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Showing posts from 2017

My work with the Belize Raptor Center

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Earlier this year I decided to spend a few months in Belize working with rehabilitated raptors at the Belize Raptor Center with bird trainer Aron Smolley. And let me tell you what a HOOT it was!

BRC is a small raptor rehabilitation center and sanctuary in San Ignacio, Belize. It is situated in a semi-forested area outside of town, 25 minutes up and down a very bumpy, hilly dirt road. There are 7 education birds at the center, birds who came in for rehabilitation and who for one reason or another cannot be returned to the wild. These birds serve as ambassadors for their species in educational outreach programs.

Aron moved to Belize in November 2016 to help offer more progressive bird training methods to BRC, and I came to help with rehabilitation and to learn some of these training methods. Bird training is important because it allows for the trainer to build a trusting relationship with the bird, so that the bird willingly participates in educational programs for the public. BRC is i…

Thailand Elephant Sanctuary with Jennie of the Jungle Part 2 - Elephant Nature Park

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November 2015 was my first-ever trip with my new business Jennie of the Jungle, and I chose to take clients to volunteer at Lek Chalert's Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. The Elephant Nature Park is among a few of the only legit conservation organizations/sanctuaries in the country. Many organizations claim to rescue elephants, but in reality they deny them true freedom and natural behavior, the ability to socialize and form family groups, and continue to exploit them and their negatively trained behaviors for profit. As a general rule, if you can ride an elephant, it is still being abused.

Elephants have to have their spirits broken in order to learn behaviors that are unnatural to them, such as riding people around, doing tricks, and yes - even painting. Breaking an elephant's spirit takes years and years of abuse - which, in Thailand and many surrounding countries, involves beating, burning, skinning, starving, and other brutal tactics that we don't like to think abou…

Thailand Elephant Sanctuary with Jennie of the Jungle Part 1

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In November of 2015 I made my first trip as Jennie of the Jungle, taking wildlife-loving clients to work with elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. And the experience was simply amazing. I learned a lot about a new country and what it takes to be responsible for the experiences of others, and learned that confidence is the key to getting what you want out of life...


I arrived in Bangkok after dark, got a cab from the airport and thought I was headed to the studio I had rented to spend some time preparing for one of my clients who would arrive three days later. Little did I know, this cab driver (and most of the other ones, too) did not have any idea where he was going. He turned around and asked me the address multiple times (which I had given him in writing and in Thai, no less!). He ended up coming to a complete stop on the freeway and backing up until he reached the on-ramp he didn't mean to enter. As semi-trucks came straight for us at a startling speed, I thought…