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Natural World Heroes

Sl Benjamin Hardman
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Celebrating Our Natural World Heroes

Our original Natural World Heroes campaign marked the 10-year anniversary of Natural World Safaris. To celebrate a decade of adventure in the natural world, we interviewed 10 extraordinary heroes that specialise in the destinations, wildlife and habitats that we take our clients to. After being enthralled by the stories of the first fascinating individuals that we featured, we felt that 10 wasn't enough! In the years since we have continued to feature new Natural World Heroes, allowing us to share more of what we love about these conservationists.

Our heroes may be explorers, philanthropists or pioneers. They may be wildlife guides, biologists or documentary-makers. Helping to preserve and raise awareness of precious flora and fauna, our heroes reach out to individuals, communities, countries, organisations and travellers, to share knowledge about the environment and conservation.

They help us to experience amazing wildlife and habitats in a responsible way, contributing to the future survival of some of the world’s most beautiful and fragile environments.

By profiling a selection of inspirational individuals we hope to highlight their commitment to safeguarding habitats, wildlife and the communities among them. We hope that this will motivate travellers and natural world enthusiasts everywhere to use their voice and take action to do the same, in whatever capacity they are able to.

These are individuals that drive research, initiate change, implement initiatives and projects, stir the public consciousness and inspire and educate others.

The Circle Of Life By David Yarrow

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation is a small, highly effective wildlife conservation charity funding key conservation projects across Africa and Asia. Our mission is to increase awareness to people around the world about the need to protect and conserve endangered animals and their habitats. We fund projects that fight wildlife crime, protect natural areas and engage local communities in finding long-term, sustainable solutions to protect their native wildlife. We also campaign for stronger laws and protectionist policies for wildlife and fund investigations to expose the illegal trade in endangered species.

Through dedication and hard work the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation has influenced policy, shifted attitudes and provided an unwavering voice for wildlife conservation from grass roots to the world stage for over 30 years.

With wildlife artist and conservationist David Shepherd CBE as our founder, art forms a corner stone of our fundraising activities.

Conservation successes are hard won and vitally important to the survival of endangered wildlife and we are hugely proud of what our donors have helped us achieve.

Our Conservation Partners

Primates: Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project

The rare mountain gorillas of Central Africa are one of the few obvious conservation success stories in the world of wildlife today. There are a number of reasons for this however one of them has to be the intervention of the hard working mountain gorilla vets (MGVP). Working in and around Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda, MGVP is responsible for monitoring the health of the resident gorilla populations throughout these countries whether it be medical issues through illness, inter-gorilla group conflict, poaching, or gorilla individuals that have been caught in snares.

Natural World Safaris has been an avid supporter of MGVP for over 5 years and has regularly contributed to their efforts through donations and even the co-production of a stunning photography book on mountain gorillas that helped raise funds for MGVP efforts in the field.

Our Rwanda Gorillas and Conservation Safari offers our clients to track the mountain gorillas and to visit the mountain gorillas vets themselves.

Big Cats: Tiger Nation

We were recently runner up in the TOFT Tigers International Wildlife Tour Operator of the Year category 2014. This award acknowledges the role of tourism in support of tiger conservation in India.NWS has worked with TOFT (Travel Operators for Tigers) for the last 5 years and recently undertook sponsorship of an individual male tiger through TOFT’s partner organisation Tiger Nation. This is a vital organisation that wherever possible, follows every footstep of every wild tiger through the national parks of India. As you can imagine, this is not an easy undertaking and involves countless individuals monitoring and updating the Tiger Nation site on a daily basis through imagery, videography and social media channels. The aim and principle focus of Tiger Nation is to effect conservation through making tigers visible.

The judges commended us on our high quality of client service and in-depth knowledge of our destinations, alongside our genuine dedication and contribution to conservation in this region.

Bears: The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

The smallest among bears, Sun Bears live in the forests of South East Asia and are so named for their bib-shaped patch on their chests, which legend says represents the rising sun. Also referred to as Dog Bears due to their short muzzle, these unusual bears boast exceptionally long claws for climbing and tongues for extracting food like honey and insects. Sadly, like most endangered species the Malayan Sun Bear is at risk due to reduced habitats and poaching. They are taken from the wild for their meat, as exotic pets and for traditional medicine purposes, some even suffering the unspeakably horrific process of bile-farming.

We are really proud to support the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. The sanctuary is designed to raise awareness and encourage research into the survival of this amazing animal. For each of our small groups that visit the centre in Borneo we will donate US$100 to the centre but best of all you’ll be guided through by local Sun Bear expert Mr Siew Te Wong.

Uganda Conservation Foundation

A decade on, and UCF has earned a reputation for being a proactive organisation. In 2009, 90% of our funding was turned directly into conservation in action.Natural World Safaris, MD, Will Bolsover is also a trustee of Uganda Conservation Foundation (UFC) to whom we also pay £350 annual membership. UCF was set up to help previously war-stricken, heavily poached, high biodiversity regions in Uganda and Central Africa. Over the past 40 years, severe poaching across Uganda had killed all the rhino and most of the once famed herds of elephants that gave the country the reputation of having the most mega-herbivores per km² in Africa. UCF evolved from a research project called Elephants, Crops and People undertaken by Michael Keigwin in the 1990s in which he witnessed at first hand the daily battle for survival of people and wildlife alike.

Working with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), UCF seeks to sensitise communities and demonstrate through practical projects how financial benefits can be gained from conservation.