Greg Brown’s love of wildlife

Greg Brown, one of Australia’s finest chefs has created great tasting granitas with real fruits. Simply add water and freeze!

He has been an international success story, with his restaurants being world class, ambassador for luxury items and his talents have been in demand worldwide.

Being a gourmet chef has always had its challenges. But being a gourmet chef diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the reason behind this launch.

When Greg was first (mis) diagnosed many of his friends and colleagues thought he had hit the bottle and was a drunk…almost 10 years ago now.

MS does that, it affects the muscles and speech and so you physically wobble and slur. He’s had to fight to stay not only on top of his disease, but to retain his dignity and talent. Due to MS he’s had his businesses taken away from him, he was made a ward of the state (6 years to regain his independence), lost his antique and other rare collections, his family, his friends and hasn’t been able to work for many years. He was in Canberra, Australia when he had a fall, the police picked him up and put him in a cell for two days without his medication all because they didn’t believe he had MS and made the mistake (almost a fatal one) of not listening to him.

With MS it’s best you eat cold food so that your throat muscles stay tight making it easier to speak, eat and breathe. Greg quickly became bored with sucking on ice blocks and with his palette still finely attuned, he decided to embark on developing food for people not only with MS, but with disabilities in general.

Greg has wanted the emphasis to be on flavour using mostly all natural ingredients, that are simple and easy to make (making you the food hero). This range of granita mixes are made from 100% natural fruit. Simply add the granita mix to 600 ml of boiling water and freeze. Once frozen remove and let sit for a short while, stir through with a fork, ready to serve. The portion you don’t use just return to the freezer as granita last for months. It’s that easy!

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How has protecting wildlife become part of the project?

Greg Brown has always been connected to nature, having been raised on a farm, he is a man of the land. He remembers killing a small animal when he was a kid and that action has haunted him till today.

Greg resides in the beautiful forest of Sherbrooke, Mt Dandenong where he is surrounded by birds, wallabies, wombats and all sorts of wonderful creatures.

Sherbrooke Forest
Sherbrooke Forest

Early 2015 he met a woman at a local cafe and became interested in the work she was doing. Donalea Patman is the founder of For the Love of Wildlife which has been created to expose crimes against nature. The first campaign targeting the cruel and barbaric industry of captive breeding and canned hunting of African lions.

After watching the remarkable capacity of this small organisation to accomplish so much in the short period of time he’d known Donalea, Greg realised that Africa’s wildlife is under siege and wanted to be able to contribute in some way.

For the Love of Wildlife has been the catalyst in the Australian Federal Government banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts as a direct response to this barbaric industry…a global first.

Part proceeds of the sale of these granitas goes to supporting our work.

To order these five fabulous flavours, email fortheloveofwildlife@gmail.com – two packets (minimum order) $25, one packet of each is $50, two of each $90 and we’ll happily quote for any combination you’d like. Strawberry, raspberry, mango, blueberry and passion fruit…delicious! (Postage additional)

http://fortheloveofwildlife.org.au/

Biography

Greg Brown is one of Australia’s finest chefs.

Author of several books and a myriad of gastronomic awards, owning restaurants and a chain of bakeries, Greg Brown is internationally renowned.

Growing up on a farm in the Western districts of Victoria, Australia where he developed a deep love of the land and animals.

To finance his university study he worked for local restaurants learning to be a cook.

After graduating in psychology Greg realised his real calling was the food industry so he set off for Europe.

His career in gastronomy commenced training under the wing of acclaimed French chefs Raymond Blanc at the Manoir aux Quatre Saisons and Michel Roux at the Waterside Inn. Greg was also fortunate enough to study at Ecole Lenotre in Versailles famed for its Patisserie and Boulangerie (bakery).

Greg’s rigorous training in Europe led to a significant level of knowledge in the food and catering business.

Returning to Australia Greg opened ‘Paysan’, a restaurant that was awarded many accolades including the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ for two years running. His subsequent restaurant ‘Browns’ was also an instant success awarded the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ six months after opening!

Greg continued on with his success as a reputed chef by extending into pastries and breads through a chain of stores ‘Brown’s Bakers of Distinction’.

In early 2000, Greg was diagnosed with a mild form of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and over the next few years suffered a number of personal setbacks, including the loss of his businesses, separation from his family and the onset of the debilitating symptoms.

Although physical limitations have affected his body’s agility his mind, palate and intimate knowledge of ingredients are still working overtime to develop new recipes and mastering his existing 700+ recipes.

