April Update – So much to share!
I have so many exciting things to share with you, but first I must ask for your help. Our bank account is getting low. We have had many unexpected veterinary bills recently in addition to our building expenses, plus an extra well to dig (more on that below) and a toilet that we provided for the local community.
We still have a donation in play for matching funds up to $50,000. Please consider helping us reach that goal by donating. You can also help by forwarding this email to any fellow conservationists or elephant lovers. If you have any advice or ways to reach out to more people, please let me know. As always, I am standing by for any questions or suggestions you may have.
The Dallas Zoo is a remarkable facility. It has the most incredible elephant area (as well as other excellent habitats for other species). Scott and I are really proud of the work they are doing around the world for animal conservation. I encourage all of you to visit.
Now back to the exciting news! In March, I spoke at the Dallas Zoo during their elephant month. I know – I still can’t believe I have the nerve to speak in public, but I am so passionate about Elephant Havens that it actually comes easily. Our board member James Currie, birding expert, conservation advocate, and host of Nikon’s Birding Adventures TV and Nat Geo Wild’s Aerial Assassins, joined me, and it helped knowing I had a real professional to back me up.
We’re exploring ways to coordinate with the zoo that will benefit both their staff and ours. Elephant Havens is sponsoring a trip to the Dallas Zoo for Dr. Comfort, the vet who has been helping at Elephant Havens. He is coming to Dallas to spend a couple of weeks working with the zoo vets and staff. I think it will be a great learning opportunity for all involved.
Just last week I returned from a trip to Botswana with 12 amazing women from Houston and Dallas. It was a great joy for me to share the people and animals of a country I love so much. The women brought toys, backpacks, clothes, and sunglasses to the children. As Bee passed out all the goodies, I promise it was better than any Christmas these children have ever had!
I was also able to show off our progress at Elephant Havens. A friend and donor, who has been involved since the beginning, cried as she entered the gates and realized how much we had accomplished. She also saw little MmaMotse, our first orphan, running and playing as all baby elephants do.
Bee gave them a tour of our land and introduced them to MmaMotse (which means “haven”). She was the star of the show! What a sweet little girl and ambassador she has become. Our team also served an incredible lunch with singing and dancing included. It was a magical visit and I was thrilled to finally share this dream with friends both new and old.
While I was there, I noticed a local villager drinking brown muddy water. There are difficult drought conditions in Botswana right now. The village close to our property has no water well, and the residents are forced to drink from the river that is drying up. We are currently completing a well for Elephant Havens, so in one of those “while we’re at it, why don’t we” moments, we decided to also drill a water well for the local community. We must not only help elephants but also the sweet people who live amongst them. For about $7,000 we can give them clean water. That includes drilling the well, a pump and a storage container for the clean water.
I know with your help we can make this happen, so I’ve already told Bee to get the process started. I’m sure you would all agree that this well is much needed. I thank you all for your trust in Scott and me. I wish each and every one of you could see the faces of the people we are helping and get a hug from little MmaMotse. I know it would change your life.