As we enter into another holiday season, and the end of 2023, I am particularly grateful for one group of people: our conservation partners.
The real heroes of 2023 (and beyond!) are the dedicated leaders and staff at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
An ongoing drought in Kenya has severely impacted the well-being of local communities and wildlife. Though it has made our partners’ work even more challenging, it has not hindered their resolve.
They continue to do what must be done to protect our most vulnerable wildlife.
From the leadership teams to the staff, each member plays a vital role and has their own story. Like Stephen, at Ol Pejeta; Francis, at Lewa Conservancy; and Benjamin, at the Sheldrick Trust—just to name a few.
And like each caretaker, protector, and ranger at these outstanding organizations, each animal has their own story.
In this year’s gift guide, we’re sharing the stories of elephants, rhinos and more that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know—as well as the memories of capturing these majestic animals in action.
Each year as I learn more about the plight of these threatened species and the efforts of those fighting to protect them, I find new meaning in these images. I long to get back to Africa, back to the presence of these wild, beautiful beings.
But even when we can’t visit, these fine art photographs represent hope for threatened wildlife.
They remind me of the sustaining power of natural beauty.
They tell the story of the vital work of our partners.
And they support a future where wildlife roam freely and protected.
The best news this holiday season is that you don’t have to be there to make a difference.
When you purchase one of these fine art photographs, 20% of the sale is directly donated to our heroes—the conservation partner of that series.
More than anything this holiday season, I want to continue to support vulnerable animals and the people at Lewa, Ol Pejeta, and the Sheldrick Trust who work every day to protect them.
You don’t have to be there to make a difference.
You can have an impact, by bringing these fine art photographs—and their stories—into your home. Or, by giving the gift of art + conservation.
Read the stories of our animal friends below, and consider gifting one of these prints as an expression of your heart toward endangered wildlife, the people working to protect them, and the impact we can have together.
This season, celebrate the resilience of our partners, of the animals in their care, and of our ability—blessed as we are—to support them.
Here are their stories from selected works…
The NEW Ithumba Collection: My Favorite Works From This Series
Late last year, we were fortunate enough to visit The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Ithumba Reintegration Unit in East Tsavo National Park. Orphaned elephants graduate from Sheldrick’s nursery units to this reintegration unit (and others) where they learn vital skills that they’ll need in the wild. Once an elephant is ready, they’re released into the wild herds of Tsavo National Park.
Here are some of the stories behind my favorite works from this collection.
Mundusi and Mteto’s Stories
This grouping of young elephants includes Mundusi and Mteto. Spotted as a lone young calf, very thin and dehydrated, Mundusi was rescued and brought to the Nairobi Nursery in the spring of 2017. Originally very nervous and unsure of his new surroundings, he found great comfort from the other orphans at the nursery.
Mteto, who was rescued just a week prior, was found on the brink of starvation. It was suspected that her mother had been a victim of poaching and Mteto had stayed near her body for weeks before she was discovered and rescued just in time.
As Mundusi’s neighbor in the stockades, she helped comfort him while he acclimated to his new home. Since then, the two have been close friends.
This affectionate moment was captured at the Ithumba unit. Since our visit, the two have been released into the wild and now thrive in the wild herds of Tsavo.
In 2017 3-month-old Sattao was found alone in Tsavo National Park in extremely poor condition. Weak and dehydrated he also had wounds to his hind legs and rear, from a suspected Jackal attack. Everyone was surprised he survived, especially with known lions in the area.
He was transferred to the Nairobi Nursery and though his condition worsened initially, through dedicated care by the Sheldrick team, and the moral support from the other elephants, Sattao made a slow recovery. It was clear that he was determined to survive. Luggard in particular (highlighted below) was his best friend and helped his recovery.
While it took him a while to show progress, Satto is now flourishing at the Ithumba Unit.
In this sweet moment, he’s showing off a new skill, holding his milk bottle with his trunk. Like human babies, elephants love embracing their independence as they grow.
Esampu, Kuishi, and Dololo’s Stories
In July 2016, Esampu was rescued as an emaciated, 5-month-old orphan in the Chyulu region of Kenya. She quickly adapted to her new home at the Nairobi Nursery and formed bonds with other elephants and her caregivers.