Greg Brown

BREAKING NEWS

Blood Lions – Australian Tour

Ian Michler, lead role, conservationist and investigative journalist was in Australia to attend the screenings of Blood Lion, the first international tour. First in Fremantle, then Sydney, Melbourne and finishing at Parliament House in Canberra.

Ian attended each screening hosting Q&A / panel discussion with Donalea Patman and guests. Fremantle was proud to invite Melissa Parke MP and also attending was Katrina Love, Animal Justice Party Western Australia.

Sydney was attended by Matthew Collis, IFAW and the Hon Mark Pearson MLC, Animal Justice Party who were incredible in the Q&A with Ian Michler. Although we had technical difficulties to begin, the night was fabulous with Ace Bourke (Christian the Lion fame), Jeroen Van Kernebeek, Australian Director of FOUR PAWS, Bryan Seymour, Channel 7 and other wonderful guests.

A very cold night in Melbourne didn’t stop the crowds with Nichola Donovan, President Lawyers for Animals and Bruce Poon, Vic Convenor Animal Justice Party with Ian Michler on the panel. Also present Sean Wilmore, The Thin Green Line, Laurie Levy, Coalition Against Duck Hunting, Trix and Phil Wollen, Kindness Trust, Edward Bourke, Saving the Lion Foundation.

Parliamentary screening was hosted by Senator Lee Rhiannon and her fabulous staff and attended by Minister Greg Hunt. The screening was held in the Main Committee Room and prominent organisations attended.

Bryan Seymour, Channel 7 News – 9 September 2015

ABC Breakfast News – 7 September 2015

Radio National – 4 September 2015

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Environment Minister, Greg Hunt announces an immediate ban on lion imports.

Friday 13 March Environment Minister, Greg Hunt announces immediate ban on the importation of lion trophies and body parts. This announcement is a world first as a response to the barbaric and cruel industry of canned hunting.

The announcement was celebrated at Federation Square at the Global March for Lions, with a live cross to Ian Michler in Cape Town to mark this historic moment. Ian was very emotional at the news and will be taking the news to the EU Parliament where he’ll be briefing lawmakers and politicians on Monday 16 March.

This is a positive step and welcomed incentive for the rest of the world to follow Australia’s lead.

Jason Wood MP has been fierce with this initiative and must be applauded for his tenacity. Both Greg Hunt and Jason Wood should feel very proud of this courageous and visionary step in protecting Panthera Leo.

 

http://www.peterborchert.com/australia-says-no-to-cruel-and-barbaric-canned-lion-hunting/

 

Bryan Seymour, Channel 7 News aired this story on the announcement by Minister Hunt throughout Australia.

Channel 7 News

Jason Wood presents in Federation Chamber, February 2015.

On the 9th February, 2015 Jason Wood tables a private members business motion in Parliament where ten speakers took the floor. Nine of the ten speakers were in support of Mr Wood’s motion, only one opposed.

Hansard link for more details:  Hansard 9 Feb 2015

 

Greg Hunt & Team

 

Ian Michler, conservationist and international speaker was brought to Australia by For the Love of Wildlife in association with Regulus Vision, South Africa and assisted by IFAW. Ian briefed our Environment Minister, Greg Hunt in a meeting at Parliament on October 1 with Jason Wood MP, Donalea Patman, Roderick Campbell (Economist, Australia Institute) and attending staff. Minister Hunt was very positive about Australia’s position on the importation of trophies and body parts with a position to be made by the end of the year.

Whilst in Australia, Ian was interviewed by various media agencies (following) with fabulous coverage by Bryan Seymour, Channel 7 News.

Today Tonight

Channel 7 News

Bush Telegraph, Radio National, ABC

Ian & Ministers

 

Jason Wood

Trophy hunters banned from bringing home rhino parts as MP Jason Wood fights ‘barbaric’ canned hunting

Jason Wood MP fights barbaric canned hunting

Environment Minister Greg Hunt to push for ban on Australians taking part in ‘canned hunts’

ABC News, by political reporter Latika Bourke

 

Berwick MP’s petition aims to stop importation of slaughtered South African animals

Story by BRITTANY SHANAHAN, BERWICK LEADER, JULY 04, 2014 2:10PM

 

International Fund for Animal Welfare

By Isabel McCrea, 7th July 2014

 

Jason Wood’s Parliamentary Speech

Parliamentary Speech 27 May 2014

Radio Interviews

Breakfast radio with James Carleton RN Breakfast Radio interviewing Ian Michler, lead role in the explosive movie Blood Lions during the Australian Blood Lions Tour.

