As I bumped along giddily at the back of the jeep, whizzing through the largest faunal reserve in the world, I realized that a bucket-list dream had been fulfilled. I’d made it to Selous. The smell of warm earth and animal hair mixed in with a metallic scent, like a faraway rain cloud, and enveloped every sense. Soon I would be rewarded with every big-game watcher’s thrilling safari first: the lion a footstep away, a hippo’s yawn, an elephant on the other side of a canvas wall, crashing down branches and munching. It was spellbinding, and the waterscape of lakes and ancient bird-covered islands made it feel like an impenetrable, forgotten land.
Check out the Wildlife Conservation Expo at Chicago Zoo, May 7, 2016, and learn about the protection and rehabilitation of the African painted dog—one of the world's most endangered mammals—from Peter Blinston of the Painted Dog Conservation. Plus, meet field researchers from a variety of international conservation organizations.