Nashipae Wilde – The Wildlife Storyteller
How did I become Nashipae White Masai? I once read a book whose first chapter was headed “A Confluence of Paths – Two roads diverged in the middle of my life, I heard a wise man say, I took the road less travelled by, and that’s made the difference every night and every day”. That is also my story, my social media message reads “It is Life that writes the best stories” and here is where it begins…
I first went to Kenya eighteen years ago. As soon as my feet touched African soil, I breathed in the scent of the fresh soil mixed with herds and connected with the wildlife and nature, I knew I had found my natural home. I returned year on year, the frequency of my trips becoming greater. Years on from my first trip after my divorce I returned single and my wonderful Maasai friends greeted me with open arms and named me Nashipae meaning happy one. They dressed me in a Shuka (traditional Maasai dress) and gifted me with beaded Maasai jewellery as a sign of friendship and acceptance. Here I became Nashipae White Masai, confident, independent, woman adventurer, wildlife storyteller and photographer. Since then, I have travelled the world independently, wild camping, writing and photographing big cats in their natural habitat. I have lived in remote villages and integrated myself into unique cultures. On each trip I have tried to challenge myself even more to understand this incredible wild natural world.
I first started writing my safari stories six years ago and the photography followed shortly after as I believe people need powerful images to connect them to the stories. In the eighteen years I have been travelling I have followed the life stories of many big cats, from birth to death. One of my favourites has been the famous Marsh Pride of Lions in the Masai Mara. Lions are unique cats; they are the only ones to live as a family group so writing about their dynamics has been fascinating. Each trip tells the story of the births, deaths, family life and changes in the pride. The aim of each of my stories is to give people an insight into the ethology, physiology and behaviour of the cats. Over the years the big cats have become almost family, you connect with them. Writing about a female Leopard cub and documenting her years with her mother through to independence then seeing her mate and raise cubs of her own is very heart warming. Of course, this is the true wild, so you also have a watch them fight and die which is hard. Through my photography I capture the unique personalities of each cat. Each picture tells a story of what the cat was thinking or feeling at that very moment. It is about capturing the essence of them, from hunting to mating, from giving birth to playing with their young and watching them survive in very harsh conditions. The number of big cats left in the wild is dramatically dwindling with only around twenty thousand Lions and less than seven thousand Cheetah.
The mission of White Masai is to connect people with the need to protect and preserve wildlife through powerful storytelling and photographic images. My cause is simple, the preservation of big cats and wildlife in the wild for future generations. If people connect with the individual Lions, Leopards, Cheetah and all other big cats they will then have a vested interest in wanting them to survive, thrive and create dynasties and legacies that future generations can appreciate and connect to. For example, the Lion has always been the symbol of strength and power, it is unthinkable that in the future there will no more wild Lions living on the plains of Africa. I am a wildlife storyteller through words and images. My mission is to document and tell these amazing animals’ stories. Through my words and photographs I want to bring the wild to life in people’s minds and hearts. It is only through connection do we start to care about the present and future of wildlife. The money raised through photography and writing funds the conservation of these fascinating animals. Rangers are needed to protect the environment in which the wildlife live from poachers. Researchers are needed to understand the environment in which the wildlife live, how the animals are adapting to ecological changes and how we can protect them. The human wildlife conflict is also a big threat to wild animals, through working with the local communities, practical conflict resolutions can be found. The values of White Masai are to protect, preserve and connect. White Masai is a not-for-profit business, all proceeds fund wildlife conservation projects.
My favourite quote which sums up my attitude to life is …
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a ride!” Hunter S. Thompson