Monday, 4 April 2016

#safariLIVE Viewer Profile: Zoomie Finds Support With WE


Janet Jones is in a good place. She is a volunteer zoomie on the Djuma cam for WildEarth, has made many friends and is planning a trip to the Sabi Sand in September 2016. But things haven't always been this great. "When I discovered WE in 2009, I was in the midst of some pretty dark days. I was deeply submerged in active alcoholism and had isolated myself in shame from almost all friends and family. The problems were mounting financially and emotionally."

Janet had suffered personal and financial losses and was sinking deeper into depression. She happened upon a bald eagle cam and began to search for more wildlife cams to take her mind off her struggles for a while.

"I immediately fell in love with the bush and all of the guides. To my great surprise, I found an amazing community of fellow nature lovers and made some friends who remain good friends to this day. Gradually I got more and more involved and began to do 'online tracking' of the leopards and lions of the area, sending in reports of all the sightings in the area to aid the guides. In those days, I don't think communications were quite what they are today between the crew and others who traverse the area and each 'character' did not have his or her own Facebook page."

She then dived in feet first when the opportunity arose to become one of our zoomies. And she hasn't looked back since, using her new found role, and the community as a support structure. "I zoomed sightings I never thought possible - a very young baboon playing with cables and staring curiously into the cam from inches away, a young Xivambalana curious about the cam's movements and most memorable - the night we all sat on the edge of our seats and watched a hyena hunt and kill a small antelope while a hippo attempted to move the hyena off."


Janet says she owes a lot to WE and the friends she has made through our ever growing community. "In my 'dark years', WE kept me afloat, gave me friends and something to look forward to twice a day. For that, I will be forever grateful. As of last month, I have been sober for five years. My life is now richer than I ever could have imagined."

If you have an interesting story to tell about your #safariLIVE or WildEarth experience, and would like to be featured in a future #safariLIVE Viewer Profile, contact us with your contributions, photo and video submissions at mystory@wildearth.tv. You could be interviewed next!

8 comments:

Janice Palmer said...

Wow such a moving story Janet and an inspiration more than you know for many viewers I'm sure!! Thank you for telling your story. I am a new viewer and I can't get enough of WE following a return from a recent trip to Kruger Park in Feb this year - I miss the bush so much but the Live Drives, the anticipation of what we'll see today, combined with the enthusiasm and energy of all the team - the drivers, guides, crew and the animals of course have filled a hole in the soul - not as good as actually being in the bush but WE have been wonderful - thanks to all the zoomies around the world who volunteer their time to man the cameras - it took me a while to figure out how the cams operated! �� And to the entire Wild Earth operation - remarkable and wonderful people who make this all possible!! Yours ever appreciative and grateful viewer of WE!! Janice, UK

Heather Ray said...

Bravo Janet!

From a fellow Ontario-ite (is THAT a word?)

Thank you for sharing your story and your passion and please keep up the great work - both on you and for Wildearth.

Cheers,
Heather Ray, Operation Migration

Xi-Momo said...

JJ what a great story of what WE means to you! Thanks so much for sharing - brought tears to my eyes! And I am happy to have called you friend for years now! Oh, and by the way - great zooming!

Mudjie said...

Congratulations JJ!! We are very lucky to have you as part of the Djunkie and WildEarth families.. Thank you for all you have done to make these drives and cams a pleasure! Mudjie

Kathy In WV said...

JJ, I didn't know. Proud of you!

Vicki D Rusher said...

God bless you!!

Janice Palmer said...

Go Janet!! Lovely story and great to hear what a happy ending. Amazing video of the wild dog and impala (couldn't help feeling for the poor impala after all that and the hippos trying to protect it was totally awesome too) Thanks for being a zoomie, without you guys we wouldn't see such incredible sightings! I love Wild Earth, the whole team, the live drives and the incredible videos each day. I think a huge round of applause for all the zoomie volunteers!!
Janice

Janice Palmer said...

Go Janet!! Lovely story and great to hear what a happy ending. Amazing video of the wild dog and impala (couldn't help feeling for the poor impala after all that and the hippos trying to protect it was totally awesome too) Thanks for being a zoomie, without you guys we wouldn't see such incredible sightings! I love Wild Earth, the whole team, the live drives and the incredible videos each day. I think a huge round of applause for all the zoomie volunteers!!
Janice