We are in what scientists call the 6th mass extinction with wildlife disappearing at a rate of 1,000 times the natural extinction rate. It’s known to be the greatest loss of biodiversity since the dinosaurs over 66 million years ago, and this time it’s caused by humans.
Some of the planet’s most iconic species will soon be gone forever unless we do something about it.
- Tigers – studies show there are as few as 3,000 surviving in the wild today
- Elephants – 30% of African savannah elephants were lost in just seven years and continue to be killed at a rate of 1 every 15 minutes
- Rhinos – three sub-species have already gone extinct this decade, and less than 27,000 remain in the wild including just 60 Javan Rhinos
- Lions – at best there are 15,000 lions surviving in the wild and about 8,000 farmed lions that can never be released into the wild
- Mountain Gorillas – just 800 surviving in the wild
What’s driving the loss of these animals at such a violent and alarming rate?
Unprecedented levels of poaching and wildlife trafficking to meet demand for products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger bones. Trophy hunting of animals such as lions which is seen by some to be a sport. Habitat loss as land is cleared for the generation of products and to accommodate human settlement. At the heart of this loss is the insatiable need to consume and commodify the natural world and its wildlife. Often under the guise of what is commonly called “sustainable use”.
The extinction discussion series
Instead of waiting for others to take action, we want to engage with you as part of our panel discussion series to have open conversation about doing more for wildlife.
Over the coming months, we will share what we’ve experienced and learned about the issues facing wildlife, and importantly, what can be done to turn things around. Addressing the extinction crisis will take something outside of the “business as usual” approach.
Through the series For the Love of Wildlife will host individuals who are impacting the conservation landscape, including behaviour change specialists, government influencers, researchers, rangers, economists, academics, film makers and many more.
Meeting monthly, the series is also a chance for you to connect with like-minded people who are also passionate about wildlife and creating change.
As American Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
SESSION ONE – 4 October 2018
Trailing world leaders in saving elephants and rhinos from extinction – Australia’s domestic ivory and rhino horn trade
We were all heart-broken by the death of Sudan earlier this year – the last male Northern White Rhino. His death effectively leaves the species extinct, joining three other rhino species that have already been lost to extinction this decade.
Both elephant and rhino poaching have soared to crisis point and it’s no wonder that most Australians are alarmed to hear we still sell elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia despite this crisis.
Results from the Great Elephant Census showed we lost 30% of African elephants from 2007 to 2014 – that’s about 144,000 elephants. During the same time rhino poaching in South Africa rose a disturbing 9,000% to more than 1,200 rhinos. There are less than 30,000 surviving in the wild today.
With numbers like these, it’s no surprise Prince William has stated, “a betting man would still bet on extinction.”
In response to their plight governments around the world including the UK are acting by closing their domestic markets for ivory and rhino horn. Yet Australia’s remains legal and unregulated.
For the Love of Wildlife and its collaborative partners Dr Lynn Johnson, Nature Needs More and Fiona Gordon, Gordon Consulting NZ have been investigating Australia’s domestic trade for the past three years and what’s been uncovered is nothing short of alarming. Illegal ivory and rhino horn is entering Australia, antique dealers openly selling items they can’t age, and the systems meant to manage the international trade are fraught with inadequacies. Every day it remains open we provide the opportunity for recently poached items to be sold on our domestic market. This makes us complicit in the poaching crisis.
All of our panellists, Lynn Johnson of Nature Needs More, Donalea Patman and Hayley Vella of For the Love of Wildlife, recently gave evidence through the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s ivory and rhino horn trade. Join them to hear about what’s been uncovered, the implications for Australia and how we as a country can play a role in stopping the demise of two of the planets most iconic species – the elephant and the rhino.
