Tiger in India Great Indian Bustard & Tiger Conservation In India

Pioneering Indian conservationist and wildlife expert Harsh Vardhan

Wildfoot Ambassador and long-term friend, Harsh Vardhan is a pioneering Indian conservationist and wildlife expert. For many years now Harsh has been working tirelessly to further the conservation and protection of two of India’s most majestic yet most threatened species. The Tiger and The Great Indian Bustard. Here Harsh gives us a report on progress to date.

The Great Indian Bustard

For many years WILDFOOT travel has been campaigning passionately to conserve and protect the critically endangered ‘Great Indian Bustard’ (Ardeotis nigricpeps), an impressive and intelligent bird found in the Indian Thar desert. As part of the ongoing process of conservation, we have hosted several lectures at Birdfair in an effort to generate support for this deeply threatened species. As a direct result of those who have supported our efforts to date, we have the following good news to report:

In June-July 2019, all seven Great Indian Bustard eggs recovered in the wild, have hatched successfully in India’s Desert National Park. All the chicks are doing well and strutting proudly around their new home.

BustardsTwo female Great Indian Bustards, have been fitted with satellite transmitters. They have not mated yet, so no eggs have been produced yet. But watch this space

With less than 100 Great Indian Bustards left in the wild, their revival is an eight-year project. A project which will take time, commitment and money. We urge all our friends and supporters to help in any way they can.

As we prepare 2019 Birdfair, our partners in India are busy collecting Lesser florican eggs (another Bustard species) in the Shonkalia area, with the aim of breeding  them in captivity at Jaipur Zoo.


Thanks and congratulations to our friends and supporters of our Tiger conservation movement. The number of Tigers in India’s National parks has reached 3,000. Thanks to camera-trap devices which have now been in use for four years, the fall in Tiger number has halted.

tiger in india drinking from a poolThat means more amazing opportunities for wildlife encounters with Tigers in India’s wilderness. Whilst fifty Tiger Reserves are involved in this project, only a few can boast the best sightings. Ranthambhore, Tadoba, Kanha and Bandhavgarh. It is worth noting that these same four reverse are all recognised as amazing bird habitats with a huge array of impressive birdlife. Satpuda is also worth mentioning as great area so encounter for mammals and birds.

opticron logoWe are proud to have OPTICRON as a committed and caring partner in the conservation of wildlife in India.
Opticom have kindly provided binoculars to National Park Guides in India who cannot afford to purchase themselves. This helps conservation in many ways but particularly with wildlife protection including anti-poaching.

WILDFOOT India experts Manoj and Graham are delighted to welcome anyone one interested in a unique big cat and Birding tour of India – WILDFOOT India Stand, Rutland Birdfair 16,17 & 18 August 2019


How Many Elephants Raising Awareness Of The African Elephant Crisis

African Bush Camps Partners With ‘How Many Elephants’ To Raise Awareness Of The African Elephant Crisis

Elephant Conservation LogosAfrican Bush Camps has joined forces with How Many Elephants to support their annual talk held at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London on 6th June. This years talk ‘On the Front Line’ offers an evening of adventure with inspirational speakers from the front line of conservation in Africa.

As a conservation driven organization African Bush Camps promote and influence travel to Africa on a global scale while operating with an environmentally sustainable footprint. Employing an ethos that strives to empower local communities in the areas in which they operate, a strong focus on conservation is at the heart of their operation.

