WILD THING Earth Day issue


Frolic with Giraffes in an OUT OF AFRICA Karen Blixen-style manor. Meet eco-safari expeditionist Chris Mahoney. Do you know what your wild animal spirit is? Jane Goodall speaks to when zoos are done right. Swim trunks for elephant trunks. Spending time with Pedro & his beloved orangutans. Sir David Attenborough backs new tech that can recycle ALL plastics and when your business partner used to work with gorillas - a heartfelt farewell to a Very Important Primate.



Giraffe Manor in Nairobi is on our bucket list for obvious reasons but also their commitment to conservation, health & education across Kenya through their Footprint Foundation dedicated to protection of wildlife, wilderness & local communities - FOOTPRINT FOUNDATION

Stay in the Karen Blixen (OUT OF AFRICA) 2 bedroom suite on the top floor which houses Karen Blixen's original wardrobe and dressing table given to the mother of Jock Leslie-Melville, the manor's owner in 1970s, as a parting gift when Karen returned to Denmark in 1931.


London swim and resort wear brand, LOVE BRAND & Co. is committed to saving elephants. Built on quality, authenticity, sustainability, family & giving back. Husband & wife team create elegant, hand drawn collections that are vegan and produced in Europe using the finest organic & recycled fabrics - giving back to save elephants & more.


Q&A with Chris Mahoney

Q) What was your favorite animal as a child?

Very strangely I collected everything that had an elephant on it.

Q) Do you recall the moment you knew you wanted to go on Safari?

Yes! I didn't have any family context but when I was 13 years old I found Peter Beard's book, "END OF THE GAME" - it was everything I was interested in. It was my life.

Q) What's one of your most fantastic memories out in the wild?

I awake & prepare for game drives long before clients wake up... One morning at safari camp in the Mara, I unzipped my tent to find a small pride of 5 Lions on my veranda. They were not planning on leaving anytime soon, and I certainly wasn't going to ask them. Thankfully there was a bar of cell reception and I was able to call out to head askari (Masai Security)- to check on the guests & ensure they stay in their tents until I come to get them. Around 7AM, the lions walked off - passing in front of the guests tents (with the askaris on guard) which was quite a thrill for everyone!

Q) Do you have a not-so-fantastic story you could share with us?

The politics in conservation and governments can be shocking and disheartening, but it shows that when organizations do have success - then it is a monumental achievement.

Q)What is important to look for when choosing a safari expedition?

Choosing a non-extractive organization is number one. There are a lot of players that can look good online, but could be paying low wages and not at all involved in conservation. The second thing would be working with an organization that gives back locally and is transparent about their conservation efforts and partnerships.

Q) If you could choose only one person (living or not) to go on an extended safari adventure - who would it be and why?

Everyone I take on safari is an honor for me! I would have liked to go to Masai Mara with Peter Beard back in the 70s. It was so raw then before it was inundated with over tourism.

Q) What is a typical day waking up out in the bush?

That is my comfort zone! For new people coming in, sometimes it is hard for them to sleep. I like the sounds of the hyenas, the sound of tent flaps fluttering against the canvas in the wind, giraffes walking gracefully by, baboons calling to each other... There are so many more bird calls than you can possibly imagine and the sunrise is just magnificent - that you want to get up early to enjoy it.

Q) Do you have a go-to spirit animal?

I had a very special dog. He was a Husky and was my right hand man. He died quite a few years ago. I once almost drowned in the Nile River - as I was struggling, I saw my old dog (his name was Sammy) running down the banks... When I am in the bush, I am listening for him to tell me what to do. I know he is always with me.

Q) We hear you have started a new safari adventure in the U.S.?

I am bringing the essence of a safari travel experience - (safari being a Swahili word meaning journey) - to the southwest of the U.S. called AMERICAN SOUTHWEST SAFARI COMPANY. The southwest reminds me so much of Africa in many ways - big skies, great diversity in culture, flavors, topography... The website is still in production, but it will be americansouthwestsafaris.com. We just finished our first official, ice-breaking trip. We went from AZ-CA-Utah-Colorado on a 4,000 mile journey. The time is right because of the dysphoria of people leaving cities & going to new places - wanting to see more of the U.S. I want to get them away from crowded areas - show them what they didn't know existed and perhaps, didn't know they wanted.

