Wildlife

The Rest of the Story…an Unimagined Adventure

Becci-Crowe-and-Meerkats-for-blog

Sketching Meerkats in Namibia

Twenty years ago if someone had asked me what I’d be doing today, I wouldn’t even come close to describing my life. I had just started a full time career as a wildlife artist and was about to embark on my first trip to Africa.  I didn’t know what the future would hold. I did know that I loved wildlife and traveling to wild places and I was ready to take more steps in that direction…..and share what I loved through art.

What started then as a once in a lifetime trip to Africa as an artist has turned into many life changing journeys. There have been all kinds of encounters with animals over the years, including a few close calls, and it’s ignited a passion to help secure a wild future for them all.

I’m now networking with conservationists who have dedicated their lives to protecting our planet.  But there was one I could only observe from afar. . . a trailblazer I had been reading about since childhood who has been an inspiration to me as a woman, a scientist, an explorer and a UN Messenger for Peace – Dr. Jane Goodall. She seemed unreachable.

Jane-Goodall-and-Becci-Crowe

With Dr. Jane Goodall at Wildlife Conservation Network

 

That changed 3 years ago when I met her for the first time at a Nature Conservancy Event in Seattle and then on two other occasions at the Wildlife Conservation Network in San Francisco.  Meeting her was something I had dreamed of – and held onto as a possibility –  and it was as exciting as I imagined. But that was as far as I had allowed myself to imagine. Who could ask for more?

My steps in the world are like the dots I place on paper as an Artist – one following the other, not knowing for sure what the end result will be, but remembering that as long as I follow my heart, everything else will come. And come it did.

Dr. Jane turned 80 on April 3rd and my husband and I had the honor of being with her at her birthday celebration.  I was a child in a dream.  Formal photos were taken but my favorite will always be this Selfie I took of us – poor quality and all.

Selfie with Dr. Jane at her 80th birthday

Selfie with Dr. Jane at her 80th birthday

 

 

And now the rest of the story……the unimagined adventure. I’ll be meeting Dr. Jane in the Republic of Congo at her Chimpanzee Sanctuary early next year. And, safety conditions allowing, assisting her with the relocation/release of one of the orphaned chimpanzees. There’s a Selfie somewhere in that experience!

What captures your heart? Reach for that. That’s your connection to an unimaginable life. And it will come – in ways you never thought possible.

Until next time,

Becci Crowe

Signature Member Artists for Conservation

Categories: Adventure Travel, Life, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Unknown Calls…Will you Answer?

Stepping into the Unknown transformed my life. I shared my journey during my recent TEDx talk now posted on YouTube. I was given 10 minutes. Here it is…Feel free to share and let me know your thoughts…

Categories: Adventure Travel, Life, Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Going to the dogs

Jane Goodall, Becci Crowe, & Greg Rasmussen

Plans are in the works to return to Africa again this year. It will be my 10th trip and this experience promises to be like no other.  My husband and I will be joining Dr. Greg Rasmussen, Founder & Research Director of Painted Dog Conservation in Zimbabwe.  No safari for us – it won’t be necessary – we’ll be camped out in the bush with wildlife 24/7  as we track, collar, and collect data on the endangered Painted Dogs of Africa.We first met Greg 18 months ago while attending the Wildlife Conservation Network  in San Francisco.  I’d been following his work with Painted Dogs and we hit it off immediately.  Greg’s friends include many internationally known conservationists including the legendary Jane Goodall.

“Painted” patterns are unique to each dog

 

Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and among Africa’s most endangered species.  At the turn of the 20th century there were half a million. It is estimated that only 3,000 – 5,000 still survive. The population in Zimbabwe is one of the last strongholds of the species and Greg’s Painted Dog Conservation  is committed to saving them.

Painted Dogs have long legs, a lean body and large ears.  Their coats vary in pattern and coloration mixing black, grey, gold, and white to produce a unique painted effect.  They live in packs and are very social.  Only the dominant male and female breed, but the whole pack takes care of the young.

Hyena and Painted Dog

 

 

 

A question I’m often asked is how Painted Dogs differ from hyenas.  Seeing them side by side makes the physical differences obvious.  Hyena will take every opportunity to steal whatever the Dogs kill.

Becci & her guide in Zimbabwe in 2004 surrounded by a large pack of Painted Dog

On our last trip to Zimbabwe we filmed our documentary  “As Close As You Dare – Africa” which was broadcast by PBS across the US.  During our filming we encountered a large pack of Painted Dogs and found ourselves surrounded.  We captured some incredible footage that shows what happened.  (The DVD is available) While in Zimbabwe this year with Greg Rasmussen we’ll be searching for this pack again to record how they’re doing.

My summer adventure.  What’s on your list?  Join me on the journey.

Becci Crowe   Adventure Artist

Categories: Travel, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 7 Comments

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