Headline Speaker: Holly Budge
Adventurer | Conservationist | Designer

Holly BudgeHolly will be sharing her adventurous tales of fundraising from the summit of Everest to immersing herself with the Black Mambas, an all-female front line anti-poaching team in South Africa. Holly founded ‘How Many Elephants’, a design-led campaign, to inspire and educate a global audience about the impacts of the elephant ivory trade. To date, she has raised over £300k for charity. More at: www.hollybudge.com

Headline Speaker: Dr. Niall McCann
National Geographic Explorer | Conservationist | Biologist

Niall is the Director of Conservation for National Park Rescue, a direct-action conservation organisation that focuses on preventing the slaughter of elephants, rhinos and lions in sub-Saharan Africa. Niall’s adventures have been covered in the media for many years. He presented the award-winning documentary Lost in the Amazon, and two seasons of the multi award-winning Biggest and Baddest. More at: www.niallmccann.com

Bonus Speaker: Beks Ndlovu
Professional Guide | Founder of African Bush Camps

Through African Bush Camps and their foundation, Beks became not only a tour operator but a social entrepreneur and he is proving to be one of the most enterprising and inspiring players in the Tourism Industry today, one who continues to promote and influence travel to Africa on a global scale. More at: www.africanbushcamps.com

There will be a short talk by Gavin Bowyer, a trauma & orthopaedic surgeon with a passion for photography which has taken him around the globe. He has sought ways to support charities through his photography to raise awareness of welfare and conservation issues. Gavin’s monochrome elephant prints along with award-winning
sand artist, Nancy Tschetner’s exclusive elephant-inspired paintings will be auctioned on the night.

All proceeds from the evening will go to the How Many Elephants Campaign which supports National Park Rescue and Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust in Zimbabwe, and the Black Mambas in South Africa.

For our VIP ticket holders, there will be pink champagne kindly sponsored by Waud Wines, alongside artisan canapes in the iconic Map Room, with ample opportunity to mingle with the speakers. Don’t delay as these tickets are limited.

“An impactful campaign which highlights the need to end the killing of Africa’s elephants by reducing the demand for ivory.” Tusk

About How Many Elephants:

The ‘How Many Elephants’ Campaign is using design as a powerful visual communication tool to raise global awareness of the devastating impacts of the African elephant crisis. Few people know that 96 African elephants are poached each day for their ivory. At this astonishing rate they will be extinct in the wild within a decade.

How Many Elephants

The multi award-winning, design-led campaign is hard-hitting in the way it showcases 35,000 elephant silhouettes, the current annual poaching rate in Africa, in a striking exhibition and also on Instagram –  – launched on January 1st 2019. Every day for a year, a square of 96 elephants is posted depicting the daily poaching rate to show the sheer scale of the poaching crisis. Gruesome images of mutilated elephants have been purposely avoided. To actually see and connect with this data visually is highly impactful.

Holly immersed herself with the Black Mambas, an all-female, anti-poaching team in South Africa and documented her experiences with these role models on film. She comments:
“It was a privilege to immerse myself with the Black Mambas to intimately learn what drives and motivates these pioneering women to pursue their multifaceted roles as protectors, educators and beacons of hope. Armed only with pepper spray and handcuffs, these women patrol hunting grounds of armed poachers who pose an imminent threat to the elephant species. They also strive to change attitudes towards the role of women in Africa and beyond. I have fundraised £9500 so far for the Black Mambas.”

The Black Mambas

Holly was quite literally on top of the world when she summited Mount Everest to raise awareness and funds for anti-poaching projects. To date, she has helped raise over £300k for a diverse range of charities through her adventures and charity work. As a double world record holding adventurer, Holly is the first woman to skydive Everest and race semi-wild horses 1000 kms across Mongolia in just nine days.
“Holly Budge is inspiring and determined to save the elephants being targeted by poachers.” BBC News

World Record

About African Bush Camps

African Bush Camps is a private, owner-run African-based safari company that speaks to the art of service and offers you an authentic safari experience in the untamed African wilderness. Focused on your experience as our guest, our professional guides and nature enthusiasts will be on hand to ensure your journey with African Bush Camps is the very best safari experience imaginable. More info at: www.africanbushcamps.com


Date: June 6th 2019. 6.30pm-10pm
Venue: Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers),
1 Kensington Gore, London. SW7 2AR
VIP: £75
Talk Only: £25.
Standard prices: VIP: £85 and talk only: £30




Green Sea Turtle Meet The Galapagos’ Professor Reptile

alejandro_arteagaAlejandro Arteaga is an Ecuadorian-Venezuelan biologist and wildlife photographer. He is the scientific director of Tropical Herping, an institution he co-founded in 2009 to preserve tropical reptiles and amphibians through tourism, photography, education and research.