Ian Michler, a conservationist and investigative journalist who features in Blood Lions, joins James Carleton on RN Breakfast during his Australian visit September 2015.

Our Wild World

Eli Weiss, Our Wild World on VoiceAmerica interviews Ian Michler and Donalea Patman on the recent announcement by the Australian Government. In this hour long interview Eli asks what did it take for Australia to take this courageous and visionary step and how will it inspire other countries to follow.

 

Interview with Philippe Perez and Tara Egan from Radio 3CR, Friday Morning Breakfast Show with Donalea Patman and her work with the Federal Government and the upcoming Global March for Lions. For the Love of Wildlife is hosting the Melbourne event at Federation Square, with many cities around the world showing that it’s time to end canned hunting.

 

6PR Radio

Radio Station 6PR 882 News Talk interviewed the Director of “For the Love of Wildlife” on the issue of Canned Hunting – 4th July 2014

 

Peter Rowe 6MM Mandurah

Donalea Patman, Director of the Non-Profit Organisation, For The Love of Wildlife talks to Peter Rowe host of The Drive Through Show on 6mm Mandurah – Perth 4th July 2014

 

John Laws

Federal Minister for Environment Greg Hunt talks to John Laws about the barbaric “canned” hunting industry . John Laws Show. Radio station 2SM SuperNetWork . 4th July 2014

Australia Bans Lion Trophies and Body Parts

March 13, 2015 Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced an immediate ban on the importation of lion hunting trophies and body parts as a direct response to the cruel and barbaric industry of captive breeding and canned hunting.

A global first, Minister Hunt took a courageous and visionary step in helping the critical decline in Africa’s lions and showed the world that there’s no place for this industry in our civilised society.

For the Love of Wildlife has been instrumental in working with Jason Wood MP, Federal Member for La Trobe in taking this issue to the Federal Government. Ian Michler, internationally renowned conservationist and lead role in Blood Lions Movie attended a meeting with Minister Hunt in October 2014 with For the Love of Wildlife founder Donalea Patman and Economist Roderick Campbell, Australia Institute and author of Ecolarge.

Since the announcement Senator David Leyonhjelm has tabled a disallowance motion which will be tabled in the Senate for debate August 12, 2015.

March 16 Ian Michler presented to the EU Parliament to share the news on the Australian announcement and also inspire decision makers, politicians, media and the public to consider following Minister Hunt’s lead.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Thank you for your interest in the Australian Government’s proposal to introduce trade restrictions for African lion (Panthera leo) specimens.

On 13 March 2015, the Australian Government introduced a measure to treat specimens of African lion as though they are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This measure affects Australian import and export of lion specimens, and bans trade in African lion hunting trophies.

The measure was introduced following extensive consultations with African lion range states, businesses, hunters, conservation organisations, and researchers. Any potential impacts on hunters, hunting operations in range states, and businesses that support hunting of African lions have also been analysed.

This measure has been introduced in response to Australian public concerns about ‘canned hunting’ of African lions.

African lions are listed internationally on Appendix II of CITES. African lions are also protected under Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). In accordance with CITES Article XIV and the EPBC Act, Australia may introduce domestic measures that further restrict trade in CITES listed species.

The introduction of this measure means that trade in lion specimens to and from Australia, including trade in hunting trophies, will be restricted to a limited number of circumstances, for example, for conservation breeding or scientific purposes. Trade in hunting trophy specimens will not be allowed unless the specimens were obtained before the provisions of CITES came into effect for lions, i.e. the specimen is from an animal that was deceased prior to 1977.

Australian CITES import and export/re-export permits issued up to and including 12 March 2015 will remain valid for trade until the permit is used or expires (whichever occurs first).

Further information is available at http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/cites/stricter-measures/african-lion

Please direct any queries regarding the new measure to wildlife.communications@environment.gov.au

Yours Sincerely,

Ilse Kiessling
Acting Assistant Secretary
Wildlife Trade and Biosecurity Branch
Department of the Environment

Australia Bans Lion Trophies and Body Parts

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Projects we support

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Skills of our Children

Shobiyana High School Art Workshop & Exhibition
with acclaimed artist Andries Botha

Teaching teenagers to make art to enrich their lives through skills training, psychological and experiential creativity and providing economic opportunities.

