Earlier 2020 I followed some of the initial stages of the re-wilding two cheetah, Saba and Nairo, from the UK to South Africa with The Aspinall Foundation.
This is the first time two captive cheetah have been taken from the UK to South Africa with the intention of putting them back in the wild.
We left Saba and Nairo in Ashia Cheetah Sanctuary with the intention for the next phase to take place in April, however the Covid-19 outbreak has delayed their final release. So for now, they are safe and well at Ashia Cheetah Conservation.
I hope that everything falls in place and I can return to cover their final release. In the meantime, here’s their journey..
Towards the end of 2019 I followed The Aspinall Foundation begin the re-introduction of African Painted Dogs to Gabon in Africa. Taking a pack of 7 Painted Dogs from their reserve Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve to Lékédi Parc in Gabon, Africa. An incredible experience, amazing to be a part of. During the adventure I shot and edited in the field a series of social media posts following their progress. Here’s the full journey, please do give it a watch to learn more about the Aspinall Foundation, this is just one example of so many important conservation moves they have made and continue to make.
Golden Trek is a series funded by Cancer Research Wales as part of their 50th Anniversary. A Charity trek with over 20 fund raisers was set up, the challenge was to trek 50 miles of the Sahara Desert and to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research Wales in sponsorship.
Here’s a mini blog I wrote after the shoot and some of the images I took along the way.
I got involved in the series Golden Trek because I love the idea of travelling with my camera and capturing powerful stories. The idea of a team of fundraisers taking on the challenge for Cancer Research Wales with their own stories to tell, braving the elements of the Sahara Desert, was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to.
The trekkers would have to walk 50miles over 6 days over dunes and lunar landscapes to complete their challenge, camping out each night with very little contact to the outside world.
Myself and my colleague Graham, our other cameraman, would need to endure the same journey but carrying our camera equipment as well as the thing that we would need to survive whilst, at the same time, filming the experience. The immediate challenges to us was the lack of battery power and filming in the sandiest place on the planet plus the extreme heat and freezing night time conditions, without ruining our cameras.
We collected as many batteries as we could and we pimped up our cameras with dust proof gear, packed our travel tripods and crossed our fingers.
The trekking team included a rep from Cancer Research Wales, our very own Doctor, our trek leader Eleni, two incredible local guides Boubker and Mohammed and some very special guests, fashion designer Julien Macdonald and weather girl Ruth Wignall, alongside the charity fundraisers.
The trek itself was definitely a challenge for the entire team. Highlights for us, the camera crew, were the sunsets/sunrises, the amazing scenery, sleeping under the stars and the hilarious camels who carried our tents and luggage to camp each day – all of which you will see in the series. There were difficult times, blisters, endless landscapes that could mentally mess you up, sand bugs, no toilets and the inevitable effects of the heat combined with lots of walking.
It was important for us to make sure we did the entire 50miles with the team, there were no crew vehicles or special treatment, what you see in the series is exactly what happened and the camera crew were completely involved at all stages. We shared the emotions of the team and the physical challenge and I hope that it is in being there throughout that we have been able to share with you an amazing story through an epic landscape.