Alejandro was kind enough to answer a few questions about turtles and the Galapagos for us. Here are his words of wisdom.

  1. What makes The Galapagos so appealing to turtles?

    The Galapagos Islands have been a heaven for at least five species of marine turtles and 14 tortoises for millions of years. Green Sea-Turtles and Hawksbills nest and reside in Galapagos waters year-round. They do so probably because their nests face fewer predators here than in the mainland. To Giant Tortoises, Galapagos is a special place because, until the arrival of humans to the islands, they diversified and thrived in the absence of major predators (a special condition not met on the mainland).

  2.  What is the best time of year to see turtles in The Galapagos?

    In Galapagos, visitors may see giant tortoises in the wild throughout the year. However, during the dry season (Jun -Nov), tortoises congregate in greater numbers in the highlands, which improve’s visitors chances to see them. Sea turtles of two different species (Hawksbill and Green Sea-Turtles) may be seen in Galapagos waters throughout the year, but they are easier to see during nesting season, which coincides with the rainy season (Dec – May) with a peak in Feb – Mar.

  3. Which species of turtles can be found in The Galapagos?

    There are 19 species. Here is a complete list with information

  4. What is the rarest species of turtle to be found in The Galapagos?

    Among giant tortoises, it is the Fernandina Giant-Tortoise. Only one living female is known to exist.
Among sea turtles, it is the Loggerhead. It has only be seen in Galápagos waters twice.

  5. What are the majors threats to the future of the world’s turtles?

    The major threats to giant tortoises are:
    A) Introduced predators (pigs, dogs, cats, and ants), which prey on the eggs and hatchlings;
    B) The  disturbance of migratory routes;
    C) The conversion of tortoise habitat to agriculture and pastureland.The major threats to sea turtles are

    A) Incidental mortality due to interactions with fisheries;
    B) degradation of marine and nesting habitats;
    C) climate change (read why in the conservation section here);
    D) introduced predators (pigs, dogs, cats, and ants), which prey on the eggs and hatchlings.

  1. What  can visitors to the Galapagos do to help the conservation of turtles?
    Support projects like the: Giant Tortoise Restoration Initiative
Lions Eyes AfriCat – Making a big difference in Africa

Did you see the Lion episode of the ‘Dynasty’ series narrated by David Attenborough which was shown on BBC1 on  Sunday the 25th November  ? If so were you moved by what you saw? If you missed it then why not  watch it on catch up!  Those heart wrenching pictures of ‘Charm’ having to leave her poisoned cub behind….all so sad and actually with understanding and a support unnecessary….
In Namibia, like in Kenya, AfriCat is working with the local farming communities to reduce the incidents of poisoning, trapping and shooting of lions for their perceived and real threat of killing the farmer’s livestock. Farming successfully alongside predators takes courage; understanding and a support programme like AfriCat’s Protect our Pride. Working with local people does produce positive results with a reduction in the numbers of livestock and lions being killed.

The Protect our Pride programme includes: an education and livestock management programme; research; building strong kraals; an alert system from collared lions within local prides that can let farmers know when the pride is in their vicinity and a support team (AfriCat Lion Guards) on hand to help farmers defend their livestock and to ‘chase’ the lions back to safe areas. The AfriCat Lion Guards community members and farmers themselves offer advice/support to help other farmers.

With the drastic fall in lion numbers as mentioned in the Lion Dynasty program helping a single lion to survive can make a big difference, as was evident in the programme. To find out more about AfriCat’s support programme and to make a donation go to Protect our Pride and look at the AfriCat Uk website www.africat.co.uk.

Gin and elephants.