Check out his instagram @AmericanSouthwestSafaris

Thank you Chris!!

Zoos Done Right



It was my first day as a Zoo Keeper Assistant at the Orangutan unit of Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle. I entered the Orangutan bedrooms and picked up the musky scent for the first time - pretty much "smelled" them first and then met them "in person" after. At that very moment I knew this is what I want to do with my life. Dedicate my efforts and passion to do whatever I can to save orangutans from imminent extinction. 12 years have passed and it is the best thing I have ever done with my life! Beloved Towan and Chinta (first twin brother and sister ever born in captivity) taught me that there are other intelligences in this planet as important as us. The amazing ways they interact with us is mind blowing - they can anticipate your next move like reading your mind and creating a bond. Every morning Towan used to sit down in front of his self designated feeding station and have breakfast with us -"demanding our time". He was a painter & a movie star because of his features, locomotion, gestures and character - he was studied and brought to the movies by actor who played the roll of Maurice the Orangutan in the 3 installments of The Planet Of The Apes movie trilogy. Chinta was always such an intelligent sentient being. She was part of the cleaning crew in her enclosure, making hand brooms out of hay to sweep the floors in the same way keepers do using brooms - just by observing us. I could go on & on. The relevance and importance of saving them from extinction I believe is if we cannot save them, ultimately we won't be able to save ourselves and the rest of great apes, cetaceans, pachyderms & other intelligences on this planet.

Pedro Diaz with Towan and Chinta

TOWAN photo by Andy Rogers Seattle Post-Intelligencer


Orangutan is wise & strong = trust your inner self, Hippopotamus is respected & stable = you are creative and practical, Tiger is power & freedom = you have a fiery strength of will, Black Panther is valor & protection = you are a fierce guardian, Cheetah is precision & empathy = you are patient but fast acting, Giraffe is elegant in manner = you have the gift of foresight, Gorilla is dignity & quiet honor = grand nobility exists in you, Chameleon is bold & perceptive = you have strong intuition, Zebra is harmony & balance = you are a free spirit with unique gifts, Elephant is majestic & loyal = you possess the power of love & healing, Rhinoceros is resilience & substance = you are sturdy with inner peace & agility, Leopard is calm being & giver of sound advice = you are confident in your life.

all wild spirit animal images from SOLAPOP

Earth Day News

photo from goodnewsnetwork.org

Wildlife filmmaker Sir David Attenborough backs New Tech from a recycling plant in England that can RECYCLE ALL PLASTICS...

THROWBACK - our Hungry Socialite Tiffany was a volunteer, seasonal keeper, & intermittent keeper back in the day at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle for a decade. She knew she wanted to volunteer & work with animals, specifically primates, but had mixed emotions about working at a zoo. But she quickly learned about the kindness and compassion that these zookeepers possess and how much work they do to encourage conservation. Ultimately these animals serve as ambassadors for their species to encourage education and change for their future. Working with gorillas was the most exciting and educational experience of my life thus far. Of course I had some favorites & they sure did too! I can tell you that I was NOT Nina's favorite. My special bond came with the beautiful Nadiri, everyone called her Nadi, but in my mind she was 'naughty.' In 2015, Nadiri and VIP became the proud parents of baby Yola. I sincerely hope that people will continue to teach their children about conservation and the protection of all our majestic animal friends.

photo credit: Boone Wagner

This issue is dedicated to VIP 1979-2021

VIP was the first zoo born gorilla and so was named VERY IMPORTANT PRIMATE. He was a magnificent silverback, western lowland gorilla who lived to 42 years age of which 25 years were spent at Woodland Park Zoo. Though his appearance was mistakenly grumpy because of his low brow ridge, he was playful and kind, an attentive dad to each of his daughters. He led with patience and was an excellent companion.



Join us for a trip out to Prescott, Arizona the Wild Wild West hang out of the Earp Brothers & Doc Holliday and hometown of Make-A-Wish founder Frank Shankwitz. It's One Helluva Ride memorial tribute to celebrate his life in making dreams come true! RIP Frank 1943 - 2021