Elephants are magic. Sharing that magic with people is one of the most powerful ways to inspire conservation action. While most people will likely never be able to travel to elephant range countries to see elephants in what’s left of their wild habitat, we are lucky to have elephant ambassadors who thrive in human care who can inspire wonder, happiness, and maybe even a little healing.
ZyZy’s Elephant Wish
Thanks to a generous donor, a little girl’s dream of elephants came true. Last fall the International Elephant Foundation held a virtual auction where one of the items was a family experience with a herd of Asian elephants gifted by The Preserve. A generous gentleman won that elephant encounter, and asked us to find a deserving child to whom to give the experience.
That’s when IEF contacted Make-A-Wish North Texas. The staff at Make-A-Wish were incredible! They quickly connected us with ZyZy, who has a critical illness. ZyZy has always loved animals, especially elephants and she dreamed of being able to see elephants in person. Her wish came true and she was able to travel, with her family, to a very special place for elephants in the Texas Hill Country.
It was a beautiful, clear day when ZyZy arrived with her family for the elephant experience. You could tell she was not thinking about her illness but was focused on the majestic sight of real-life elephants. During the unique and educational experience ZyZy and her family met the resident elephant ambassadors, Rosie, Becky, and Kitty. They learned about elephant grooming, foot care, and they even helped give Becky a bath! It was a picture-perfect day that ended with a big hug and a kiss for ZyZy from Rosie!
It was a day that ZyZy will always remember, and I know we will too.
Wildlife Ranger Challenge Update!
Our support of the 2021 Wildlife Ranger Challenge is still ongoing! This year we’re focusing on the Ugandan rangers who protect Murchison Falls National Park. This campaign to help raise funds to support rangers on the frontline included a race of 4-man teams each carrying nearly 50 pound packs.
Our in-country partners, the Uganda Conservation Foundation, had seven teams in Murchison Falls competing. The teams were made up of wildlife rangers and representatives from Uganda Police, Uganda Army, British High Commission and British Army. They also had the captain of Uganda’s rugby team on one of the teams!
This year’s race in Uganda was won by the ranger team from Queen Elizabeth National Park. On a hot day, their speed through the sandy tracks was amazing, leaving the Kidepo Valley and the Murchison Falls wildlife ranger teams in second and third. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary and the Pacer Community College team came in fourth and fifth with the various celebrity teams following behind!
It was an amazing day, where over 200 teams competed across Africa’s protected areas! We are so proud of the work these rangers do every day, and grateful for your support that enables that work to continue!
Our support of the Wildlife Ranger Challenge is continuing through the end of October, so it is not too late to host your own challenge, or donate to the rangers directly!