John Whalen is known to most safarians as the creator of the Djuma Djunkies and Djuma Djunkies Video Page Facebook groups. But John has also been a fervent advocate for what WE do since joining us on drive in 2007. “When the internet took off and especially YouTube, I watched more and more nature and to feed my addiction I just happened to google ‘safari’ one day in 2007 and was met by a live video of Pieter Pretorius – the rest as they say is history!”
And by addiction, John means his interest in wildlife and nature since childhood. “When I was growing up we only had three, then four TV channels and my late dad used to watch nature programs with naturalists David Bellamy and Sir David Attenborough frequently,” he says. This was the catalyst, and John has continued to enjoy it ever since. “Attenborough fascinated me, his enthusiasm was infectious and I was hooked.”
John remembers back to when only 80 viewers could watch the drive at one time. He has since seen it grow into what WildEarth brings our viewers today. “As the live drives continued to grow, as did viewership and I had an idea one day that there should be somewhere where we could all meet and talk about the latest drive. I set up the Facebook groups Djuma Djunkies and Djuma Djunkies Video Page. These pages continue to go from strength to strength as WildEarth and the drives become more and more popular.”
In his spare time, the former semi-professional cricketer enjoys reading Scottish crime thrillers and racing and breeding pigeons like his father before him. “We used to sit for hours staring at the sky on a Saturday afternoon waiting for the racers to return. The different birds in the sky kept my eyes skyward for ages but, bizarrely for a pigeon fancier, I loved watching birds of prey.”
Though John doesn’t get to join us all live everyday, due to his work, he follows the daily goings on via the groups he started and through the friendships he has formed with other Djunkies. He hopes to one day make it to South Africa and see it all for himself. WE thanks John for his great contribution to what we do and his continued support.
If you have an interesting story to tell about your #safariLIVE or WildEarth experience, and would like to be featured in a future #safariLIVE Viewer Profile, contact us with your contributions, photo and video submissions at *protected email*. You could be interviewed next!