James Ward, long-time Association of Zoos and Aquariums member, and experienced conservation-minded traveler, has joined World Safaris as Chief Adventure Officer. Tom LaRock, Chief Exploration Officer and Founding Partner, World Safaris, says Ward’s extensive experience working with conservation groups will enable him to develop unique experiences for safaris working directly with conservationists in situ.
“The ability for guests to be hands-on with conservation creates a lasting bond both with the wildlife and with our zoo and aquarium partners,” says LaRock. “His lifelong passion for Africa, intimate knowledge of the best countries for wildlife conservation safaris, and many personal contacts will enable James to assist his zoo and aquarium colleagues fine tune their travel goals.”
Ward says he is excited to be able to combine his passions of conservation, travel and working with zoos and aquariums in his new role. “I look forward to introducing more people to Africa as it has a critical role in conservation,” he says. “As more people experience animals in the wild, they will more appreciate the pressures these animals face and be more involved in participating in their conservation.”
He also emphasizes the importance of continuing to support the local communities. “COVID has shown us that the local communities around wild spaces rely on tourism to make a living. Without it, they will resort to poaching the limited resources and negatively affect biodiversity.”
World Safaris is preparing to support its partners in expanding their travel programs, especially with the forecasted increase in demand for wildlife travel. Ward has also traveled in exciting wildlife destinations on continents other than Africa. “I believe his travel experience in Alaska, India, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador will be especially helpful to those who wish to expand or initiate wildlife conservation travel in destinations outside Africa,” says LaRock.