SESSION TWO – 8 November 2018
Pippa Hankinson, producer of the multi-award winning documentary Blood Lions, live from South Africa
Blood Lions has brought an extraordinary amount of awareness across the globe about canned hunting – the horrific practice of breeding lions for the bullet. Through this film, the world has been shown how cub petting and lion walking facilitates the industry, and how we can play a role in stopping it by not particiating in these activities.
This event will also demonstrate how Australia has also been able to play a signficiant role in creating global awareness through banning the import of lion trophies and body parts. This courageous and visionary move by our government sent a message across the world that canned hunting exists, that it is morally reprehensible and that it must be stopped. Australia’s move has been followed by others.
With 100,000 lions throughout Africa in the 1970s now reduced to less than 20,000 today, we are likely to see them extinct in the wild in the next 10 years if urgent action isn’t taken.
Join us for this discussion series to collectively share insights, strategies and ideas for when raising awareness can be used to help create change and impact the plight of wildlife.
The Age September 2018 – Greg Callahan
Parliamentary Joint Committee on rhino horn and elephant ivory.
9 News 15 July, 2018
Thousands of elephants and rhinos are poached around the world every year, but a loophole in Australian law allows ivory to be sold domestically.#9News | http://9News.com.au
Posted by 9 News Melbourne on Sunday, 15 July 2018
eBay joins calls for Australian ban on elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn sales
Tom McIlroy, Financial Review
July 4, 2018
Australia needs tighter ivory sale laws to protect elephants, parliamentary committee hears
Australian Associated Press
Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan calls for elephant tusk, rhino horn trade ban – May 2018
Australian ivory trade’s role in encouraging poaching to come under scrutiny – 5 April 2018
By political reporter Melissa Clarke
World Wildlife Day Melbourne Crush
National Geographic Australia – 2 March 2018
By Michael Smith
The Conversation – 12 March 2018
Sydney Morning Herald – 23 February 2018
By Amy Croffey
Sydney Morning Herald – 3 March 2018
By Neelima Choahan & Shiamak Unwalla
ABC News – 4 March 2018
By Tynan King
By Melina Sarris
Ranges Trade Mail – 6 March 2018
By Peter Douglas
Buro 24/7 – 8 March 2018
Captive Breeding and Canned Hunting
Bryan Seymour, 7 News covers the chilling footage brought to light by safari cameraman Derek Gobbett.
Explosive footage and the truth exposed by Derek Gobbett, a safari cameraman accompanying 10 hunters on De Klerk Safaris concession hosted by Stormberg Elangeni Safaris. This is the full story which was featured in the recent BBC story.
A Parliamentary Inquiry into the register of Environmental Organisations who focus work on issues outside of Australia, wanting their deductible gift recipient status removed. This article by Roderick Campbell lays it bare.
The Federal Election in Australia had us featured as part of Jason Wood’s election campaign. Jason Wood held his seat in the electorate of La Trobe with support of the Animal Justice Party.
Media on CACH’s withdrawal from I’m a Celebrity, Network Ten, Australian Reality TV
The Animals Post 2015 UK, 2015
By Isabel McCrea, IFAW Australia published 13 March, 2015.
By Peter Borchert, South Africa 15 March 2015
By FOUR PAWS International
By Oliver Milman, 13 March 2015
Nova Magazine March Edition by Jeremy Ball
Article Mail Newspaper, 4 March, 2015
Article Herald Sun, Victoria, 3 March, 2015
Article Saturday Star, Johannesburg, December 6, 2014
Article The Mail, March 4, 2014
Simon Bloch, Durban reports on Australian Government’s initiative (Sunday 6 July, Weekend Argus)
Article The Mail, March 4, 2014
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A world without wildlife is an unimaginable reality but at the current rate of decimation we are in what scientists are calling the 6thmass extinction – we are seeing thousands of species disappear before our very eyes. With your help, we can effectively combat some of the critical issues facing our ancient, majestic and magnificent animals.
