IFAW honours Australians for commitment to lion conservation in Africa

Award Pic 1

Donalea Patman, Founder of For the Love of Wildlife with the award presented by Matthew Collis, IFAW and Jason Wood MP with his daughter Jasmine.

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.

Actual Award 1

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.

Award Dlea

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.

France follows Australia in banning lion trophies

Despite the horror that France has faced in the past week, today Segolene Royal, Minister of Environment in France announced the immediate ban on import permits of lion trophies and body parts. Following Australia’s visionary and courageous lead, announced by Environment Minister, Greg Hunt in March 2015 (months before the killing of Cecil) France is the second country to step up.

EU Meetings

From the left: Dr Ilaria di Silvestre, Dr Pieter Kat (LionAid), Ian Michler (lead role Blood Lions and investigative journalist) and Gael de-Rotalier

Ian Michler with colleagues including Pieter Kat, LionAid briefed and held discussions with members of the EU and screened the explosive movie Blood Lions.

Minister Hunt pledged to take it up with the EU at the screening held in Parliament House, Canberra in September. He also met with members of LionAid in the UK weeks prior to this announcement. Pieter Kat and Christine Macsween along with LionAid patron John Rendall briefed the Minister about the critical urgency facing Africa’s lions, over and above captive breeding and canned hunting.

Greg Hunt LionAid

From the left: Dr Pieter Kat, The Hon. Greg Hunt, Chris Macsween and John Rendall

The following is from LionAid’s website dated 18 November, 2015:

Through the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, we yesterday heard that Segolene Royal, Minister of Environment in France issued a letter stating that “I have instructed my services to no longer issue import permits for lion hunting trophies”.
This is excellent news, as France ranks high among the EU Member States for the import of such trophies.
Minister Royal also mentioned that she would consult with other EU Member State Environment Ministers to impose stricter rules on the import of all hunting trophies.
We applaud Minister Royal for this timely decision, and hope that this will precipitate like-minded decisions from many other EU Member States. 

More positive news on the very same day, PHASA (Professional Hunters Association of Sth Africa) AGM has fantastic results.

At the PHASA Convention held at Protea Hotel Ranch Resort: Canned lion breeders outvoted 147 to 103, after a very emotional and draining AGM.

Motion passed that PHASA disassociates with the captive-bred lion industry until such time that they can convince PHASA and the IUCN that the practice is beneficial to lion conservation (this won’t ever happen, so it looks like it’s the end for them!).

Thanks to Ian Michler (lead role) and Phillipa Hankinson (producer) for the Blood Lions documentary, which made such a big difference, along with progressive PHs such as Stewart Dorrington and SAMPEO.co.za, who did the right thing.

The CEO and President of PHASA attended the second night’s screening of Blood Lions in Durban when it was premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July 2015.

 

 

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