Beauty & Wonder
One of the most striking birds on the continent, the Lilac-breasted Roller takes your breath away whether you’ve seen it once or you see it daily. Rich lilac, turquoise, and royal blue blend in this birds’ gorgeous feathers - an epitome of natural beauty. 
We were privileged to see an astonishing 19 lekking Kori Bustard on the Ngorongoro crater floor. Famous for arguably being the heaviest living species capable of flight, Kori Bustards spend most of their time on the ground.  I was quite captivated by this handsome fellow, as well as by the honor of seeing such fascinating behavior.
Humankind has long associated our strongest descriptors with various wild species, and few evoke such powerful imagery as the lion. Grace, power, royalty: the “king of the jungle” is forever a creature of our imagination. How stunning then, to watch this monarch tread through the forest not a car-length away. 
Local Relationships & Foreign Partnerships
The Maasai people and their cattle cannot be separated. According to Maasai legend, the creator created all cows for the Maasai. To this day cattle provide for most of the communities’ needs, from milk and dairy products to building supplies. Even more so, cattle represent wealth and status, and are intimately prized and cared for by their families. Here the warrior Ezekial (12) poses with one of his family’s prized cows. Cattle can bring Maasai into conflict with local wildlife, both directly when predators attack their herds and indirectly through grazing competition with wildebeest and other species. 
The chairman of Loiborsoit village told me that Maasai are by nature conservationists; days spent watching wildlife graze alongside their cattle has provided them with the belief that “God made us to live together.”  Here two young warriors – Ezekiely (12) and Zakary (17) – play an impromptu game of soccer while protecting their grazing cattle. In the background, a small herd of wildebeest watch unconcerned.
The young warrior Alais (6) laughs as he prepares a cart to collect water from the village pump. In the background, the thorny wall enclosing his family’s enkang is visible. Just a few days before I arrived, a hyena broke through the thorn wall and killed 50 goats and sheep. This type of human-wildlife conflict is increasing as the local human population grows and as hyenas overcome protective measures put in place by the local community.
Tanzania is home to incredible to natural wealth, and we are all the richer when we are able to appreciate it. Over a million domestic and foreign tourists travel around Tanzania every year, most of which come to appreciate the wildlife and natural landscapes. Appreciation is the first step to conservation, although tourism is often a double-edged sword. Increased human traffic can endanger the very species we come to see.
Money makes the world go round and one major benefit of partnerships between local and foreign communities are the financial resources brought by tourism and non-profit organizations. However, the distribution of tourism dollars is not reflective of the burden of tourism. Millions of tourist dollars flow into the national government through Tarangire National Park every year – yet surrounding villages only receive an average of $25 a year.
Successful conservation is built from relationships between people. This photo represents my time in the Maasai village, and the relationship I formed with my host brother. The deeper the connections we form, the stronger the legacy we can leave.
An Uncertain Future
Black Rhinoceros are, sadly, just one of many critically endangered African species. Facing dual threats of poaching and habitat loss, Black Rhinos have lost over 98% of their population in the last century alone. To me, this image evokes the feeling of loss we experience with the decline not just of such charismatic species as the rhino, but of all biodiversity. Do we want to live in a world emptied of its wildlife?
Conservation efforts are often too easily set back. Here a young elephant calf lies dead after being trampled by a bull in musth, a periodic condition in which males experience extremely elevated hormones and aggression levels. Such losses are amplified by small, fragmented populations. 
Aldo Leopold once said: “conservation is not merely a thing to be enshrined in outdoor museums, but a way of living on the land”. The net impact of all our decisions, not a single act, will determine the future we share with our fellow animal species. 
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