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Melbourne Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Crush Epilogue
Donalea Patman, Founding Director, For the Love of Wildlife
For the Love of Wildlife has taken very seriously its commitment to the #MelbourneCrush and #NoDomesticTrade campaign. While the act of destroying elephant ivory and rhino horn items aims to show that the only value they have is on a living animal, importantly, we must consider that these items represent the death of thousands of elephants and rhinos.
Elephants are incredible creatures with strong social structures and personalities. Just like us, they have intricate family systems. Rhinos are as ancient as time, yet there are just 27,000 rhinos left in the wild today. These sensitive beings are fast disappearing before our very eyes.
On Saturday 3 March 2018, Australia marked World Wildlife Day with a powerful message about the importance of these majestic animals, by destroying elephant ivory and rhino horn.
Understandably, we have being considering what the epilogue must be for the items being crushed.
A heart-felt invitation has been received from internationally celebrated artist and Founder of the Human Elephant Foundation, Andries Botha, for the crushed ivory and horn, of these elephants and rhinos, to take the journey home and be returned to the earth in the land that they were born. The crushed items will be buried beneath a bronze memorial Andries is creating to honour Dr Ian Player and his conservation partner, Magqubu Ntombela.
Andries was a very dear and close friend of Dr Ian Player who passed in 2015. For the Love of Wildlife is both honoured and humbled by Andries’ invitation, for these elephants and rhinos to complete their journey home.
“It is, in my opinion vitally significant to bring the crushed rhino horn and elephant tusk home to the ancestral lands of these ancient creatures, where not only their bodies exist as essential components of our ecosystems, but where their ancestral presence and voices originate.”
I finish with a message from Andries.
We from the Human Elephant Foundation commend and support For the Love of Wildlife Ltd and the Australian supporters of the Melbourne Crush event.
It is critical that countries who are a part of the wildlife traffic economy take a courageous stand in support of wildlife that is now particularly vulnerable, as poachers, organised crime syndicates, corrupt governments and private and corporate business become more bold in their commodification of wild life products. It is imperative that we stand for these endangered animals.
It is, in my opinion, vitally significant to bring the crushed rhino horn and elephant tusk home to the ancestral lands of these ancient creatures, where not only their bodies exist as essential components of our ecosystems, but where their ancestral presence and voices originate.
We are honoured to take custodianship of the crushed remains of these animals, to bury them beneath a monumental memorial sculpture soon to be erected to honour Magqubu Ntombela and Dr Ian Player, who saved the White Rhino from extinction in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and to repatriate them to the land they belong to.
Andries Botha, South African Sculptor and Founder, Human Elephant Foundation.
30% of Africa’s savanna elephants KILLED in 7 years. Rhinos left to DIE after having their faces cut off.
A perceived value in their tusks and horn for trinkets, carvings and status is driving this poaching crisis. Elephants and rhinos will be gone before we know it unless immediate GLOBAL ACTION is taken.
What can Australia and New Zealand do to protect these iconic species?
Enact a full domestic ban on the sale of ivory and rhino horn. Australia and New Zealand continue to allow an unregulated domestic trade, providing gaps for recently poached and trafficked items to be sold through our markets.
In September 2016 Donalea Patman OAM (For the Love of Wildlife), Dr Lynn Johnson (Natureneedsmore), Fiona Gordon (Gordon Consulting) and Rebecca Keeble (IFAW) met with Minister Josh Frydenberg to hand deliver IFAW’s “Under the Hammer” report exposing the rampant trade in Australia and NZ, and a communique signed by 56 Australian and International organisations calling for a full domestic trade ban – this alone should have warranted action.
Melbourne Crush ambassador, internationally acclaimed designer Collette Dinnigan AO, says; “As an Australian who was born in South Africa, I know that for Africa’s people to thrive its wildlife must also thrive. Worldwide, any trade in elephant ivory or rhino horn that provides traffickers the opportunity to launder ivory and rhino horn from recently killed animals, must be decisively closed, this includes Australia and NZ. It is time to protect these magnificent animals, for our children.”
