Lori Robinson, author, image

Lori Robinson, author, image

Growing up in a menagerie of animals, with a family connection to Dr. Jane Goodall, spawned my life-long passion for animals.

It’s why I lived in Africa and have been traveling there for the past 34 years.

It’s why I started Saving Wild.

It’s why I’m passionate about sharing my love of wildlife and wild places with you.

It’s why I sold my house and most of my belongings and moved from Santa Barbara, California to live alongside coyote, deer, bobcat, and bear in a small old adobe home in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

More About Lori Robinson

I (Lori Robinson) was born in Florida to an animal loving mother and a biologist father who was an avid birder. Our extended family included Shane the dog, our two cats, Precious and Snowball, and a variety of rescued exotic birds, mammals, and reptiles.

 

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Animal Menagerie 

A pet goat slept in my brother’s bunk bed, a squirrel monkey slept on my mother’s pillow, and our raccoon, Rocky, used the baby toilet to do his business.

Our swimming pool was home to a sea turtle, alligator and duck, (not at the same time), and the bathtub housed my brothers snake collection, although the black indigos were more often found slithering under the couch. One Thanksgiving our retired race-course greyhound rescue stole the turkey off the table.

Birds perched on my sister’s and my shoulders while we watched TV, and we walked around the house with snakes wrapped around our necks. Animals were intriguing, cuddly, funny, interesting, and a natural part of our family. Sometimes they even rescued me.

My brother and I had hitchhiked a ride with a stranger who said he loved parrots and also had a Yellow Footed Amazon parrot like Thunderbird, who was sitting quietly on my brother’s shoulder. “Do we want to go to his house to meet his parrot?” the man asked us. My brother Danny lifted Thunderbird towards the front of the car to say Hi to the driver, and within seconds Thunderbird started screaming and flapping his wings. Danny gave me an alarmed look and mouthed the words, jump out of the car. As the man turned the corner towards his house we both leapt out and moved quickly away from the curb. “Thunderbird just saved our lives,” my brother announced. 

 

It was in this home menagerie that my love affair with animals and the natural environment blossomed. In high school, I read Peter Singer’s book Animal Liberation and got my first glimpse of what animals suffered in the hands of humans. I vowed to dedicate my life to making a difference, to changing people’s perceptions of animals and to end the cruelty they suffered for our entertainment, food, and sport.

 

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Jane Goodall Wannabe

My original career goal was to intern for Jane Goodall in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. Jane’s mother Vanne was great friends with my grandfather Denis, giving me contact (although minimal at the time) with the famous chimp researcher, and fueling my desire to follow in Dr. Jane’s footsteps. But during my senior year in high school a couple of interns working for Dr. Jane were kidnapped, negating the possibility of me working there.

 

With a degree in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, I went to work for the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington DC, writing about whaling issues, factory farming and vivisection, a task that transformed my hope and dedication to make a difference into a pile of quivering tears at the end of each work day.

My father’s solution was to find me a psychotherapist. I also changed careers. At the time, I believed I was too sensitive to endure the work that needed to be done, but in time I saw that I was just young, impatient, and naïve about what it takes, and how long it takes, to create change.

 

Lori Robinson, TV Presenter

I had dabbled in modeling since I was twelve, believing fame (if I could get there) would be my platform to help animals. It was to that world that I returned. In a short time my modeling assignments led to a commercial in South Africa. Overjoyed to be going to Africa, albeit not as an intern for Jane Goodall, I would end up living in South Africa for 3 1/2 years and  landing a job as a television presenter for an entertainment show called Prime Time Live (South Africa’s equivalent of Entertainment Tonight).00000043

I was given assignments based in wildlife parks, got to meet the Kalahari Bushmen, and I visited other Southern African countries including Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. My television fame parlayed into authoring a book, Model Answers by Lori Robinson. 

But it was the late 1980’s; aparteid and sanctioning were in full force, ultimately making the politics too depressing for me to stay in South Africa.

Shortly after my thirtieth birthday I returned to America.

But my love affair with Africa and my passion for animals had only deepened. 

 

Back to My Conservation Roots

Back in America, my new business card read, Lori Robinson, Africa Adventures Specialist for the Jane Goodall Institute. I designed safaris and lead members of her Institute, and later other clients, to East and Southern Africa. There I started and supported grass roots projects to protect wildlife in Africa and in 2010 began writing about world-wide conservation issues for magazines, and my own site, SavingWild.com. 

