Africa as a Catalyst for Realizing Dreams
Sue Orloff, like many women in their 60s, is fulfilling aspirations about which she had previously only dreamed. It all started when Sue was 22 and spent a year hitchhiking through parts of Africa. She realized then her life path should be work in wildlife conservation. Thirty years later, Sue is a professional wildlife biologist and published author of many articles on endangered species in the U.S.
But, she says, "I always felt one day I would go back to Africa and become involved in conservation efforts to save the species that first inspired me. But I was just getting older and nothing was happening about my African dream."
In 2014, Sue's 12-year-old beloved mutt, Ben, died suddenly in a horrific accident. Aware that she was falling into a depression, she knew only one thing would help.
"I had to go back to Africa—the one place that always soothes me; and it did and more," she says.
On that trip, Sue met a South African wildlife biologist who inspired her.
"I've been looking for a way to give back my whole career, but starting my own nonprofit never even crossed my mind," she says.
Sue knew that effective management measures are based on knowledge of animals and their habitats, but African reserves often lack resources to conduct the requisite studies. She thought, why not give other skilled biologists like herself the opportunity to volunteer their time and expertise to important research projects? And soon afterwards, Biologists without Borders (BWB) was launched.
BWB matches wildlife reserves with specialists who can meet their research needs.
"I have combined my passion for African wildlife and my need to give back with a commitment to support essential research in Africa," Sue says.
A Greater Good
That was only one stage of her plan to contribute to saving Africa's wildlife. Sue had been supporting AWF for years with small annual donations.
But with a recent inheritance, she has now committed a large percentage of her estate to AWF through her living trust. Sue says she feels grateful: "I am just the conduit to pass it along to a greater good, while honoring my parent's love for animals."
We are grateful, too, for Sue's support and acknowledgment of our work.
"Of all the charities supporting African wildlife conservation," she says, "I've come to believe that AWF provides the most effective programs to protect the amazing wildlife of Africa."