SURRENDER your ivory and rhino horn items to be DESTROYED to demonstrate that their only value is on a living animal. Drop items at reception, Melbourne Zoo beforehand if you can’t attend but wish to support this initiative, knowing too well that all ivory and rhino horn items are from the killing of a rhino or elephant, no matter its age.
Melbourne’s largest auction house Leonard Joel joins the call for a full domestic trade ban with latest Leonard Digital Newsletter promoting World Wildlife Day Melbourne Crush.
If you wish to do something real for elephants and rhinos, please give generously – we can’t do this without you – Paypal or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stand up for elephants and rhinos by attending this historic Australian event. Send a loud and clear message that we want this trade #Gone4Good. For further event details click here.
Working together towards the Melbourne Crush:
We have a very slim window to stop the irreversible decimation of wildlife, as we are in what scientists are calling the 6th Mass Extinction. Yet the ‘business as usual’ approach by large conservation and government agencies, we’ll lose some of the most iconic and beautiful wild ones; elephants, rhinos and lions, within the next ten years. We work from the top down, as it’s our endeavor to create global political will in doing more for the world’s wildlife. Our work with the Australian Government to be the first country to ban the importation of lion trophies and body parts, a courageous and visionary step by then Environment Minister Greg Hunt. A move that set precedent and was followed by other countries. We know our work isn’t sexy, but it’s creating a real difference for wildlife.
Donalea Patman OAM
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By working together, we can turn the extinction crisis around and make the world a better place for wildlife.
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Despite what many Australians might believe, elephant ivory and rhino horn is sold in Australia.
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released their “Under the Hammer” report, exposing how much ivory and rhino horn is being sold through auction rooms.
The report identified that only 2.7 per cent of items inspected at Australian auction rooms had ‘provenance’ documentation which provides the most useful information to determine the origin and legality of an item.
At least three rhinos are brutally slaughtered daily and one elephant is killed every 15 minutes. The South African government released rhino poaching statistics for 2016, reporting 1,054 rhinos has been killed.
A privately funded Great Elephant Census states that African elephant populations have declined by 30 per cent over the last seven years.
The Chinese Government announced it will close its ivory market by the end of 2017 and it’s time Australia does too.
In September 2016 the Australian Government was asked to enact a total ban on the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn in a communiqué that was hand delivered to Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg.
Signed by over 50 conservation organisations from around the world, the ban would be a move to ensure Australia commits to playing its role in saving elephants and rhinos from extinction in the wild in the near future.
The communique was presented by Australian NGO founders Donalea Patman (For the Love of Wildlife) and Dr Lynn Johnson (Breaking The Brand) together with Fiona Gordon of New Zealand based environmental firm Gordon Consulting and Rebecca Keeble of IFAW.
Ms Patman has been disappointed with the response from Minister Frydenberg and the apparent confusion about who is responsible for dealing with illegal ivory or rhino horn.
“The response was that Australia is unlikely to be driving the elephant poaching or international illegal trade,” Ms Patman said.
“On top of that, ivory was found for sale in Western Australia in December 2016 which didn’t have the required documentation (shocking to see that ivory appears in their catalogue again in February).
It was first reported to the Australian Federal Police who then referred it to State Police, who then passed it to Border Control,” she said.
“There is clearly confusion about who is responsible and a lack of political will to demonstrate leadership on this issue,” she said.
The threat of extinction of these iconic species remains high. In November last year Vietnam hosted the third International Wildlife Trade Conference in Hanoi.
The Duke of Cambridge and President of United for Wildlife, Prince William attended the conference and delivered a speech on tackling illegal wildlife trade. In his speech he stated “A betting man would still bet on extinction”.
Follow the campaign on Facebook and use the following hashtags #NoDomesticTrade #EyesOnIvory #RhinosMatter #NotOnMyWatch
Print out these posters, take a selfie with it and post to our Facebook page…show Australia that it’s time. The Australian Government needs the public to show that it cares deeply about saving these iconic African animals.
