Inspiring A Passion for Wildlife and Wild Spaces: Contiki Storyteller Challenge
I have two strong passions, one for travel and the other for animals. My early years spent visiting zoos, developing an interest and love for these majestic creatures and then devouring books and articles learning as much as I could about wildlife and their wild spaces, propelled me into working with these exotic creatures. After my schooling I was able to land a job at a zoo assisting with the animal presentations – and so started my desire to educate the public about wildlife, conservation and hopefully inspiring a passion for wildlife and wild spaces in others.
Travel incites scenes of exotic locales, rich historic buildings and delicious foreign foods in many but it can also summon vivid images of rare bird sightings, a shuttering glimpse of a rare large mammal and thrilling experiences of close encounters with wildlife. Some places I’ve traveled will forever stand out more for their wild spaces like Oregon and the Swiss Alps and others for their wildlife like California’s sea lions, Iceland’s puffins and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula’s sea turtles. The wonder and excitement that people experience when they encounter beautiful, endangered or otherwise animals is truly a magical thing.
But through my work and travels I know there is a shadier side to this magnificent close encounters with wildlife and it sadly continues not because people don’t care, most of us do, it’s because of ignorance. Many people don’t do their due diligence and research the facilities they want to go to have these seemingly once-in-a-lifetime experiences with wildlife. They don’t realize that their dollars are going to perpetuate the cycle of unethical wildlife tourism and not going into the efforts to save these amazing animals and their vanishing habitats.
So, when Jess from The Fly Away American challenged me to the Contiki Storyteller Challenge I felt honoured to do my part. The aim of the Contiki Storyteller Challenge is to encourage readers to think about the impact we have and the many ways we can save the environment. Contiki has partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and made a pledge to sponsor a sea turtle when this video has hit 250,000 views (at the time of publishing this piece they are at 6% of that goal).
Like us avid travellers sea turtles travel the world but their journey is now a struggle due to varying human factors like; pollution, the illegal trade in their shells and the consumption of their eggs and meat, commercial fishing and much more. The mission of the Sea Turtle Conservancy is to ensure the survival of sea turtles through research, education, training, advocacy and protection of the natural habitats upon which they depend.
*there has been an estimated 90% decline of hawksbill sea turtle populations in the past 100 years
*an estimated 100 million marine animals are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean
To spread the word I’d like to challenge Ashley of A Southern Gypsy, Allison of Zoo Critic and Stuart of Stu at the Zoo to share their own wildlife or environmental story and pass the message to help save these majestic sea turtles.
Be mindful of your impact on wildlife and it’s wild spaces. If we each do are part we can make a difference.
Have you had a memorable and mindful experience with wildlife or a wild space? I’d love to hear about it!