Botswana: Making a Difference

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One of the elephants we tracked.

This is one of the elephants we saw in Chobe National Park.

Rick is sharing his adventures in Africa with staff from our conservation partner, Elephants Without Borders. Read his previous post, Botswana: Chobe River.

May 9, 2009 (Saturday)

Yesterday, Friday, we did our last bit of filming and said our goodbyes to Chobe National Park. After we got the shots we needed, Shea Johnson, the San Diego Zoo’s videographer, and I had a great time just watching several herds of elephants come down to the river from the surrounding area. I’d have to say one of my favorite things to watch was the littlest babies rolling and playing in the mud. It was also very interesting to watch the mothers, aunts, and older siblings stand protectively around and over the youngsters while they played.

On our last visit to the national park we also got to see a couple of jackals, a small herd of giraffes, four or five warthogs ,and countless impala. As the sun set on another beautiful day, we headed back to the lodge. It was a very good way to say good-bye to such an amazing part of the world.

Today, Saturday, was spent wrapping up our last-minute work and packing for our long trip back. We are scheduled to sit in on a talk Dr. Mike Chase is giving about Elephants Without Borders (EWB) this evening. Needless to say, I am looking forward to that, especially after seeing certain elements of his work first hand.

We have had a very productive trip and thanks to Dr. Chase and Kelly Landen, we were able to get a lot of things done in a little amount of time. Tomorrow we fly from Kasane to Gaborone and we’ll spend the night there. The following morning we will take the first flight out to Johannesburg and then connect to our long flight back to the States.

Shea gets video footage of me talking about Africa.

Shea gets video footage of me talking about Africa.

If there is any one thing that I have taken away from this trip, and if there is any one thing I wish to share with you, it is this: one person can make a huge difference. The proof is in the Zoo’s conservation partner, Elephants Without Borders. Dr. Michael Chase had a dream and a passion to do something for the majestic elephants of Africa. His dream and passion is shared by Kelly, and now the two of them are making a difference, a huge difference. I strongly suggest you learn more about their work, and the work of people like them, that are out there doing something about conservation.

With that, I have to say goodbye to Botswana, or maybe just a “see you later.” What a wonderful country.

To support our elephant conservation work in Africa and learn more, visit the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy.

Rick Schwartz is the San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey Ambassador