During a severe drought that same winter, Kuishi was found next to her mother who had collapsed in Tsavo National Park. Sadly when it was clear that her mother couldn't be saved, rescuers focused on the 10-month-old calf. Kuishi was flown to the Nairobi Nursery, where she recovered and joined other orphaned elephants, including her friend Esampu.
In September 2018, Dololo was discovered submerged in a dam near Tsavo East National Park. Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers and the Sheldrick team rescued him, and he was flown to Nairobi for treatment. Despite the initial weakness, Dololo gradually regained strength, received medical care, and formed bonds with other orphans.
In this sweet moment, these three elephants enjoy playtime at the Ithumba unit, which helps them build lifelong bonds and skills for their future survival.
Explore the full Ithumba collection.
Rediscover the stories from our other collections….
The 'Tiny Trumpeter' (Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)
We will always cherish the memory and legacy of the ‘Lionheart’ Luggard, who sadly passed away this past summer. He was the epitome of resilience, having survived traumatic injuries. A bullet wound shattered his right hind leg and injured his left foot in 2016 when he was just an infant. His determination and positive spirit, in the face of all he had suffered, inspired everyone at the Sheldrick Nursery. And his loss in the spring of 2021 was a heartbreaking blow to all who knew him.
I’ll never forget meeting Luggard. This was such a special moment. We had just watched the keepers share milk with all of the young elephants and they had gathered in a more wooded area. This darling little elephant walked right up to me, raised his trunk, and let out the tiniest little trumpet as if to announce his arrival—a moment I captured in this photograph.
We will never forget “the heartbeat of Umani” Springs, the reintegration unit where he lived.
You can preserve the memory and bravery of this little elephant with a commemorative fine art print of our ‘Tiny Trumpeter.’
Remembering ‘Pride Rock’ (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy)
When our guide spotted the lions climbing a hill, he quickly turned the vehicle off the dirt road and into the bush, and up we went. The lion was calm, slowly making his way upward, not bothered by the sound of the vehicle at all. When he reached the top of the hillside, he paused to survey the landscape.
I’m always struck by how fascinating lions are to watch. They have a serene, calming energy that gives them an eternal look of contentment. This lion climbed to the top of the hilltop to survey the landscape and it was incredible to watch him take it all in.
SHOP PRIDE ROCK
Meeting 'The Mothers' (Ol Pejeta Conservancy)
Najin and Fatu remain the only northern white rhinos in the world.
Photographing them was so special because we walked alongside them in the tall grass, observing them go about their day. Their bond was clear as they never were more than a few steps from one another.
Being the last two northern white rhinos in the world, and now part of an in-vitro fertilization program aimed at saving the species, there is so much hope placed on these two. The conservation efforts continue, with milestone successes along the way. And I am hopeful that these two will indeed become “the mothers” of generations of northern white rhinos to come.
The Beauty of ‘Nature’s Table’ (Lewa Wildlife Conservancy)
When I captured this photograph, we had been following this family of cheetahs, a mom and her growing sons. And when they finally made their kill, it was very special to see how their hard work of tracking and chasing led to dinner for the whole family. In this moment, I felt very humbled to witness the circle of life.
They are so beautiful to watch. It seemed that they were either basking in the sun or at a full sprint after prey; there wasn’t much in between these two speeds. A beautiful example of balance.
Tauwo, ‘The Guardian’ (Ol Pejeta Conservancy)
Tauwo is a southern white rhino, brought to Ol Pejeta Conservancy to keep Najin and Fatu company.
Since the death of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, the fate of the northern white rhinoceros has hung in jeopardy. The only two northern white rhinos alive today are Najin and Fatu, a mother-daughter pair at our partner conservancy Ol Pejeta.
Tauwo serves as a critical companion for Najin and Fatu. Although rhinos are notoriously independent creatures, white rhinos have the most complex social structure and are known for being the most social.
Having a companion like Tauwo has entertained and revitalized the solitary females, while potentially giving their subspecies a chance for survival. And since males are also known to be much more aggressive than their female counterparts, Tauwo helps to protect Najin and Fatu from danger, like “the guardian” he is.
Shop Holiday Gifts That Also Give Back!
Explore our full range of collections to find the perfect holiday gift for the animal lover, nature enthusiast, or conservationist in your life.