Your girl, Kate, here.
First time making one of these, so bear with me!
As some of you probably know, I just got home from an incredible work opportunity filming on and around the Erindi Private Game Reserve in Namibia.
During that time, I saw how constant and relentless the poaching and commercial development is even in private reserves as well as the difficulty both private and public agencies have in working together to try to combat this issue.
This, naturally, became all the more relevant with the policy instituted today by Donald Trump to lift President Obama's ban against the transport of elephant "trophies" from delicate ecosystems such as Zimbabwe and Zambia where elephant populations are still considered endangered and under high risk.
I was offered a managerial position within the guide/ranger's department while still filming at Erindi, but I have been unable to accept it due to restrictions on the quantity of foreign work visas allowed by Namibian companies. :(
Despite this setback, I am determined to still make myself of service on a free and/or volunteer basis to Erindi, Etoshu, and any other public or private agencies within Namibia and the Southern African countries likely to be impacted by this policy.
My goal is to bolster support for continuing transition of properties and businesses from big game hunting to ecotourism and preservation.
(FYI: these sister lionesses from the Erindi Victoria pride are okay! they are just napping and snuggling <3)
Well, turns out there is a big need for skilled labour there, particularly amongst people with an environmental science background (Thanks, UCLA)!
Also, the ecotourism industry has benefited from major increases recently via the subsidization of sustainable film and television productions and documentaries that serve to highlight so much of the rare wildlife and ecology of these areas. Businesses in Southern Africa are looking for people to help out in facilitating continued accessability and exposure for foreign productions, which is in my recent wheelhouse.
Thankfully, the US dollar goes a long way in Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe, and my goal is a super attainable one!
Any funds you guys can share with me will go towards covering basic necessities/relocation fees for the time of my temporary visa. Am working my butt off to make as much as I can on my own before my goal of leaving in January, but it is a big move.
And, it doesn't take much to make a difference! Seriously.
I have friends in Namibia that are able to help me with housing and connecting to the preserves and agencies, but I could use any help I can get with:
a. the plane fare to/from Windhoek, Namibia from LA (I estimate this to be the biggest cost, as this ranges between $1500 - $2000 USD, depending on the dates of travel)
b. cost of transport between volunteer locations (i.e. rental cars, buses, etc) - giving myself a wide budget of $1500-2000 USD on this, to be on the safe side.
Namibia, on its own, has one of the highest rates of car accidents in the world, so car insurance is critical.
c. cost of a Namibian/South African phone plan - from what I understand, this is typically about $30 USD/month
d. health insurance - $450 for 3 months
Anywhere between $20-$100 USD would make a huge difference for me in pulling together what I need to afford this relocation.
Whatever you can manage, however, would mean the world!!
I promise to do all I can within my training, resources, and expertise to enable and support positive, pro-conservation businesses and fight the impacts of this policy-shift from the ground.
I know that if we could all do this much right now, we would, right? I hope you guys will help me take advantage of this opportunity to make a difference in a really critical time.
I promise to also post updates like my photos above of the flora and fauna that I have the opportunity to see along the way, as well as lots of sweet science facts for anyone interested :)
Thanks so much in advance, guys.
Lots of love,
- Montgomery Coleman
- Frantz Lauredant
- Leilani Huggins
- Kevin Vaughn