Australia…No Domestic Trade!

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.

Items for sale in Chapel Street, Melbourne.

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.

 

Print out the Speak Out Letter and post to the Minister. Details are on the letter and you don’t have to be living in Australia.

 

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.

Items for auction in Mt Lawley in December 2016.

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.

Print out the Speak Out Letter and post to the Minister. Details are on the letter and you don’t have to be living in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

Lion cubs imported by private Australian zoo from South Africa’s canned hunting industry.

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.

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Where do these lion cubs come from and where do they end up? Photo credit: Ian Michler

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.”

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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.

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Senator Lee Rhiannon with For the Love of Wildlife founder, Donalea Patman, Ian Michler who is lead role in Blood Lions and investigative journalist, Minister Greg Hunt and economist Roderick Campbell, author of Ecolarge.

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.”

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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.

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A call for domestic ban of ivory and rhino horn in Australia

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.

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“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.

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“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.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-09/customs-seize-ivory-in-air-cargo-at-perth/6381712

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.

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“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.”

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Contact:

Donalea Patman – Director, For the Love of Wildlife

fortheloveofwildife@gmail.com | +61417 939 042

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Global March Melbourne

More than 135 cities will join the Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion on the opening day of Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) to demand these species are listed as Appendix 1 to offer the highest protection possible. The Melbourne event will start at 11am at Alexandra Gardens, walking down South Bank to Red Stair Amphitheatre.

GMFERL Logo  Global March for Elephant, Rhino and Lion – Melbourne

Despite the serious message, this event is asking people to onesie up for wildlife and #MarchAsOnesie for a family friendly event. We want children to be engaged as the future guardians of these animals, to reconnect them to the natural world and show that we deeply care about the plight of Africa’s wildlife, the environment and all species.

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In communities worldwide, extinction anxiety is building and more-and-more concerned citizens are turning to their governments to ask them to step into the void and enact domestic bans.    

The continued slaughter due to poaching, trade, illegal trafficking, human animal conflict and loss of habitat is pushing these species to extinction. If world leaders and Governments around the world don’t take immediate action they will disappear before our very eyes.

The recent elephant census has chilling results. The only place where elephants aren’t being decimated is Kruger National Park in South Africa but then we hear there are whispers of a cull due to the current drought. Heartbreaking news to hear that 26 elephants have been poached in one of the last safe houses in Africa – Botswana.

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The demand on wildlife products from Asia and specifically Vietnam is having a brutal impact. We’re at a loss to understand why there’s still discussion and debate about opening trade on rhino horn and ivory. Despite tough border security Australia is complicit with more than enough evidence of items for sale through retail stores, auction houses and online – many aren’t antiques and certainly don’t have appropriate paperwork.

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There’s also concern that the burgeoning taxidermy industry does fall outside the capacity for officers to appropriately investigate, only able to seize illegal products but lack the authority to question or search.

If the slaughter continues at current levels, elephants, rhinos and lions face extinction in the wild within a generation.

But this is not an inevitable scenario, if all countries act now to eliminate demand by closing domestic ivory markets. If demand ends, the poaching will too, giving elephants and rhinos a chance to recover their numbers. The CITES conference is where critical decisions affecting the future of these species will be made, may be the last chance to take bold, principled steps that will give elephants, rhinos and lion a final lifeline to survival.

The captive breeding and canned hunting operations in South Africa feed the lion bone trade and despite Australia banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts in March last year, with France and the Netherlands following and the US putting strict import laws in place other countries are slow to act. The change in Government in the UK has put back efforts by local NGO’s with their Government seeking advice from Safari Club International, one of the drivers of canned lion hunting. You have to question the moral code of any human who thinks killing a hand reared animal in a fenced area is ethical or even possible to be considered “hunting”. Despite the fees paid for a hunt, the carcass remains the property of the farmer who can further profit by selling to the Asian market for approximately $5000 a carcass.

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“Unless immediate action is taken by all countries to put an end to the ivory and horn trade, we may be the last generation to see elephants and rhinos in the wild,” said Denise Dresner of Action for Elephants UK. “We hope everyone who cares about their survival will join the march on September 24th and demand action from their governments to save them.”