Shobiyana High School is in Acornhoek, a designated Presidential Poverty Node in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa. There is 80-85% unemployment and not much hope for school leavers. This rural area is ragged – it is under-resourced, often forgotten, neglected with broken infrastructure, short of water, – people go hungry here. There are thousands of orphans and vulnerable children and in extremely high HIV incidence – 1 in 3 people are positive.

There is also Walter Sibuyi. 

For years in this challenging environment, Art Teacher Walter Sibuyi has been diligently showing up to teach hundreds of children about art at Shobiyana – his devotion to creativity is absolute. On an average day he has 70 children in his classroom; several hundred show up every Saturday morning for the art class, which Nick Vorono of our partner organisation NPO Seeds of Light has been fervently supporting.

Walter expressed a desire to meet his creative hero, internationally acclaimed artist Andries Botha, he of the monumental elephant sculptures, and late last year we made that happen.

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Andries was so inspired by Walter’s joyful passion that he made a generous offer: as a project of The Andries Botha Foundation, he will run a week long art workshop at at Shobiyana in April,  donating not only his time but, with Walter and the children, will build one of his famous elephants on the school grounds!

This will prepare learners for phase 2 of our project: a grand exhibition in the school hall in July, where the winning artwork will be awarded R5,000 ($500) and 20 artworks will be selected to be exhibited at the prestigious Art Cave Atelier in Salzburg, Austria. (See our PERKS on how YOU get to own an artwork!)

 

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50 children will participate in the workshop and they need your help.

We need to purchase art materials, food, transport and materials to build the elephant sculpture.

Art enables people to know that they have rich inner resources, that they don’t have to look outside of themselves for what they need.

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There is also an ever important need to link young people to nature and to establish an intimate relationship with wilderness and animals. Acornhoek borders the Kruger National Park, a nature reserve bigger than Israel that many of these children have never been into – a tragedy as THIS is their heritage.

What is rich beyond measure in Acornhoek is CULTURE. 

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Fusing deep Shangaan lore of family totems with the Human Elephant Foundation’s credo, “The elephant is a metaphor for the the yearning for forgotten conversations between humans, the Earth and all living things”, learners have begun preparations for the workshop.

The purpose of our campaign is to fund the workshop and exhibition, and also to build resources for Walter to expand his art program, his influence and work in this highly deprived area. We would like to run this program again next year and invite other high profile artists to participate to add impetus to the program.

We have already raised some funds to initiate the project – our partner organisations Seeds of Light, the Andries Botha Foundation, the Human Elephant FoundationBartel Arts Trust, Pick n Pay Hoedspruit and  Zingela Ulwazi are working hard to make this happen. We hope you will join us!

PLEASE DONATE NOW

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Global March for Lions

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Friday 13th really was “lucky for lions, unlucky for hunters” where the Global March for Lions in Melbourne had a brilliant turnout awaiting the anticipated announcement by Environment Minister, Greg Hunt.

For the Love of Wildlife hosted the event at Federation Square in the centre of Melbourne which was abuzz with activity. Not only could you hear the background noise of Formula One racing due to the Grand Prix but Shabba and his band entertained the crowd with African music and dancing for an hour leading into the main event and it was a beautiful clear evening.

The founder of For the Love of Wildlife, Donalea Patman (also Australian Rep for CACH) present her speech first to then cross live to Ian Michler in Cape Town where Minister Hunt announced, via the big screen a global first, that Australia would ban the import and export of lion trophies and body parts. Very emotional and heartfelt with Jason Wood MP being the fierce politician who’s tenacity and commitment saw this through to the end.

Ian had been in Australia in October the previous year to brief the Minister in Parliament alongside Economist, Roderick Campbell and Donalea to reveal the truth about the hunting industry and ask for Australia’s assistance in taking a stand against the cruel and barbaric industry of canned hunting and captive breeding.

This has been a very long campaign by many groups and individuals who have worked tirelessly to bring awareness and action in stopping this hideous industry. Very special thanks to Bev Pervan and Chris Mercer who have created a global movement with the Global March for Lions and CACH.

A very proud moment for all involved…may the domino effect take place with the rest of the world to follow suit. We know that the European Parliament will be briefed week beginning 16 March by stakeholders around the world, advising 28 countries about the cruel and barbaric practise.

