GET INVOLVED!

Travel Diary: Samantha Schmidt

Samantha

SamanthaBy Samantha Schmidt

I am a dog trainer, but I went to Africa for elephants.

I study animal behavior and became obsessed with elephants—their emotions, intellect, sense of play, altruism and peacefulness. I finally booked the trip and went to connect with them.

In doing so, I connected with all the animals, the local cultures, the other visitors, and Africa itself. It is an amazing place that draws you in.

To be in Africa is to understand that this battle is not just about elephant poaching, rhino poaching, or canned hunting of lions, but also about how all these animals are intricately connected to the people and the land.

For so long I have been thinking, “I can’t imagine our earth without elephants.” We would lose so much more than elephants. But for what?” Trinkets? Gun inlays? Walking sticks? Religious figurines? Impressing others with status?

I cannot imagine Africa without any of its creatures or people; they all live and work in concert with each other. You cannot just take one species out of the picture and expect nothing else to change.

There is a brighter side. It was heartwarming to meet so many educated, dedicated people who feel strongly about protecting their land and their animals. Even the visitors seemed to understand the issues at hand and be engaged. I felt there was a chance to stop the poaching and help the communities to protect and embrace their incredible natural resources.

I think most people realized we could not help the animals without helping the local communities. It simply would not work. Every camp we stayed at had some sort of trust attached to it—this was the requirement we had set for our travel agent. We did not want to travel and exploit. We wanted travel and feel as if we had helped in some small way.

I returned from my trip amazed and invigorated. I am even more dedicated to help the elephants and all the others in any way that I can. We need to all work together on this rather than compete with each other for attention.

Every person can make a difference in some small way, whether it is through donating, signing petitions, writing letters, traveling in an educated and sensitive way that “gives back;” educating children, educating adults, etc. There is only room for improvement and the payoff is huge: Keeping these incredible animals and helping these fantastic communities.

On a personal note, it has been a long while since I have taken myself so far out of my element. We all get stuck in the rut of our daily lives. We think and dream and hope for other things.

This time I drew a line in the sand—I set a date and planned the trip I had been dreaming of. It of course changed me and improved me. I do not think just about my day-to-day trials. I remember thankfully that there is a much bigger picture and I was able to live it for two-and-a-half weeks. I plan to go back, and volunteer, and do what I can to help. It is nice to have things to look forward to.IMG_3639

For me, the magic was in touching an elephant who was orphaned, but will be able to return to the wild and is well on his way: To feel his body as he rumbles a greeting, listen to him drink milk with loud slurping noises, watch him interact with his peers, and enjoy the essence of elephants.

It was beyond my expectations. Elephants are all I thought they were and more. They are truly worth our efforts.

Samantha Schmidt is a native New Yorker who grew up with Great Danes and Boxers. She trains dogs for clients in Manhattan as a full time career and is interested in all types of animals. She lives with her black lab mixes Leo and Coal.

Several drugs are commonly used to treat numerous types of infection caused by bacteria, such as pneumonia and infections of the ear. Positively, the catalog is quite large. Nowadays many folk search online for the exact phrase Sildenafil generic on the Internet. It is also known as Sildenafil. The definition of erectile dysfunction the persistent impossibility to maintain an hard-on to the point of orgasm, act an estimated 15 to 30 millions men in the America alone. Erectile disfunction can often indicate problems in other area.

Why Can’t We Protect Elephants?

They need our help, not an easier way to make their carcasses into trophies.

Read More »

For Now, Trump to Keep Ban on Importing Elephant Trophies

The president reversed his own administration’s decision in an evening tweet, prohibiting trophies of killed elephants from being brought into the country.

Read More »

Trump Bags Another Anti-Obama Trophy: Dead Elephants

The administration is lifting a ban on importing elephant parts severed as trophies after the animals are shot in Zimbabwe.

Read More »

Trump Administration to Lift Ban on ‘Trophy’ Elephant Imports

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it planned to reverse a ban on the imports from Zimbabwe, following its earlier move to allow them from Zambia.

Read More »

Lions next in line of fire as US rolls back curbs on African hunting trophies

The Trump administration’s lifting of restrictions on importing elephant body parts from Zimbabwe and Zambia is not the last gift to hunting interests

Hunting interests have scored a major victory with the Trump administration’s decision to allow Americans to bring home body parts of elephants shot for sport in Africa. Another totemic species now looks set to follow suit – lions.

