Gorillas in the Wild

A Lifelong Dream Come True for Shawna

Perched on a freshly cleared pile of vines on the side of a mountain in Uganda, I peered down into a small hollow and made my first eye contact with the Mountain Gorilla. At 35 years of age, she was the oldest female in the family group, and was feeding a short distance away from the rest of her family. Her face was soft and gentle, and her eyes seemed to reveal a cautious tolerance of our presence. She ate slowly, clearly choosing her favorites and seeming to savor each bite of vine, leaf, or twig. Occasionally she spit out a small lump of chewed plant matter, having been unsatisfied with some aspect of the bite. Looking into her eyes, I felt that she was wise, and had a sense that she had lived through many difficult and beautiful moments in her 35 years of life in the jungle.

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Ecological Art Inspiration

blog-shoraiMeet Shorai Matambanadzo – Conserving wildlife and empowering girls through art

I am an ecological artist. My responsibility is to make residents in a cluster of villages where I work outside Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, aware of the connection between art and conservation. One place I do this is Rise and Shine Girls Club sponsored by Global Sojourns Giving Circle.

The 35 girls in the club have grown up seeing their male relatives chop down trees, carve small animals to sell to tourists and ferry the curios to market. This tourism-based art model threatens the once-plentiful hardwood forests of Southern Africa, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Erosion and other impacts of deforestation are made worse by the erratic climate.

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