Wildlife Stories

Into The Presence of Still Water

THE ISLAND REVIEW, July 2017

"When looking over the lowland rainforest from a plane, it’s the aquatic habitats sculpting the landscape that hold your gaze. At that altitude, the river is a coiling, cappuccino ribbon, and its oxbows are enamelled island charms, surrounded by a lumpy ocean of green."

Worlds Apart

ELSEWHERE: A JOURNAL OF PLACE, June 2017

First published in the gorgeous print magazine, Earthlines (Issue 16) in November 2016, the experience described in Worlds Apart has special meaning for me so I was delighted when the story was recently featured in the blog of Elsewhere: A Journal of Place.

The Last Stand

ANIMAL: A BEAST OF A LITERARY MAGAZINE, March 2016

I'm really pleased this experimental piece was accepted by one of my favourite lit mags! All the events, settings, and characters are real but I gave one of the characters, a stowaway mouse, a fictional first person point of view. I must warn you, the ending is perhaps a little... sticky ;-)

A Ray of Light

SEVENSEAS, February 2016 / ZOOMORPHIC, November 2016

In October 2015 a childhood dream came true. A Ray of Light (page 64) is the story of my encounter with manta rays and a whale shark off the northern Peruvian coast. First published in an ocean conservation magazine called Sevenseas, it was recently included in Zoomorphic's marine-themed anthology, Driftfish.

Demonio

ZOOMORPHIC, ISSUE 3, October 2015

Some years ago, in the middle of the Peruvian rainforest, a young bat came into my hands through unusual circumstances. Much later I learned it was an insectivorous Proboscis bat (Rhynchonycteris naso). Demonio is the story of how, against all odds, I raised it for two weeks and taught it to fly. Published in Zoomorphic on World Animal Day.

Tracking Twashuka

ANIMAL: A BEAST OF A LITERARY MAGAZINE, August 2015

What to do when a black rhino charges you and you have nowhere to go? Find out in Tracking Twashuka! My first attempt at writing in second person point-of-view! And the essay is illustrated by this wonderful ballpoint drawing of a rhino, by Joey B. 

Warts and All

THE TAVERN LANTERN, LITERARY ORPHANS, May 2014

"Sometimes even the most hardened naturalist can develop a decidedly unscientific attachment. But nature can be heartbreaking. Zoologist Jessica Groenendijk was working on the black rhino reintroduction project in North Luangwa National Park, Zambia, when she became caught up in a drama on her own doorstep."

Communication

JOTTERS UNITED LIT-ZINE, ISSUE 3, May 2014

This is the nature story that first inspired me to take nature writing more seriously. It was a runner-up in the BBC Wildlife Magazine travel writing competition out of several hundred entries and describes one of the most memorable of my rainforest experiences.  The photo on the left was taken a week later and is of the same half-tailed jaguar.

A Piece of Cake

THE TAVERN LANTERN, LITERARY ORPHANS, July 2014

About having to inject my husband intravenously every day for a month, in the middle of the rainforest, without proper training, to treat his leishmaniasis. A daunting experience at the time (even more so for Frank, I expect)!

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© 2014-2019, Jessica Groenendijk