Category: conscious tourism

Where did it all begin

It was during the long nights with Thandora that my mindwould  drift and search for the answers that plagued the captive elephant tourism industry of today. The attraction of being able to stand right beside these huge magnificent beasts, feed and interact with them, makes one oblivious to any doubt of them being unhappy. Having witnessed tens of thousands of tourists visiting captive elephants I learned that these visitors invariably believed what they were told. Some of what they are told is the truth and then there is a lot that is not true.

And what are the tourists told?

Read more
wild animal
Chi cerca trova
Blog 3

Il progetto della riserva di Shongweni era nato come un qualcosa di secondario a cui sia io che Greg ci eravamo ripromessi di dedicare solo un’ora al giorno per eventuali telefonate, sviluppi, mail da scrivere, ma eravamo entrambi d’accordo che non avrebbe rappresentato la nostra priorità.

Tutti bei propositi che sono diventati aria non appena ci siamo piacevolmente scontrati con la realtà di un Inkosi che ora vuole proclamare la sua terra riserva naturale, la realtà della vecchia gestione che a fine giugno 2018 avrebbe terminato il contratto, la realtà delle 10/15 telefonate al giorno con persone di diversi dipartimenti che cercavamo di approcciare per rinforzare il progetto con collaborazioni strategiche. Ormai questo progetto ci stava assorbendo pensieri, energie e tempo.

Read more
Conserving biodiversity
Destinazione finale: conservare la biodiversità
Blog 1

Prendendo un po’ di coraggio e partendo dal presupposto che sono una persona che non ama parlare sé, ma piuttosto mi piace e riesce più semplice ascoltare, ho deciso di fare qualcosa che mai avrei pensato di fare: scrivere un blog. Forse proprio il fatto che mi riesce così facile osservare e ascoltare chi o cosa è intorno a me, mi consente di fare per così dire da ricettore verso tutto ciò che mi succede vicino e di conseguenza mi regala un bagaglio inestimabile di conoscenze e informazioni. E allora a questo punto ho deciso di condividerle con voi tutte queste osservazioni e informazioni. Il blog non tratterà di me, ma userò la mia esperienza per trattare un tema a me molto caro e non sempre compreso fino in fondo.

Read more
elephant in captivity
A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – Final Chapter


Readers of this blog will probably ask 100 questions and offer as many possible answers as to why the girls did not accept Thandora.

During my hours with her in the reserve I challenged every scenario possible. All I can say is that Thandora was happy on her own. The day after the famous meeting described in videos and pictures in the previous blog, we meandered to a dam I called our ‘secret dam’. The water was clear and for some reason there were no traces of elephant spoor at this Dam. I assumed the other elephants did not come to this dam very often for whatever reason.

Read more
captive elephant release
A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – Part 9

Our quest was to get her to interact and link up with Bonnie and Thembile, two elephants we released from captivity a few years earlier (mentioned in a previous blog post). The brief encounters Thandora had with the two girls were always in the evening, and were unpleasant. The two girls would attack her, striking her with their tusks and she would flee. During these times I would feel so helpless, when I eventually caught up with her she would come close to the vehicle for protection. These encounters destroyed me emotionally. There are no words to describe her state after these encounters, especially when her distress was tangible with her tremors vibrating through the vehicle as she leaned closer to the vehicle than ever before.


Read more
A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – part 6

Reserve Life

The holding Boma is situated a few kilometres from the main lodges and within the 11 000 hectare reserve where Thandora was to be released. At this stage I was with Thandora 24/7, and with life returning to normal on the reserve, my support group had whittled down to two reserve staff who relieved me when I needed a break.  My team had whittled away slowly, with the behavioural specialists having left, leaving me alone with her. It was important to have consistency in the staff working with her as we built up to the release date.

Read more
conservation guardians
A Journey with Elephants by Greg Vogt – Conservation Guardians
Thandora – part 5

Who put who to bed?

It was a warm night and the sun set to a kaleidoscope of colours with Thandora setting a lone figure with a backdrop of beautiful mountains. I was checking mails on my phone and drifting off in thought when I felt a thud, and the car jolted and shook. I startled and turned to see that Thandora was leaning against the vehicle, a 4×4. She was using the vehicle as her sleeping pillar. Then she started snoring and I then realised she was just a scared little soul that wanted to be close to another being.

Read more