We ask that Australia takes decisive and clear action now, within it’s own jurisdiction, to target the matters at the very heart of this issue: consumer demand and legal domestic markets.  

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Ivory necklace for sale through Leonard Joel Auction House

A domestic ban would close down markets which ultimately provide a means to legally dispose of illegal rhino horn and ivory – an activity that undermines the rule of law, international trade bans and the CITES processes. A publicly announced domestic ban would help to reaffirm ivory and rhino horn as unacceptable commodities.

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Items for sale in South Yarra, Melbourne.

As a collective we ask for action throughout the Oceanic region.  It’s time for courageous and visionary leadership from all corners of the globe, to ‘do their bit’ to stop the slaughter. Too much is being asked of Africa’s wildlife, particularly the elephants, rhino and lion, under the ‘if it pays it stays’ approach – animals have a right to exist, well beyond being viewed as mere commodities.

We commend the Australian Government on their global leadership as demonstrated with the implementation of a ban on the importation of lion trophies and body parts – a visionary and courageous step taken by Minister Greg Hunt. Announced in March 2015, months before the death of Cecil, this ban could well be considered the biggest step for lion conservation.

We cannot bear to be witness to the continued annihilation of these animals and on this day, we mark the CITES CoP17 in Johannesburg and the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions commencing on 24 September 2016, we stand as one, we stand for wildlife.

We are very proud to have guest speakers Lynn Johnson, Breaking the Brand, Fiona Gordon, Gordon Consulting New Zealand (thanks to IFAW) and Director of For the Love of Wildlife, Donalea Patman presenting at the event.

Lynn in Kenya

Dr Lynn Johnson interviewed over 50 people from the Kenyan Maasai, including Maasai warriors to understand what rhinos meant to this group. She also interviewed people who were of Kikuyu, Samburu and Luo decent about what rhino meant to the people of Kenya.

Journeying into nature with deep reverence

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King and Queen.

Sacred Safari – May 2016

We made a conscious choice to work in the world differently, to take courageous leaps of faith and enter into the unknown and then find valid support for our efforts: this is why we chose to offer our first deep nature immersion journey. To share another perspective on entering the natural world, on what our impact as humans has on the silent and magical animal and nature realms.

Our first group was small but we had decided from the outset that regardless of the number of participants it was important to lay the foundation for this work, for these Sacred Safaris.

On our first day we gathered our fellow journeymen in Johannesburg, giving our guests time to recover from their long flights.

Those that were up for it took an afternoon at the Origin Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand which has fascinating exhibitions covering the depth of Africa’s history and Bushman heritage and it’s devastation due to European settlement. There  are beautiful artworks, intriguing artefacts and archaeological finds.

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We set out on our journey beginning at the sacred site of Adam’s Calendar near the tiny town of Kaapsche Hoop in Mpumalanga Province. Older than time itself, this rocky wilderness is protected by herds of wild horses.

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We have a history of visiting this site and it’s not always been as clear energetically as it was when we entered on the dusk of our first day. Beautiful large dolmens and other huge rocks stand like keepers, emitting their own heartbeat, a pulse emitted from the central heart. To enter into this landscape is surreal, the strange rock formations coupled with surrounding pine forests and organic moonscape of rocks.

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Adam’s Calendar is dated anywhere from 35,000 to 72,000 years old and is reminiscent of something like Glastonbury, without the extensive tourism and policing. The rock formations line up with constellations, celestial and seasonal events. Some time back, a group had started illegal excavation on the site and the scars are still visible.  Metal stakes were put deep into the soil between dolmens and around to measure the stars, the moon and the sun’s alignment and the energetics of what lay beneath. It’s common knowledge that when flying over the site in a small aircraft the instrumentation can either drop out or go haywire.

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Our entry into this natural kingdom was guided by a local woman, Mary Ross, who knows the area extremely well and showed us other energetic power points and portals. We had very powerful meditations and openings, which set the magical, mystical tone for our journey.

