2016

WE present: safariLIVE gorillas in Rwanda



Incredible news safarians! WE are going LIVE from the centre of the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda with expert safari guide Brent Leo-Smith. WE are going to be spending time with one of the world's most elusive and majestic creatures, an animal that has captured the imagination of conservationists, filmmakers, storytellers and safari rangers for decades, the mountain gorilla.

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There are only 700 of these amazing apes left in the wild and half of them are only found in the protected region of the Virunga mountain range, spanning the intersection of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The highly fertile volcanic slopes provide the lush and verdant habitat preferred by these mountain gorillas. Our intrepid explorers will be heading out into the dense jungle on foot for an incredibly intimate wildlife experience in the presence of these astonishing animals.

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Volcanoes National Park is located in the northern region of Rwanda. This is the oldest national park in Africa and was commissioned for the conservation of the highly threatened mountain gorilla. Protected by the Karisimbi, Mikeno and Visoke volcanoes this reserve is one of the only places on the planet where you could encounter the world’s most endangered great ape.

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Mountain gorillas are typically non-aggressive and spend their days feeding peacefully on the firm fertile ground of the african rainforest as the youngsters of the troop bound in playful tranquility. It is said that being in the presence of one of these especially impressive apes elicits an emotional experience like no other.

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Brent is the only member of the safariLIVE crew who has had the privilege of spending time with these astonishing apes. His experience includes time spent habituating the western lowland gorilla in Gabon. Brent’s excitement for this project is infectious as he is visiting a part of Africa he has yet to become familiar with.

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( Safari Guide Brent Leo-Smith, Image Credit: Brent Leo-Smith)

He explains the feeling of seeing a gorilla for the first time as being an awe inspiring and truly exhilarating encounter. Described as being an exceptionally powerful animal he is anxious to explore the dynamics of an already habituated troop. One of the most interesting tit-bits of information is Brent’s description of actually tracking down these iconic animals. He details these apes as being one of the most flatulent animals out there, no doubt attributed to their diet, gorillas may be followed using a keen olfactory sense in conjunction with their tracks and chosen nesting spots.   

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WE will be going LIVE on this intrepid safari event on Friday the 22nd of July during the sunrise safari between 7 - 8am CAT. Once Brent starts the trek to find these apes WE will go LIVE so you can join him on his quest to find the family that he will be spending some time with. It is hard to know how quickly he will find them as it will depend very much on how close to the road they are at the time. Once with them Brent will spend one hour sitting with them in their natural habitat. We want you to feel the emotion of being so close to a huge mountain gorilla. By answering your questions and describing for you in detail what it feels like, Brent hopes to transport you from your homes to the side of a mountain in Rwanda so that you can get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.

Make sure you get plenty of rest safarians as the experience could never be complete without your wonderful interaction. Send us your questions and comments on #safariLIVE and questions@wildearth.tv. Without you WE could never produce a virtual LIVE safari experience.

This mind-blowing experience is an event which will mean that your normal sunrise safari will be cut short as we whisk you away to the rainforest in Rwanda. However please be assured that this is a once-off event that we are testing and will in no way affect your normal daily safari going forward.

As this is a first-time event, WE do ask you to be patient as there is a possibility of some gremlin invasions. Should our feed from the rainforest fail, WE will bring you straight back to the Sabi Sand where the crew will be at the ready to continue the safari experience.

Once this first time exploration is over Brent will rejoin the crew here at Djuma and continue as normal bringing the African safari’s to you on a daily basis.

WE are in a state of excitement like no other and it’s only because we get to take you, the viewer, on this amazing journey with us!

We hope that you enjoy the ride!

One last thing safarians - please take a few minutes to fill in our survey (click here) and send it back to us as we are super interested in what content you guys like and whether this is something you will find the time to watch!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Madiba Magic with safariLIVE

Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July, in South Africa, and internationally, is now a day dedicated to reaching out to those less fortunate by encouraging social empowerment through good will. Mandela’s astonishing legacy asks all members of humanity to spare 67 minutes of their time every year on the 18th of July to uplift those around them and create a positive change in the world. WildEarth and the safariLIVE crew went to lend a hand in the rural settlements on the outskirts of Sabi Sand.



The littlest humans with the biggest smiles came racing into the Utah Community Centre yesterday afternoon – much to the joy of the startled WE crew, who are very accustomed to the tranquillity of the bush.