The communique that was hand delivered to the Minister in September 2016.
Ukutula, an industrial-sized predator facility outside Johannesburg, South Africa, has been in the firing line from conservationists and animal activists for over a decade. The place runs one of the most sophisticated lion cub petting, voluntourism and trading operations, and on countless occasions they have been exposed for selling their lions on to other operators once they are no longer good for their commercial operations.
The explosive documentary Blood Lions has exposed how the predator industry operates with scenes shot at Ukutula clearly showing as many as 27 lions cubs being handled by visitors and volunteers. The film asks the leading question “where do these cubs come from and where do they go”?
Ian Michler, lead role in the documentary states; “There is absolutely no conservation value whatsoever to breeding lions in captivity under these conditions, and especially so if they have been hand reared. These lions can never be released to the wild and volunteers are being conned into believing they are making a contribution to securing the future of lions.”
Volunteers are paying up to US$1000 a week for the experience of handling cubs and Ukutula can have up to 25 volunteers at any given time, clearly a significant money spinner for the operation.
Australian Federal MP Jason Wood was so shocked at the damning evidence Donalea Patman, Founder of For the Love of Wildlife took to him that he worked with then Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt to do something as he felt canned hunting was morally reprehensible. Minister Hunt created a global first by banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts, a courageous and visionary step with France and the Netherlands following Australia’s lead. The USA government has since also implemented far stricter laws for importing lion trophies from Africa.
Despite consultation with the Government and a screening of Blood Lions in Parliament, a private zoo in New South Wales has been able to import cubs from Ukutula in South Africa.
Ukutula has implemented a system of tracking their lions to assure buyers that they’re not destined for the canned hunting industry but given the information is confidential, you have to question how effective this is. In addition, not a single recognized lion ecologist or predator conservation agency is working with them.
Ms Patman states; “We do not need more lions (or any big cats) in Australia. There’s absolutely no conservation value and we’re supporting this unscrupulous business by allowing these imports.”
“The world is outraged over the brutality of canned hunting and we’re trying to educate the tourism industry and volunteer groups not to engage in exploitative animal encounters – cub petting and lion walking being part of the canned hunting cycle. We are sending mixed messages allowing these cubs into Australia but saying don’t do it in other countries.”
Billabong Zoo in Port Macquarie publicly states that it wishes to breed from these cubs. Are we not replicating the trend in South Africa which has been globally condemned by conservation and animal welfare groups as purely exploitative practises?
Billabong Zoo Facebook page statement:
“In order to import lions to Australia both the Australian authorities and the South African authorities have a strict permitting process to ensure the animals are sourced from a legitimate and licensed facility and to ensure they are going to be used for conservation purposes. In Australia lions are treated as a CITES 1 species, a higher level of protection than anywhere else in the world. This means that they can only be imported as part of a conservation breeding and education program. The Australia CITES office did research Ukutula and were satisfied that they were not part of the canned hunting industry – if they weren’t satisfied we would never have been granted our import permit. These cubs were also approved by the Zoo Aquarium Association to be accepted into the Australian breeding program for lions – this approval process included the scrutiny of, and acceptance by a number of individuals involved in this organisation. Secondly, Ukutula themselves insisted that Billabong Zoo become a member of EcoScan, a program which offers lifetime tracking of individual animals to ensure they are only used for ethical purposes and are not part of the hunting industry. Ukutula could not be a member of EcoScan if they hadn’t already proven themselves to not be part of the canned hunting industry. Thirdly our zoo vet personally visited Ukutula to inspect the lion cubs and the facility prior to the transfer, and returned with nothing but praise for the operators, the staff, the facility and the animals. The process for Billabong Zoo to import lion cubs has been a huge undertaking, and one that we have spent years bringing together. These animals and the sending facility, Ukutula have been researched and accepted by various government bodies and zoo industry officials. Throughout the entire process Billabong Zoo has remained transparent with the sourcing and importation of these animals, and at no time has any government or zoo official raised concerns with how these animals were sourced. The cubs, Milo and Misty have travelled and settled extremely well and we are so proud of the impact these little ambassadors have already had in raising awareness about the plight of the African Lion.”
