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Bare Essentials Magazine – An Interview with Dale Morris

Bare Essentials is an open access publication that combines adventure lifestyle topics with wildlife conservation and environmental science.

ORYX Photo Tour Leader Dale Morris  has been published in the current edition of Bare Essentials magazine, where he brings light on the importance of photographic travel expeditions for conservation, piece of mind and connection to nature.

ORYX – Dedicated to You. Dedicated to our natural heritage and its preservation.

BA: How do photography-based expeditions open our eyes to small wonders and enhance the travel experience? (reference cover shot, perhaps)

DM: When participating in a wildlife focused photographic tour , it always pays to pay attention to the smaller creatures and plants, as well as the big sexy show stealers. When one puts on a macro lens, gets upon ones hands and knees and begins to pay attention to the smaller creatures, one starts to appreciate the mind boggling complexity, connectedness and beauty of the natural world.

Don’t look at a beetle or a wasp or a fungus or an ant or a tree frog as insignificant because it is small in stature. It is every bit as complicated and sophisticated as an elephant or a lion. Nature is perfect in form and function from the tiniest fly to the mightiest whale. When you get over the ‘size hangup’ most of us suffer from, you will gain a higher level of wonderment and appreciation for nature. Youll also find you have no shortage of photographic subjects to keep you busy.

No longer will the survival of a spider species or the continued existence of a little lizard be of insignificant importance to you. You will see all life as equal and needing of respect and conservation.

BA: Where do you see skill-based tours like ORYX impacting the future of travel and conservation?

DM: Tourism can and is often the saving grace for endangered species and habitats. The tourist dollar spreads throughout the eco system. It creates local employment based on the continued survival of key species and landscapes. It brings capital into conservation projects. It funds the running of National Parks.

I spent twenty years working in conservation and feel it is now my calling to introduce as many people as I can to the beauty and fragility of nature. Wildlife tours such as those conducted by oryx, not only open the eyes (and camera shutters) of our clients to the preciousness of wildlife and nature, but it also brings much needed focus and money to areas where , without such interest, wildlife may very well disappear.

There is an adage amongst conservationists that says “if it doesn’t pay, it doesn’t stay”

BA: Which tours are drawing the most interest at the moment?

DM: There is a growing demand for Wildlife photographic tours that bring clients in close contact with iconic species. The trends change according to how logistically ‘easy’ it is to get a front row seat, how much media attention a place or animal gets, and what is currently in the news

Big five safaris in Africa are always popular due to the ease at which animals are encountered. Madagascar is also popular due to its unique endemism and because, tragically, if you don’t go see it now or soon, there might not be anything left to see on a Madagascar tour (Madagascar’s natural resources are being destroyed at an alarming rate)

Everyone loves gorillas (Rwanda tours) Borneo and its Orangutans is gaining popularity. The Arctic and the Antarctic are also hot I would personally like to see Ethiopia hit the headlines. The wildlife there is amazing. You have mountain wolved (the most endangered maml on earth) and the Gelada monkeys which, in my opinion, is an amazing primate experience to rival that of the Gorillas. Imagine being the only person walking among a group of some 800 giant shaggy (and friendly) monkeys, each one the size of a chimpanzee. Its magic

BA: Which places (or) subjects get you excited about exploring (as the next generation of travel)?

DM: We always look for new locations to visit. I’m loving Sabah in Borneo at the moment because it is relatively well conserved (if compared to most of Indonesia which is burning down and being replaced by Palm oil plantations)

Ethiopia has its special charms. The Pantanal is amazing because you are almost guaranteed to see Jaguars (nowhere else, to my knowledge, can boast such a claim)

But the world is full of wild places that need our attention. You cant beat Costa Rica for governmental dedication to wildlife.

And what species excite me? All of them. From the tiniest ant to the shaggiest polar bear. A blue whale or an orb weaving spider. A soaring Baobab tree or a tiny little mushroom.

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