Think Before You Walk, by Ian Michler

There’s a decided feel-good factor to cuddling a lion cub or riding an elephant; it’s something that, given half a chance, many of us would do without thinking twice. But would we be contributing to research and conservation, as wildlife-encounter operations claim? Probably not, says Ian Michler. (First published in Africa Geographic, December 2011/January 2012) Read more!


Ian Michler, a top wildlife guide, photojournalist and naturalist, has spent the last decade documenting the major conservation challenges facing Africa. An author of 6 travel books on various African countries, his work is well known to readers of the award winning magazines, Africa Geographic and Africa Birds and Birding. Michler will be co-leading one of WILD’s latest field projects, In the Tracks of Giants; a 6 month east-to-west journey connecting major conservation nodes to promote a greater awareness of conservation, human community and leadership issues specifically relevant to southern Africa.

The WILD foundation is granted the rights to publish the attached article in any format (digital or print), free of charge, provided the credit lines are used.

Text & photographs by Ian Michler

First published by Africa Geographic www.africageographic.com

Download Ian Michler’s article, Think Before You Walk

3 Comments (Post Comment)
Iraida Jimenez says:

Hello, I just watched the documentary Blood lions and have read your article Think before you Walk. Just like a past post from Mari Afesth on July 3 2013. I will be working in a wildlife sanctuary in harteebeesport through the volunteer group Save South Africa Volunteer Experience and at Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage in Zimbabwe. After watching the documentary and doing further research on how so many of these organization for not legitimate, I am scared that I have made a horrible mistake. How can I find out if these organizations are truly helping the animals? Can you please guide me in how I can find any information about these group?

Leora Leibovitz says:

I have read many of your articles and am always inspired and appreciative of you passion and wisdom ! Thank you so much! I would like to ask if you still take groups into the bush? As it would be a long awaited dream of mine to join you on such a trail ?

mari afseth says:

Hello, my name is mari and i am about to work as a volunteer for save- sout africa volunteer experience.

I will be working in a wildlife sanctuary in harteebeespoort near Johannesburg (glen afric)

I have been told and read that a lot of these organisations are not legitimate for taking care of the animals, they just make money of volunteers and turists with no intention of ever releasing the animals back into the wild.

I am a bit scared that the organization I have chosen is just as bad as the others I have read about and I was wondering if you and your organization might have any knowledge of this foundation??

I would hate to support something I am against

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