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None of the wild horses came close that day but the funky little village had quite an array of animals – all very happy to come and say hi and spend time with us.

Boondocks was the next stop with a very beautiful welcoming at the gate by the owner. It’s like entering the underworld. A stunning landscape of wild African bush and mountains with the accommodation right in the centre of surrounding mountains, not far from the Mozambique border.

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A shower with a view!

The outlook is breathtaking and the outdoor shower has the most magnificent view over a vast valley alive with leopard, baboons and buffalo  – an absolute must! The incredible offering by Anne and Stewart, who have lovingly developed this retreat centre, in what they hold on this land is exquisite. The highlight is the labyrinth they built which is an exact version of the one at Chartres.

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Such an incredible honour to be able to walk this labyrinth.

To walk this labyrinth on the land, in the middle of a forest and stream creates such a fine frequency, a direct portal to the inner and outer worlds, held by tree guardians. Both mystical, mythical and magical. One must experience it to be able to truly understand what is offered to the world. We had a difficult time saying goodbye, knowing we had deepened and opened ourselves to the animal kingdom, having full permission to enter.  Stewart’s wonderful stories and heightened intuitive perspectives were valued insights, his stories around the night fire had us all captivated and we found our hearts yearning for more. What they’ve created is remarkable, mostly a sharing of love and a great gift to the world. A universal architect who’s left a stunning and beautiful legacy.

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All the crew with Stewart on the left and Anne on the right.

Entry into the Kruger National Park welcomed us with amazing animal sightings on the bridge before we even entered the Malelane Gate. A multitude of animals greeted us just before we entered the park – crocodiles, hippo, multiple birds – an absolute celebration of life!

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A rare baby grounded hornbill.

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This adult grounded horn bill was with two others and two babies.

Our drive in was purposeful as we wanted to get to our accommodation, the Rhino Post Lodge, in time for the evening game drive – we were all bursting with excitement. Seeing a group of rare Ground Hornbills was such a treat, they were curious and friendly, the young ones coming very close to our vehicles.

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Our first night out we were blessed to see many rhino but being a full moon knew that protection for these animals is always paramount. We pray for their protection and that the senseless and cruel killing stops.

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The drought in Kruger brings many animals to man-made waterholes and watching hippos trying to stuff themselves in to tiny water sources is heartbreaking, they are certainly suffering the most.  We had seen a leopard kill, visible up a tree so our driver was committed to getting a sighting. We had a quick glimpse but scared the leopard with our driver not quite as sensitive and aligned with our intention.

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This guy really loved the toning.

The next morning we where all wide eyed and bushy tailed and headed out layered in warm clothing to meet the cold African winter dawn. Our guide was once again committed to seeing the shy leopard of the night before and got a little frustrated when we asked him to stop the vehicle and allow us time to connect in and calm our intentions. When you head out with a mission to see “something”, or to tick off a list of animals you want to see, you carry with you the energy of the “hunt”. Animals sense this and are long gone before you have a chance of a sighting – they pick up on another “predator” in the field.

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A newborn close to camp.

With our intentions softened, our gratitude activated and hearts open we started again. And what did we see? A rare Black Sable. At first it was indisdinguishable, looking like a man bent over in deep thought but then we saw the enormous black horns. Pan? He had been lying down and when he arose he took our breath away: in the distance he looked like a Centaur, our Pan, a Black Sable! We all knew the significance, and the rarity of such a sighting and were so excited and blessed to see such a magnificent creature.

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Such a rare sighting of this magnificent black sable.

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Hippos having a terrible time during the drought in Kruger.

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Trying to squeeze into whatever water they can find.

 

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A hippo in a dam with water levels very low, terrapins sunning themselves on it’s back.

