Five years ago this month Margrit and Russ founded the nonprofit Nikela to help people saving African wildlife.
It’s hard to believe that it has been five years! Six really since that visit to the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary… the one that sparked it all.
Well actually it was the years previous to that… The five Russ and I spent in the Philippines. Once upon a time those islands must have been a tropical paradise, with the most colorful birds, unique primates and abundance of reptiles filling the forests. A National Geographic Magazine article stated that the variety of species was not even fully documented.
Where did they all go?
During our stay in the Philippines we saw two bird sanctuaries full of the most beautiful birds I’ve ever seen, one on Corregidor and one by Subic Bay, reduced to nothing but empty cages.
With a large parrot selling for $8,000 and anything that moved being either eaten or tied up and sold along the road, it wasn’t hard to surmise what had happened.
On the heels of observing the exploitation of the Philippine Islands we visited my parents in South Africa and saw similar trends. Wildlife had a price on its head and was going to the highest bidder!
What could be done?
What could we do to help people like Shannon who works tirelessly to protect Africa’s raptors and touch thousands of students and adults via magical flight shows? We simply had to do something… anything was better than nothing!
Like most we’re not independently wealthily. Like most we aren’t wildlife conservationists… only concerned ordinary people who want to help. But wait! There were surely others like us too… who wanedt to help but didn’t know how!
Nikela was founded as a nonprofit, a means for ordinary people on a budget to get involved right from the comfort of their own home.
We built it… did they come?
We reached out and invited people across the globe to get involved. We had grand plans of attracting thousands, receiving millions and changing the world. Well, we didn’t. We thought we’d failed because we couldn’t help Shannon and her raptors, Ian and his bush school, Aton and his leopards, Karin and her primates and the anti-poaching rangers like Peter on the grand scale we’d envisioned.
But wait with your donations we’ve helped…
Purchase a thermal imaging camera for the Air Ranger, build a forever home for a Bearded Vulture, give an entire troop of rehabilitated monkeys a second chance, buy two camera traps for leopard research, build a medic center for injured primates, send local Enviro Club students to experience a Bird of Prey flight show…. and more.
We keep getting told is sharing the stories of people doing good for willdife, raising awareness across the internet, personally caring, visiting and offering moral support.
Of course, besides our travels to Africa, much of this would not have been or be possible without the many volunteers who contribute their time and skills to research, write, create, design, and even manage our social media.
Get involved by…
Giving some time. As a totally volunteer organization and as folks come and go based on their time and schedule… your help is always welcome.
Consider getting involved by volunteering short or long term.
or by making a small monthly donation or if you can a larger one time donation.
What lies ahead?
Living in a Landy and saving wildlife!
Since Russ and I retired from earning a living we now can devote more time to helping people saving wildlife. We spent the majority of 2014 in Africa and will do so again in 2015 meeting the most amazing people and stepping up our efforts to help them. Don’t worry we totally pay our own way. 100% of your donations go to help those who save wildlife.
Besides getting involved with wildlife conservationists in South Africa, we are now reaching out to those in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe and 2015 will find us travelling from South Africa through the Serengeti and all the way up to Kenya.
Can’t wait to meet so many more great people and seeing more amazing wildlife!
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Helping out is easy. Just click the giraffe below to make a donation!
Remember, we pay our own way so that 100% of your donation can go to help those saving Africa’s wildlife.