Working in the conservation field this time around I learned to cling to signs of progress, and success stories, however small. I would find hope hiding in the story about the elephant trucked from twenty years of isolation in a Canadian zoo to a California sanctuary, the first wolf pack to be discovered in 100 years in Northern California, and the new law giving captive chimpanzees the same endangered status as wild chimps. I would recognize hope in my friend’s daughter who listened to me tell her why I was picking up the glass around my neighborhood and then, concerned too about the wild rabbits and deer cutting their feet, spent hours eagerly helping me one day.

 

Mentors Provide Hope

I find encouragement from my mentors, like Dr. Jane Goodall, Meg Lowman, and Beverly Joubert.  I find inspiration in them and others who have committed their lives to helping save wild places and wild animals. They are my work’s lifeline.

At Dr. Goodall’s 80th birthday I talked to her about hope. A woman of pure action and no excuses, even at this stage of her life I asked her how she stays inspired.  She said to me, very simply, “We can’t quit.” And that is the motto I live by. 

 

As children we often know what our lifes passions are. In my case, my love for animals and the natural world started at a very early age and has been a constant thread throughout my life.

I am honored to share this passion with you, the tribe at SavingWild.com

Asante Sana,

Lori Robinson

 

 

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Giraffe Manor in Kenya

 

31 Replies to “About Lori Robinson”

  1. Lori,
    thanks for the article / post. I’ve never really been that interested in Africa but after reading this I’m wanting to learn more.

  2. Hi Lori: Have been reading your blog today and am so happy you are taking the time to share all of this…it is like we are sitting together having a lovely conversation about your experiences and insight…great writing girl…God Bless

  3. Lori, Loved the personal blog. I never knew the animal part, but it makes sense now. What an intro to a different kind of life. I think you would have a hard time sitting still with just chimps. I admire what you are doing with the bags. That in itself is an accomplishment! Keep us up to date with your adventures.

    Ditte

  4. Welcome back, Lori, and congrats for the Wanderwoman award!
    I’ve always loved that story about you and your birder Dad!
    One of my favourites amongst many gems.
    Your stories so vividly encapsulate your love of Africa.
    More, please!!

  5. What a fascinating life you’ve lived and are living! They say every person has a spiritual connection to a special place and how wonderful you have found yours and are sharing it with others.

  6. Thank you so much Michele. So nice to hear from you. I agree about connecting to places. Where is YOUR place that most touches and heals your soul?

  7. What I like about your writing Lori, is that it takes me ( and I believe all your readers) on the journey with you. It’s not a flowery travel guide and I know it is not you intention to create of those.
    THIS IS REAL.
    joseph

  8. thanks so much Joseph. Once again it is so nice to hear from you on my site and I am honored you are part of the growing tribe at Africa Inside.

  9. Thanks Anna for your email.
    “Hi Lori,
    I am left quite speechless having visited AfricaInside. Your experiences
    are so beyond those of the average person. What an amazing adventure
    is your life–when you have the courage to participate. Thank you for the
    glimpse you share with the rest of us! Love, Anna”

  10. How wonderful to hear from you! You write so very beautifully–I love the way you’ve made it look like a journal on the website. I can’t remember if we talked much about South Africa but my own experiences there about four years ago were truly heart-melting. The extraordinary stories of reconciliations after the fall of Apartheid that we heard from people still bring tears to my eyes. As for the animals, we stayed in Jackalberry Lodge next to Krugar and as you say, most people were interested in seeing the big five. For me, in some ways the most wonderful animal experience was seeing a “giant eagle owl” at dusk, just lift out of the grass next to our jeep with a great rustle of feathers. And at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe we stayed at Safari Lodge which looks out upon a watering hole in the middle of a huge animal reserve. It was thrilling to see all the animals there just coming to get water on their own schedule, in their own rhythms. Yes, I can see why you’ve fallen in love with the place. I would love to have you arrange another trip for us sometime as our understanding of animals is so shared. I do hope you are able to disseminate your writings widely as they are so beautifully written and from such a heart-centered perspective.

    Jack and I have just returned from Egypt, about 5 days before the big change, and were totally captivated by that part of Africa too. I suspect we will be seeing more of that continent.

    Again it is great to hear from you and if you ever find yourself in Philadelphia, I hope we can get together.

  11. Hi Lori,
    My name is Renee Gomez & I’m loving your blog. I just discovered it and it’s something I have been searching for.
    I say that because I’m a little lost in my career goals and how to get there. I just graduated from University of Houston with a Public Relations degree, but after volunteering in Cambodia and helping the wildlife out there, my career goals have changed. I now want to do something that involves helping endangered species and the wildlife and writing about it all, but I have no wildlife background except for the volunteering I have done. I’m reading your blogs and this is something similar I would love to do. I just don’t know what my next step should be since, like I said before, I have no wildlife background.
    Please email me with advice or guidance. I would love to hear back from you.
    Thank you,
    Renee G.

