Woman Who Loves Giraffes

Cameo Cinema St Helena, CA


Alex Coburn

Safari West wildlife ecologist

The Woman Who Loves Giraffes— Giraffe "Zoomfari"

Cameo Cinema owner Cathy Buck hosts a completely unscripted and unpredictable safari adventure via Zoom. Safari West wildlife ecologist Alex Coburn acts as “Zoomfari” guide and takesnquestions live from the preserve.

Cameo Cinema St Helena, CA

Film Synopsis

While retracing the steps of her groundbreaking 1956 journey to South Africa to study giraffes in the wild, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg reflects on the forces that destroyed and restored her career and discovers a startling contrast between the world of giraffes she once knew and the one it has become.

In 1956, four years before Jane Goodall ventured into the world of chimpanzees and seven years before Dian Fossey left to work with mountain gorillas – in fact, before anyone, man or woman had made such a trip – 23-year-old Canadian biologist, Anne Innis Dagg, made an unprecedented solo journey to South Africa to become the first person in the world to study animal behavior in the wild on that continent. When she returned home a year later armed with groundbreaking research, the insurmountable barriers she faced as a female scientist proved much harder to overcome.

In 1972, having published 20 research papers as an assistant professor of zoology at University of Guelph, the Dean of the university, denied her tenure. She couldn’t apply to the University of Waterloo because the Dean there told Anne that he would never give tenure to a married woman. This was the catalyst that transformed Anne into a feminist activist.

For three decades, Anne Innis Dagg was absent from the giraffe world until 2010 when she was sought out by giraffologists and not just brought back to into the fold, but finally celebrated for her work.

In The Woman Who Loves Giraffes, an older (now 85), wiser Anne takes us on her first expedition back to Africa to retrace where her trail-blazing journey began more than half a century ago. With letters and stunning, original 16mm film footage, Anne offers an intimate window into her life as a young woman, juxtaposed with a first hand look at the devastating reality that giraffes are facing today.

Photo credit: Elaisa Vargas

About the Speaker

The mission of Safari West is to actively promote conservation and environmental education, while sharing knowledge that empowers each individual to think sustainably about their role in the environment and the world at large.

Safari West was born in the late 1980s when Peter Lang purchased 400 rolling acres in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. Relocating his small but growing collection of exotic wildlife, Peter quickly converted the former cattle ranch into a world-class conservation breeding facility.

As Peter set to work establishing captive breeding programs for the varied and often critically endangered species in his collection he worked closely with local zoological facilities, including, of course, the San Francisco Zoo. It was there that he met lead curator, raptor-specialist, and his future wife, Nancy Lang. Combining their unique skill-sets, the pair set about turning this vast swath of oak woodland into the world class wildlife preserve it is today.