It is a rare opportunity to participate in an animal conservation project in Africa. But as with much in life, opportunities revolve around who you know rather than what you know. The person I know in this instance is Shivani Bhalla, or Shiv to her friends. I met her at an Internet Cafe in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, India in November 2004. Despite being unable to correctly guess her accent as Kenyan, I was correctly able to ascertain that she has one of the most enviable jobs in the world. Working in animal conversation is a dream job for many, but after meeting Shiv, I discovered that this is no easy profession.

Lions have always been Shiv’s passion, so in late 2006 she made the first tentative steps into establishing her own lion research and conversation project called Ewaso Lions. The Ewaso ecosystem encompasses the Samburu and Buffalo Springs National Reserves, one hundred kilometres north of Mount Kenya. In those early days, Shiv would write numerous funding applications, at which time she would send them to me for proofreading and comment. A conversation project can only progress as far as funding allows, and those early days saw continual frustration at rejected grants, but Shiv is not dissuaded from setbacks so easily.  Read more>>>