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And then nature blessed us with it all. A herd of elephants of all ages from babies to matriarchs walked by, surrounded us, on their way to the dam. Hippos, rhino, giraffe, and the list goes on to the place where we stop to watch hippos, looking skinny in diminishing levels of water, terrapins using them to sun themselves. And we look to our left – leopard. Sitting atop a termite mound. Calm, relaxed, stretched out – shimmering. The jewel of the animal kingdom. Such exquisite beauty. Stella shared that they are the Kings of medicine. Ancient, wise, shape-shifters. Their fluid bodies move in sensual caress of the earth, collecting knowledge.

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We had it all, our drives included two golden lions mating just a few metres from our vehicle, with several males on the periphery about to compete with the dominant male. The tiniest owls, the enormous eagles – Crowned and Battler, mighty seers of the wilderness.

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The king and queen, the mating pair.

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On guard as other males close in on his territory.

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This lion moving in to challenge the mating couple.

On a night drive we came across a young hyena looking over the edge of a bridge and on our arrival she walked off. We were out of our vehicle on the bridge, on our guides invitation, all lights turned off looking down on hundreds of fireflies dancing on the river bank when our driver put on his torch and was surprised to see the hyena back on the bridge, strolling closer and closer to check us out. What an extraordinary meeting! No fear from either the three of us left standing or the hyena (did I mention half the group had returned to the vehicle…) just a curious exchange. We heard hyena calls all night – beautiful sounds, the soprano of the bush veld and early before dawn, there was a group very close to camp.

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Stella and I had awoken early and were first to get to the viewing platform to see a very similar hyena (in age and size) in the middle of the river bed, standing observing us before slowly wandering off on the loose sand.

A few days in Kruger was such a blessing, a numinous experience. Entering the animal kingdom with deep respect and reverence, being open hearted, calm and in love with nature really does invite the magical and profound. We left seeing more lions – the King and Queen in loving embrace. A herd of dozens of buffalo sitting in circle on a sandy river bank with elephants surrounding them, trumpeting and dusting themselves, all having to co-exist with the critical amounts of water available.

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We were astonished to see yet another huge herd of elephants in another waterhole having the absolute time of their lives splashing and playing, trumpeting and snorting, bathing, rubbing, looking out for the babies, the youngsters slapping the water with their trunks in complete celebration. The joy in their expression was something stunning to witness knowing that we too felt that celebration in what was shared with us in Kruger.

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The interactions with nature have left us all dramatically changed. You cannot take those experiences as anything other than a blessing. Deeply grateful for nature’s generosity and compassion we continued to attempt to express our deep love for the creatures and each other as our time together strengthened and deepened.

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A herd of buffalo had formed a circle, laying on the sand and elephants walking past to access the water.

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An incredible sighting.

Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world, was our next destination to rest for a day, take it easy and have a nurturing and soft time to ourselves. To catch our breaths and have a gentle weaving back into life outside of the magical field of Kruger.

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Bush buck on the water’s edge.

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Kudu.

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Baby croc only 12 inches long. Apparently he’s going to be moved away.

We spent a morning on the water of the huge dam with the boat completely to ourselves. We stayed quiet and witnessed creatures along the shoreline go about their daily business – bushbuck, kudu, crocodile, hippo, baboons. The true beauty of the canyon seen from the centre, looking up at the amazing rock faces, waterfalls and scenery.

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On our way back to the lodge we stopped at the waterfall for a quick (freezing cold) dip for the brave at heart. This location, part of a UNESCO protected biosphere is where “I’m a Celebrity, Australia” was filmed. To see how they’ve damaged the area, built huts, paths and bridges, dumped piles of river sand sand from another biosphere at the waterfall, a site many consider to be a sacred feminine place shows their absolute lack of regards or sensitivity to the protected area. Locals and tourists who come from all over the world to see this spectacular canyon are locked out for 4-5 months whilst they prep and film. You get a sense of how insensitive big business can be and how money speaks – isn’t it astonishing that this kind of thing can go on in a UNESCO designated biosphere?  I’m sure they justify their use by donating money to local charities and foundations with little understanding of what their impact actually is. When wealthy networks can buy off poorly managed parks boards and buy their way in, promising to leave the site in it’s original condition and doing nothing of the sort when they’ve finished filming has no integrity.

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Icy cold!

