IFAW honors Australians for commitment to lion conservation in Africa
by Simon Bloch, Durban
Two Australians have been honoured by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for their commitment to lion conservation.
In a ceremony Down Under yesterday (Tuesday) Donalea Patman, founder of For the Love of Wildlife, an Australian NGO, and Jason Wood, Federal MP for La Trobe, were lauded for their campaign to end South Africa’s legal practice of hunting captive-raised lions (known as canned hunting).
In February 2015, Australian Environment minister Greg Hunt enacted legislation prohibiting the import of lion trophies and their body parts to Australia.
This was four months before American dentist and cross-bow hunter Walter James Palmer sparked international outrage when he killed Zimbabwe’s wildlife icon, Cecil the Lion.
Presenting their IFAW Policy and Advocacy Animal Heroes awards, Mathew Collis, IFAW’s organisation’s Campaigns and Policy manager, said:
“Donalea worked tirelessly with her local MP, Jason Wood, to raise awareness about trophy hunters bringing the body parts of lions into Australia.
“With the help of internationally respected conservationist and film–maker Ian Michler (Blood Lions) Donalea and Jason were the driving force behind the federal government’s historic decision to ban the import of lion trophies.
“The ban reflects the Australian public’s abhorrence of canned hunting in which lions raised in captivity are hunted with no fair chance of escape. By banning the importation of lion trophies, Australia is no longer complicit in the cruelty of canned hunting” he added.
Patman said she was humbled to have been recognised by IFAW.
“I don’t do my work for awards, I do it because I believe Africa’s wildlife is under siege. I’m incredibly honoured” she said.
“Miss Patman has undertaken remarkable work to protect endangered wildlife, and I applaud her commitment” Jason Wood said.