 

 

If you wish to have high resolution or print quality of the following brochure just email us at fortheloveofwildlife@gmail.com

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Global March for Lions 2014

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Earlier this year 62 cities participated in the Global March for Lions which was organised by Chris Mercer and Bev Pervan of Campaign Against Canned Hunting, South Africa.

CACH Logo

http://www.cannedlion.org/

Thousands across the globe gathered to march to show lions need protection. Poaching and canned hunting have had a severe effect on wild lion populations with many suggesting that they could be extinct, in the wild, within the next 15 years.

Here’s a video of the Melbourne March in which we estimate around 300 or more wonderful lionhearted people attended. The March in Melbourne began with a blessing from Tanishka to go forward with our hearts and not our anger. African drummers drummed our journey from Parliament House to City Square, with a very upbeat crowd. At City Square the speeches were started with JM opening the day, Rheya Linda (Wildlife representative of Animals Australia, Bruce Poon (Victorian Head of Animal Justice Party), our Founder, Donalea Patman and lastly, Jason Wood MP. Some wonderful talent sang us through the afternoon…a new and improvised version of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” was almost as funny as this clip!!!

The Lion Sleeps

Although it looked like rain, other than a few spots we had a wonderful event.

The day wouldn’t have been possible without the help of many volunteers and suporters. Viv and John Benton (Benton Productions), Seven Senses Consulting, Voiceovers 4 Charity, Coates Hire (Richmond) and so many, many more.

In Australia it was held in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in March 2014. Will keep you updated as to the next Global March.

Thank you to John Sullivan for the following video: Global March Melbourne, March 2014

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An interview with Chris Mercer, Director of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) and the Global March for Lions. Video by Trevor and Susan Barrett.

Wonderful community support with Bell Real Estate, Olinda putting a massive sign up in Mount Dandenong with the generosity of Mount Dandenong Vet Clinic allowing it at the front of their clinic.

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Cafe Beaumarchais in Sassafras helped with marketing and getting the word out as did Organic Fanatic, Mount Dandenong.

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Organic Fanatic

 

Radio ads were generously created by Vanessa Wilde, Voiceovers 4 Charity.

V4C Logo

http://www.voiceovers4charity.com/

Featuring the voice of John Benton, Australian actor who’s appeared in movies including The Castle and many television productions.

30 Sec Commercial

 

 

45 Sec Commercial

 

Travel Advice – Visit or Volunteer

For the Love of Wildlife does not support wild animal interactions or animals in captivity. If wild animals, in their natural habitat, wish to interact it must solely be initiated by the animal without coercion, on the animal’s terms, sensitively explored by both.

South Africa is the home of predator breeding and canned hunting, two inter-related practices that use and abuse lions as well as other predators in the most horrific forms of commercial exploitation. Today, anywhere between 7 000 and 8 000 predators, most of them lions, are being kept in cages or confined areas on over 150 private farms across the country.

Used for a host of revenue streams, many ultimately will end up being shot in canned hunts. Annually, close to 800 lions are killed by trophy hunters in enclosed or confined areas with little or no chance of escape, while hundreds more get killed and shipped to the East for the burgeoning lion bone trade.

Despite the claims of the operators, all leading conservationists and lion ecologists agree there is absolutely no conservation merit whatsoever in these practices.

For volunteering at reputable conservation agencies please explore the options offered by:

  • IFAW
  • Drakenstein Lion Park
  • Global White Lion Protection Trust
  • FOUR PAWS
  • Panthera
  • Conservation International
  • African Wildlife Foundation
  • WildLands Trust
  • The Wilderness Foundation
  • Endangered Wildlife Trust
  • The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
  • Youth 4 African Wildlife
  • African Parks
  • Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage
  • Great Plains Conservation

We ask that anyone visiting South Africa and its regional neighbours such as Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to please seriously consider the following:

  1. There is no need to be breeding lions in cages or enclosed areas as hand-reared, human-imprinted and genetically contaminated animals have no conservation value.
  2. While wild lions remain seriously threatened, this status has more to do with habitat loss and a loss of their prey base than it does with population numbers.
  3. If South Africa does need lions to start new populations in protected areas, these will come from existing wild stocks and not from captive-bred lions.
  4. Taking lion and other cubs away from their mothers is not a natural process and is done only to exploit the animals and you as the visitor or volunteer.
  5. Using lion breeding farms as an educational facility is like using fast-food outlets as a venue to teach about nutrition and good eating habits – it should not be done.
  6. No self-respecting researcher or scientific institution should condone these practices.
  7. Almost all trophy hunting in South Africa is canned hunting, which means the animal has been specifically bred for the bullet with little to no chance of escape.
  8. Authentic wildlife sanctuaries do not breed, trade or interact with the animals in any way.
  9. If you do find yourself on any lion farm, ask the serious questions: Why are they doing what they do? Where did these animals come from? And where are they going when they get older?