As combinations go, it’s not an obvious one. But there is nothing obvious about Elephant Gin.

Following the footsteps of 19th century explorers and their botanical discoveries, the founders of Elephant Gin spent time travelling across Africa and experimenting with ingredients to combine the exotic flavours of the continent. With a mutual passion for gin, Robin & Tessa Gerlach crafted a world-class London Dry and Sloe Gin products that truly capture the spirit of Africa. But creating an outstanding gin was only the beginning of their story…

The gin journey originated with the great initiative of giving back to the land and in particular the African elephant as it is facing the threat of extinction. In fact, every year more than 35,000 African elephants die due to poaching – that’s one elephant every 15 minutes!

Elephant Gin donates 15% of its profits of its bottles to elephant conservation charities including Big Life Foundation and Space For Elephants. At Big Life Foundation in Kenya, they currently support 35 anti-poaching rangers, covering anything from logistical support to rangers salaries, rations or equipment. The rangers’ work is crucial for the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro ecosystem as they work tirelessly to protect elephants, rhinos, lions and other animals from poaching and retaliatory killing due to human-wildlife conflict. In fact, these brave individuals are out in the wild every day and night, living in the remote outposts, undertaking daily foot patrols, tracking and arrests poachers and providing security.

Together with Space for Elephants Foundation, Elephant Gin has funded an education centre in South Africa, called The Wildlife Spirit. The main purpose is to educate local youth and adults in the area on their country’s wildlife and environment, as well as give local and international visitors an opportunity to learn about elephants including their intelligence, importance in the ecosystem and need to protect them for future generations.

Located in the Lobombo mountains, the Wildlife Spirit offers an a breath-taking view on lake Jozini and activities on elephants, ingenious plants, local arts & craft, elephant-dung-paper making and more. In this area unemployment is rife and attractive for poachers to getting information and assistance from local communities. The strategy of The Wildlife Spirit is to get communities involved by creating employment opportunities and make them aware of the value of wildlife by educating and showing them of how to earn a living by working in conservation.

And last, but definitely not least, 15% of the miniature bottle profits support another foundation – The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT). The 50 ml mini gins feature a baby elephant with a milk bottle on the label and support DSWT’s mission to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned elephants. Elephant Gin funds contribute to round-the-clock specialist care of the orphan elephants with proper nutrition, veterinary care, a human family of full-time keepers and well-constructed and maintained stockades for safety and shelter at night.

Up to date, Elephant Gin has contributed over EUR 450,000 to its partner foundations through the sales of its bottles as well as fundraising events. By working closely with the foundations, Elephant Gin ensures that the donations arrive on the ground and are contributed to select projects that are mutually agreed upon. In order to keep up to date on the progress and developments, the Elephant Gin team regularly visits the foundations.


From its use of rare African botanicals to its staunch charitable focus, this is a maverick gin brand that stands well apart from its competitors. As important as the drink itself are the company’s efforts to help save the African elephant from extinction. And the gin itself is just as forward-thinking: made in Germany with African botanicals that create an exceptional flavour that has won the company many awards, including Double-Gold at the Worlds Spirits Award 2018. Each bottle is custom-made, while each batch named after an elephant that the foundations help to protect or a famous tusker.

Robin Gerlach, asked what would he like the legacy of Elephant Gin to be, says:

“Gin is not just about the gin itself. It carries a message that we like to spread as far across the world as possible. Our generation has the responsibility to keep this planet intact and make sure that our children and children’s children are able to experience the same landscapes and wildlife we know today. We have dedicated our efforts to the African elephant who has made a particular impact on us. If we don’t actively fight elephant poaching today, this magnificent animal that has lived for millions of years will be extinct in less than 12 years. A shocking realisation!

That said, there are a number of other species that are nearing extinction due to mankind. So take whatever you are passionate about, may it be elephants, rhinos, the local water or children in need, and do your part to spreading awareness and helping to save this planet. It is the only chance we have got!”