Animal Activism

What the Botswana Elephant Killings tell us About our Relationship with Wildlife

September 19, 2018

Earlier this month, National Geographic reported that only halfway through the 2018 elephant census being conducted by Elephants Without Borders for the government of Botswana, 87 elephants have been found dead. The majority were older males with large tusks – suspected of being poached for their ivory. It’s a shocking increase since the last survey, which found only nine elephants killed, in 2014.

What’s perhaps even more shocking, however, is that these killings occurred near the Okavango Delta, a UNESCO World Heritage region. Although Botswana has not been immune to poaching, the majority of incidents traditionally occur near the Namibian and Zimbabwean borders – not deep within the country National Geographic referred to as the last safe haven for elephants.

Today is World Elephant Day!

August 12, 2018

August 12, 2018 is World Elephant Day! In honour of these beautiful gentle giants, here are 10 facts about elephants you might not know. Share these with your friends, and encourage fellow travelers to avoid elephant tourism by getting up close and personal at a trusted sanctuary instead, like the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

  1. Elephants can live for up to 70 years – but their habitats are being hotter and drier due to climate change, making it harder to find food and tougher for calves to survive.

Saving Seals in Sausalito

June 10, 2018

image via

I was lucky enough to be able to visit  The Marine Mammal Center headquarters on a recent trip to California, USA. Located just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, the Marine Mammal Center’s mission is to “advance global ocean conservation through marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation, scientific research, and education.”

Getting out there and back was a bit of an adventure in itself. I had rented a car, but didn’t have the e-pass set-up to cross the Golden Gate Bridge tolls, and I decided to go out in the afternoon following a conference, figuring I had plenty of time before they closed at 4pm.

To save money, I drove to the bridge and parked on a side street nearby. It was after 2pm, and I was humming and hawing about whether or not I should still go -I needed to get a Lyft, and it was more than 20 minutes from my location to the center. I decided to go for it – I’d make it work, even with a low cell phone battery!

Make a Difference with AirBnB

May 12, 2018

Did you know you can make a difference on your vacation simply by booking an excursion through AirBnB‘s Social Impact experiences instead of your local travel shop?

AirBnB’s Social Impact experiences are excursions hosted by leaders from local nonprofits. AirBnB waves the fees for these activities, and 100% of your cost goes directly to the non-profit you choose to learn more about!

The types of activities vary: learn about local history, culture, or the arts scene in the city you’re staying in. Whatever your cause may be, you can find an experience through AirBnB that will support it!

Get Off My Back – Issues with Elephant Trekking

April 1, 2018

This post was originally written for and published on Elephant & Co. 

From Logging to Tourism

Elephants have been used in the logging industry for hundreds of years, but with a decline in the forest landscape and a flood in Thailand in the late 1980s, the Thai government placed a complete ban on commercial logging in 1989. Out of work elephant owners had to find a new livelihood, and the tourism and elephant trekking industries began to flourish across the country. Wildlife attractions make up between 20% and 40% of tourist activities worldwide.