  12. Dear Renee, So nice to hear from you and meet you on my blog. I hope that you signed up so we can stay in touch. It sounds like your degree in PR and your volunteering experiences could be combined to really make a difference in saving wildlife and wild places. Volunteering at something you love, to gain experience is a sure way to get in the door and add to your resume. And often volunteers who stand out are hired. It sounds to me like you are on the right track of creating a path for yourself to make a difference in the world while using your education alongside your passion. I hope this helps.

  13. hi lori …how is nowadays.. ? have just watched leonardos last movie and ? get shocked…? am very sad..did you watched it..? there is a lot of bear hunting scenes its really disgusting..how could he act on a movie like that…

  14. Halo Lori,hope you still remember me,Evans your guide at the giraffe centre Nairobi Kenya,it was pleasure meeting you and am really inspired with your story and the love you have for animals.
    Regards,Evans

  15. Hello! I was wondering you if needed a volunteer blogger? Recently, I graduated with my bachelors in English and my number one goal is to save wild life. I really admire what you do and all that you do.

    Thanks,
    Brittany

  16. HI Evans, so wonderful to hear from you. Of course I remember you and all the love you have for these amazing giraffe and all the things you taught me. I will be posting a story about it very soon. Stay tuned.

  17. Hi, Lori: It was great meeting you at the NMBA luncheon last week, and I enjoyed reading your book, which I took with me on my trip to Louisiana to visit my daughters and granddaughters this week. If you send me your email address, I’ll send you a copy of a short, published article of mine I’m sure you’d like. It’s a conservation piece. Otherwise, my wife and I would love to meet you for dinner sometime and talk about Africa and whatever wilderness or conservation topics come up. Best wishes, Ed

  18. You are the passion that wildlife conservation drive needs in this era of near-extinction and deprivation times. Thank you for this life-long commitment. The ‘voiceless’ have another dependable voice in you. Courage!

  19. Dear Lori,

    Wow, I’m so happy to have found your website! And to be a new member of the Tribe! To be a part of a group that have many of the same passions and are fans of many of the same people is encouraging in way that is surprisingly moving to me.
    I am going to Africa in June/July 2017 to make photographs of elephants for a book I’m writing with my husband. I will be traveling alone, and I’ve been researching the trip for a year now. I will be in Kenya for 3 weeks. There are so many people who do incredibly important work there. The people who bring us all the knowledge we have about elephants, like Cynthia Moss, Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Iain Douglas-Hamilton – they are heroes of mine and I’d so love to meet them. That’s one reason I was happy to see your book, because you’ve brought them all a little closer to those of us who envy and admire them and their dedication. I have ordered your book and can’t wait to read it now.
    I have another 3 weeks to plan. I’d love to go to Samburu or get to Botswana. It is a challenge to put such a trip together, I must say! You aren’t planning to take a group in 2017 are you? I’m a bit exhausted from all the research and could really enjoy just connecting with someone who really knows her way around! I’ll keep you posted on how the plan is coming together. So glad to be here with you!
    Jennifer Anderson
    Charlotte, NC

    p.s. Oh! Would you please send me your famous packing list? OBTW, I will be buying my hat through your link. Thanks for your years of research into that item!

  20. Hi Lori.
    Thank you for caring so much for wildlife…. that makes us kindred spirits. I’ve been to Africa three times, each trip was so amazing. There are no words to describe Africa to those who haven’t been…it’s magical!
    Let me know if you get a group together to go again.

    Many Blessings,
    Gabrielle
    http://www.MatlockArt.com

  21. So nice to hear from you Gabrielle. I do lead safaris about every year to East and Southern Africa. I have a trip going to Botswana in May. I also design tours for people. I love what you say about there being no way to explain the magic of Africa to those who have not had the privilege of going. It is something that has to be experienced through the heart, not the mind.
    Thanks.

  22. Hi Lori! I would love if you would add my book “Great Horned Owlets Rescue: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way…. to your site. This is a story about the rescue of a great horned owl family and the amazing connection that can be created when you respect wildlife. I would love to send you a copy! Do you prefer ebook, audio or print? It is available on amazon.com, I would be happy to provide any format. Thank you for your time Lori, and all you do for our animal kingdom.

    Hoots O,O
    Cheryl Aguiar
    http://www.cherylaguiar.com

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