The Kruger To Canyon (K2C) Environmental Monitors notified Activating Africa of what they would like to do on this year's Mandela Day. Firstly, they asked for all the community members to help clean up Dixie (a neighbouring community), promoting pride and sustainability within the community; secondly they identified children who are less privileged than some in the community and asked the community to spend time with them, celebrating the spirit of this momentous day.


WE decided to take part and help make this happen. WE offered helping hands in fetching the children from school and then it was on to catering duty, making hotdogs and let me tell you - there were a lot of hotdogs! While the games began, the echoes of children laughing and singing, enjoying the day with their friends, filled the Community Hall. The joy of the children was infectious and soon WE were a smiling, well-oiled hotdog making machine!



A big thank you to Activating Africa and the Utah Environmental Monitors who allowed us to take part in the celebrations and welcomed us into the community. With each positive action, there will be a positive reaction – the children’s joy was mirrored by the safariLIVE crew and WE could not stop smiling as WE bumbled back to camp.

Watch the safariLIVE Story.










Monday, 18 July 2016

WE Celebrate Nelson Mandela Day

WildEarth and safariLIVE reflect the quintessential essence of South African pride held by all people in this beautiful country. That’s why WE want to pay tribute to the liberator of our great nation, Nelson Mandela, on his birthday which is the 18th of July. In South Africa, and internationally, it is now a day dedicated to reaching out to those less fortunate by encouraging social empowerment through good will.

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“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead”
– Nelson Mandela

Mandela believed that all individuals have the capacity to positively influence those around them through social empowerment. The idea here is that you can make a difference to those around you by defying social injustice and through the demonstration of leadership and generosity further social freedom.

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This day marks a global call to action across all ethnicities and cultures aimed at generating positive change in the world we see around us.

1990 South Africa

Mandela’s astonishing legacy asks all members of humanity to spare 67 minutes of their time every year on the 18th of July to uplift those around them and create a positive change in the world. WildEarth are going to do just that. Our crew are going to lend a hand in the rural settlements on the outskirts of the Sabi Sands. Our aim is to leave the settlements outside of the reserve a better place than when we arrived and to ensure this positive change is felt and sustained. Our fantastic crew will be helping out a local NGO called Activating Africa, lending a hand with whatever needs to be done as WE empower the communities to keep their settlements clean and pristine.  WE would also like to encourage YOU the viewer to spend 67 minutes of your day on the 18th of July making a positive change in your community. Share your stories and experiences with us on #safariLIVE on twitter. WE love nothing more than sharing the wonderful work of our dedicated viewers.

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WE will be posting a follow up story and video on what the crew got up to on this special day for you to enjoy later in the week.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

WE Welcome the Royal Cubs: Hosana & Xongile

Karula the leopardess and Queen of Djuma gave birth to two perfect little spotted fur balls just over five months ago. Up until this point WE have all enjoyed James “the closet royalist’s” affectionate nicknames of George and Charlotte. Yet with the cubs rapidly approaching their sixth month birthday a decision was taken to give them their permanent names.

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(Hosana, Image Credit: James Hendry, Djuma Private Game Reserve)

Expert guides, Taxon and Aubrey have been dedicated rangers here at Djuma for many years and so there are no others better suited to christening the royal cubs with their true Shangaan names. On the 12th of July these names were set in stone and it is our great pleasure to share them with you.

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(Xongile, Image Credit: James Hendry, Djuma Private Game Reserve)

Karula’s young and confident male cub has been given the name “Hosana.” In Shangaan this means “Prince.” His grace and nobility already stand as veritable testament to this and of course only the son of a true Queen could be a little Prince. Hosana is identified by his 3:3 spot pattern as well as his bright yellow-green eyes. Already WE have seen him start honing those all important survival skills and are looking forward to watching him as he grows into a young and vibrant male leopard.

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(Hosana, Image Credit: James Hendry, Djuma Private Game Reserve)

The little Princess has been named “Xongile.” In Shangaan the letter “x” is pronounced as a “sh” making the name’s phonetic pronunciation “Shongile.” It means “Exquisitely Beautiful” and with her distinctive chocolate brown eyes, no other reference could be more appropriate. Made identifiable by her unique 4:3 spot pattern complete with beauty spot, this little piece of Penthera perfection carries herself with reservation and dignity.

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(Xongile, Image Credit: James Hendry, Djuma Private Game Reserve)

WE can’t wait to follow the journey’s of Hosana & Xongile as they continue to grow and develop under their mother’s expert care.