By supporting these facilities, either as a day visitor, volunteer or hunter you are directly contributing to the misinformation that confuses conservation messages and priorities.

It also results in a misdirection of valuable conservation funding away from the real threats facing wild lions.

If you wish to have high resolution or print quality of the following brochure just email us at fortheloveofwildlife@gmail.com

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For travel advice in Australia for ethical tourism contact:
Cassandra Newbold (Specialist Travel Consultant)
Better World Travel  0449 234 074

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E: bwt@easternhilltravel.com.au
W: www.betterworldtravel.com.au
www.facebook.com/betterworldtravel

50 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Victoria 3065
ATAS Accreditation No. A10957

 

Interspecies Communication

Experiencing Interspecies Communication (Africa)

In setting up For the Love of Wildlife (FLOW) and representing animals in our human world one of the things that struck me was “who consults the animals? Whether that be a political platform, animal law, advocacy, forum or blog…who actually consults with the animal kingdom directly?

I’ve had experience with animal communicators through the White Lion Protection Trust and we’ve all seen Anna Breytenbach with her very powerful documentary on the black leopard “Spirit” but interspecies communication is a relatively new concept for most and certainly there are a lot of skeptics.

Animal Spirit Website (Anna Breytenbach)

Moving forward with FLOW, I thought it imperative that this become part of the ethos of what we do and that consultation with other species is necessary to define the work. It’s time to drop human arrogance as it’s evident we’ve made many, many mistakes and it’s time to allow nature and the animal kingdom to guide our way.

Stella Horgan and myself embarked on a remarkable journey in November 2014 with multi award winning documentary film-maker and avid researcher Craig Foster, commencing in his home territory, between Simons Town and Cape Point Nature Reserve in the Western Cape, South Africa. Craig introduced us to cold adaptation which he believes is the true design of the original human, that we contemporary humans over-compensate with heating and over dressing, creating too much comfort, which takes us out of our relationship with nature and the natural stimulation of the elements. If we return to our cold adaptation capacity, our health and lives would improve and wed certainly have more energy.

Our first experience with Craig was on a very windy day (those notorious Cape winds!); the water on the Cape can be around low teens – not for the faint hearted. We immersed as a group and surprisingly lasted about 15 minutes – not bad for first timers. Over the week some did immerse for up to an hour and that was snorkelling so head in as well. Invigorating and healing and with the wonderful kelp forests (they are amazing to float on) oxygen/nutrient rich oceans really did have a striking impact. It was vividly evident in everyone that something had kicked in; clear and smiling faces radiating freshness.

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Craig Foster sharing the rich and pristine wildlife in fish traps along the Western Cape coastline.

 

Craig is definitely dolphin and his love and passion for the ocean is a joy to witness. He generously shared the landscape he navigates and knows so intimately and one morning surprised us by bringing a cat shark out of it’s cave to connect with us. Through his capacity to fully love and be available to this beautiful creature, the catshark trusted enough to come forward and allowed him to cradle her with the same grace and beauty you would show a beloved. To witness this, an animal that had willingly entered his arms,  and to watch her trust in return was beyond anything I’d witnessed before and was especially moving. When he released her, she seemed intoxicated and gently swam off between our legs, no darting or racing you’d expect from an animal that’s been held.

A few days later we shifted focus to a day of “original man” where Craig had designed clothing and jewellery for a documentary he’d created from his findings and research along the coast of the origin of our species. We partnered and then went to covering each other in ochre and clay, just like original humans would have – what a transformation! All of us were so surprised by the results and again were deeply touched at our connection to the earth and what significance deep immersion can bring. A very powerful exercise in returning to our deep ancestral roots.

