When we first set out to run Wildlife Blogger of the Year – a brand-new idea in it’s first year – we weren’t sure exactly what to expect. There was even a nervous, fidgety moment of doubt when we weren’t sure if we’d receive any entries.
Now 91 stories, 7 continents and more than 27 countries later, we’re amazed to discover how many people are writing about wildlife.
From the delightful dissecting of barn owl pellets in Scotland, to endangered frogs nearly missed in Ecuadorean gale force winds, to an elusive pangolin stumbled upon in South Africa, there were countless stories to uncover.
But these weren’t all stories of once-in-a-lifetime wildlife moments abroad (though there are plenty of unforgettable reads in that category too!) These were stories about everyday wildlife discovered scampering across one’s backyard, appreciated at work and even spotted at the local pub. Some had heartbreaking – rather than happy – endings, like the story of a sea lion pup on Peru’s shores – or one buffalo’s grisy fate on Komodo Island..
Finalist entries offered up an unexpected mix of topics like culling for conservation, a wildlife-moment-that-wasn’t (the reality for most of us who aren’t skilled wildlife guides) and a surprise snake.
If we’d expected ‘typical’, we didn’t get it. And we were thrilled. Having the privilege to read these stories – whether moving or gut-wrenching – was a refreshing chance to pause and reflect on our complex relationship with nature. We’d opened a treasure chest of adventures, learning and enlightenment.
Having come this far – with travellers, researchers, guides, students, conservationists and others pouring their reflections on wildlife into words – how could we not help others delight in this adventure too?
And so the idea of a book was born.
We thought these stories deserved more lasting power by publishing them in a more permanent way. And we wanted to share these stories and their messages more widely.
We were also getting tired of hearing the term ‘blogger’ associated with self-focussed, substance-less and unnecessarily public updates on daily life. These were passionate, talented people working hard to make a difference for the planet and making one – many had an impressive following. Some were already published writers and those newer on the scene deserved the chance.
More importantly, this was a diverse community of people working towards a shared goal – what might we achieve if we teamed up on a project together? We decided we want to find out.
So we’re taking a chance. And we’re publishing a book. Check it out and stay tuned as we begin the journey!