As the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was announcing it was lifting a ban on the import of elephant “trophies” from Zimbabwe and Zambia, it also quietly published new guidelines that showed lions shot in the two African countries will also be eligible to adorn American homes.

Related: Trump sons’ hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

Continue reading…

Read More »

Trump sons’ hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

  • Obama administration imposed ban because of conservation concerns
  • Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are enthusiastic big game hunters

The Trump administration’s decision to loosen restrictions around the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia has turned attention back to the president’s family’s own connection to the controversial sport.

Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are prolific big-game hunters and during the 2016 campaign, images re-emerged of the pair on a 2011 hunting trip posing with animals they had killed on safari, including an elephant, a buffalo and a leopard.

The GOP. Here’s Donald Trump Jr. holding the tail of an elephant (party symbol) that he killed. #TrumpSacrifices pic.twitter.com/FIGkcH2F0t

What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature pic.twitter.com/L1gquLQrRz

Related: ‘There’s no sport in that’: trophy hunters and the masters of the universe

Continue reading…

Read More »

US to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe

Campaigners fear move by Trump administration will damage global efforts to end the ivory trade

Donald Trump’s administration plans to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe into the US – a move campaigners fear could damage global momentum on ending the ivory trade.

In 2014, US big game hunters killing elephants in Zimbabwe were banned from bringing their trophies home, on the basis that the country had failed to show that it was taking elephant management seriously.

Continue reading…

Read More »

Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello review – brilliant essays on immortal beasts

The meanings of Dürer’s rhino, Mozart’s starling, Darwin’s tortoise and others explored with wild imagination and pyrotechnic prose

Elena Passarello starts this extraordinary book with the image of Yuka, a woolly mammoth chiselled from the softening permafrost by Siberian tusk hunters in 2010. First a rounded hoof comes into view, then a hollowed-out eye and finally the flank still bearing evidence of the gash that must have done for young Yuka – she was no more than 10 years old when she died – nearly 40 millennia ago. Most surprising of all, though, is the burning smoulder of her pelt, which has kept to its unconvincing ginger-red despite the passing centuries. Whoever knew that woolly mammoths shared their hair colour with dime-store dolls?

As Yuka is flopped on to the snowmobile it is not her odd dislocations – most of her spine is gone although her legs remain rigid – that qualify as one of the “curious poses” of the book’s title (taken incidentally from a line in “When Doves Cry” by Prince). It is what happens next, Passarello suggests, that stretches and shrinks Yuka into something truly strange. First she becomes the object of hard financial bargaining as the tusk hunters hide her carcass in a frozen cave and wait for the highest bidder. Then, when the scientists finally get their hands on her, she morphs into the poster child for a “rewilding” initiative that aims to make extinct breeds live again by splicing their ancient DNA into the embryo of their nearest living relatives.

Passarello moves between musicology, biography and the golden throat of a bird brain with virtuosic ease

Continue reading…

Read More »

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Pintail ducks, an elephant seal pup and an osprey in action are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

Continue reading…

Read More »

A green tree frog and an erupting volcano: Friday’s best photos

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights, including a baby elephant and Melania Trump on the Great Wall

Continue reading…

Read More »

Man jailed after rhino horns and elephant tusks are found in attic

Abbas Allawi is sentenced to 14 months for trying to sell on Instagram endangered animal parts worth up to £2m

A would-be trader in endangered animal parts has been jailed after rhino horns, elephant tusks and hippo teeth worth up to £2m were discovered by specially trained search dogs in a police raid.

Abbas Allawi, 52, was arrested when officers from the Metropolitan police’s wildlife crime unit searched his home in Gisburne Way, Watford, on 19 October last year.

Continue reading…

Read More »

Man jailed after rhino horns and elephant tusks are found in attic

Abbas Allawi is sentenced to 14 months for trying to sell on Instagram endangered animal parts worth up to £2m

A would-be trader in endangered animal parts has been jailed after rhino horns, elephant tusks and hippo teeth worth up to £2m were discovered by specially trained search dogs in a police raid.

Abbas Allawi, 52, was arrested when officers from the Metropolitan police’s wildlife crime unit searched his home in Gisburne Way, Watford, on 19 October last year.

Continue reading…

Read More »

Subscribe to our mailing list