Anna Breytenbach joined us to add the interspecies communication component. Her capacity to communicate with such brilliant clarity had everyone focused and absolutely present. She offered exercises and practices and we ventured out to share with the local wildlife. When the baboons came too close to the road Anna simply escorted them back up the mountain to safety, a baby grabbing her legs until it realised she wasnt a baboon! The Western Cape baboons are misunderstood and constantly under attack from local authorities who use paint ball guns to scare them away from carparks and residences. Anna knows some of the horrors these animals endure and shared one story of an adult that had died and due to an accompanying film crew the authorities carried out an autopsy. What was discovered is that this baboon carried something like 76 wounds of gunshot and pellets in its back, a terrible discovery and one that describes a painful existence in a very painful body. These baboons are persecuted and desperately need protecting, with the Cape Nature authorities on a mission to exterminate them, refusing to acknowledge their value, contribution to the ecosystem or right to life.

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To complete our time with Anna she took us to the rocky coastline at Cape Point and instructed us to spend time communicating with either animal or nature, the ocean, the sky, the land. As a finishing round she had us gather in circle to tone (using sound as an intention of thanks and respect in return for what is offered by the natural world). During the process Craig was very surprised to notice a sea otter that had emerged from the waves close to us on the shoreline. These shy creatures usually like to be active between the transitional time of day and night and here with us was a very curious animal. Coming in close and weaving through the water, standing on back legs to get a better look, it was obvious we had this beautiful otters full attention, and he was intrigued by our sounding and the intention of gratitude we were sending to nature. The experience lasted around 10 minutes and we were all stunned, so full of excitement at this incredible encounter.

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Anna Breytenbach with sea otter.

 

The next chapter of our journey took us to Khwai River, Chobe, Botswana to be with Alwyn Myberg, a highly sensitive and in tune guide, who shared his understanding of bird language with us. Camping on the Khwai River was truly breathtaking (yes, complete with drop toilets and outside showers!). Botswana has banned trophy hunting and as Stella beautifully surmised, theres a sweetness and depth that is held by the land and the animals here in the absence of guns and people who track to annihilate life.

Alwyns childhood in the Kalahari allowed him to rove freely in nature and to spend time with the Bushmen of his area . This activated a level of sensitivity in perception and witnessing his skill with bird calls and animal behaviour was extraordinary. Incredible accuracy was displayed when he found a python, which was ingesting a newborn impala by listening to bird calls. This python was in a pit and had fallen logs and other bush around it, not easily spotted yet Alwyn discovered it. Within half an hour more alarm calls alerted him to another python on a kill; this one was in the process of crushing a stork in waterand if that wasnt enough, another half hour and another pythonjust passing through.  The calls could tell him what kind of animal activity was going on in the bush, whether it was a cat, a snake, a mongoose.

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Python crushing a stalk.

One other story (there are so many) is when on an evening drive with the other guide Matusi, a man with a smile that lights up the world and a dear friend of Alwyns, we came across a herd of bull elephants on the river bank finishing the day with a long drink. Instead of looking, taking pictures and moving on we asked if we could sit and stay with them. And we did, we sat, we toned (very softly) and then the magic unfolded. One male took an interest in us and slowly and gently moved toward the vehicle. Theres a section of rippled skin at the top of the trunk and between the eyes that seems to move independently and more sensitively than the rest of the trunk. My guess is its where they transmit and receive telepathic/intuitive information. The other members of the herd had finished drinking and were loving each other with touches, trunks delicately caressing each other, finding each others mouths, lips, faces and we sat and were enveloped by a transmission of exquisite resonance of heart. We were so touched that the emotions rose and even the men were crying. This was truly a blessing. One of our friends began to wonder where the younger elephants were and put the question out to the adults, and then, out of the bush, came the young ones who curiously engaged us and then went on to drink. We were left speechless and stunned, unable to integrate the enormity of connecting like this with this awe-inspiring creatures.

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We made our way to meet the rest of the group and arrived in a truly altered state which Alwyn noticed immediately. None of us could socialise and it took us some time to come down from what wed experienced.

Experiencing deep ecology, allowing the time and space to drop into the magical web of life in such rich and beautiful landscapes is what the human soul seems to be homesick for. These exceptional humans, Craig, Anna, Alwyn and Matusi have developed their interspecies relationships because of their love of life, their love of the earth. We all have these gifts available to us, as our early human ancestors did, and if only we can trust enough, detach from the threads we deem safe and fall into the void without any attachment to an outcome, we too can commune what our home, this earth.

The question for us all is: Are you ready to dive into the mystery where the only thing thats certain is there is no safety net? Are you willing to be surprised and not know what the outcome will be? Are you willing to discover aspects of yourself  you never dreamed existed?

If youd like more information, please dont hesitate to contact us.