“There is in fact only one piece of post-doctoral research (2012 study by Dr Luders and others) in the list of 14 links. The only research of substance appears to have been the improved felid semen collection study by Dr Luders and others that is not even lion specific. It involved a very small proportion of the Ukutula lions (7 out of an estimated 100). It does seem clear to us that Ukutula is primarily a commercial lion breeding venture, not a research facility.” Chris Mercer, Campaign Against Canned Hunting.
We are calling on the Australian Government to show consistency. We cannot condemn South Africa’s predator farms and the cycle of exploitation and then allow cubs from those same operators to be shipped here. In addition, we call on the Australian public to refrain from visiting these places; think before you visit and know that handling a wild animal commits them to a lifetime of misery with no chance of being reintroduced to the wild.
The Australian government will be asked to enact a total ban on the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn in a communiqué that will be hand delivered to Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg on Monday 26 September.
Signed by over 50 conservation organisations from around the world, the ban would be a move to ensure Australia commits to playing its role in saving elephants and rhinos from extinction in the wild in the near future.
The communique will be presented by Australian NGO founders Donalea Patman (For the Love of Wildlife) and Dr Lynn Johnson (Breaking The Brand) together with Fiona Gordon of New Zealand based environmental firm Gordon Consulting and Rebecca Keeble of International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).
In 2014 Ms Patman took the plight of Africa’s lions and the canned hunting industry to her local MP Jason Wood. Just 18 months later the former Environment Minister Greg Hunt made the decision for Australia to be the first country to ban lion trophies and body parts from entering the country. The ban was implemented just months before Cecil the famous lion was killed.
Since then, France and the Netherlands have followed Australia by banning lion trophies. The United States has severely restricted import laws to curb the canned hunting and captive breeding industries.
Ms Patman said that despite Australia’s strict border controls, the sale of ivory and rhino horn has been seen in shopping strips, auction houses and online. IFAW has released it’s report“Under the Hammer” which exposes the rampant trade, showing just how much is traded in the oceania region.
“This simply isn’t good enough given 30 per cent of elephants have been wiped out in the last seven years and rhinos are being butchered on a daily basis.
“Lions are being farmed for hunting and to satisfy a growing demand for their bones,” she said.
The communique coincides with the opening of 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES). Protection levels and whether or not to legalise trade of products from these animals will be on the agenda.
“Australia is geographically positioned and complicit in the illegal trade and it is time that we see a greater effort to combat trade,” Ms Patman said.
“It would seem that Australian laws are not fully enforced. Auction houses self-regulate and without enough officers in the field, there is a staggering rise in wildlife items for sale.
“An ivory shipment was discovered at Perth airport last year and an investigation by South African Airways found the cargo was mislabelled. Despite communication from the government, we are uncertain as to the outcome and what happened to the ivory,” she said.
Ms Patman is also co-hosting this Saturday’s Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions together with My Green World. The march calls for member nations of CITES to vote for the strongest protection levels for elephants, rhinos and lions, and to vote against legalising trade of products made from their body parts.
“We are fast running out of time to save these animals from extinction,” Ms Patman said.
“With what we know to date, we will see these species gone within the next 10 years,” she said.
The letter to the Minister states: “We cannot bear to be witness to the continued annihilation of these animals. As we mark the start of CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg and the Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion, on 24 September 2016 in Australia and around the world, we stand as one, we stand for wildlife and ask the Australian Federal Government to enact a complete ban on the domestic trade of rhino horn and elephant ivory.”
Donalea Patman – Director, For the Love of Wildlife
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