The next day we ventured to the tops of the Drakensburg Mountain Range visiting a view site overlooking the Three Rondavals, part of the magnificent massive rock formations. We looked down on the very water way we’d been on the day before where the Blyde River snakes through the canyon. Such a dramatic shift of perspective to be way up high! Ruth knew of the ancient altar on the site,  hidden from most tourists, an initiation site to some highly regarded African mystics. We spent time there meditating and realised that the top of the altar, eroded from years of wind and weather, looked so much like the landscape, mirroring the mountains, gorges and rivers. We ventured into a township for some shopping time for our guests and bought huge bags of avocado, passionfruit and mandarins for R100 (about $10 Aussie).

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Windy and cold on the edge!

Our final and finishing piece was the White Lion Protection Trust. Seeing the Royals was something else. These are two arresting white lionesses – Nebu and Zihra, who looked stunning in the morning light, sitting like sphinxes in the rising sun. Linda Tucker (CEO and founder) shared the genesis and reasons for the twenty year old project, not just the physical but the purpose of their work in many realms – the metaphysical and ecological. We were very grateful to her for joining our drives and sharing her wisdom, taking in the starry night sky and the drives around the dry, thorny bushland of Timbavati, which translates as “the place where the star lions came down”.

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The gorgeous George who’s working at GWLT after being an anti-poaching ranger.

We also witnessed the two tawny lionesses on another piece of White Lion Trust land who were in hunting mode. They are Cleopatra and Tswalu and worked in tandem, hunting kudu. This was an incredible event to watch – seeing them work in stealth, one going around whilst one held her ground and then struck from the opposite side. We didn’t stay to see the end as we didn’t want to disturb their hunt – it’s hard work,  but we passed the kudu as we drove along the road, feeling their heightened awareness, their wide eyed alertness, the adrenalin at being targeted and hunted by an apex predator. The balance and power of natural world.

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A view of the rustic accommodation at White Lion Trust. Lovely to sleep in round rooms.

We were truly blessed to have such wonderful participants who wanted the depth of experience and heightened sensitivity to nature and her creatures. Who willingly and courageously followed our guidance, who trusted us implicitly. To work with Stella Horgan and Ruth Underwood has been a dream, such remarkable women who hold such refined sensitivity but have enormous and courageous hearts, authentic and solid. To journey with them and trust the unfolding of that which we’ve laid out, to have the level of joy, brilliance, heightened intuition and guidance of nature and the exquisite gifts afforded us. We are all very excited to share this work with the world and are already making plans for next year!

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Thank you to the courageous pioneers who walked with us, the dear and loved friends who held us whilst unable to physically join us, to the spirit, elemental and animals worlds who loved us deeply and held us safe.

To offer this work is a dream come true and allows us to continue campaigning for the rights for our non-human friends. To co-exist on this living earth in respect and harmony, to create heaven on earth for all.

Blood Lions Australian Tour

Blood Lions proudly partnered with us for the first international screening, choosing Australia first due to the recent ban on lion trophies. Australia has set the standard by responding to the cruel and barbaric industry of captive breeding and canned hunting by banning all lion imports.

NEW DATES FOR MELBOURNE

Exclusive screening after Global March for Lions – Melbourne on April 2, 2016 at Cinema Nova, Lygon Street, Carlton at 2.30pm.

Tickets: https://bloodlions.eventbrite.com.au/

Blood Lions premiered at the Durban International Film Festival in July to a sell out crowd (500 seats) receiving a standing ovation.
Pippa Hankinson (Producer) and Ian Michler (lead role) have worked for years creating this film, facing not only financial pressure, but putting their lives (and the film crew) at risk. The entire Blood Lions team were very excited after a nervous lead up, knowing that the explosive film would blow the lid off the industry. More recently, the film has been screened via PBS and shown on Discovery Channel throughout the world.

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The film crew on stage after the premier of Blood Lions.

The premier was attended by Botswana’s Environment Minister and his wife, and many other special guests including members of the IFP.

Botswana Minister

Botswana Environment Minister, Hon Tshekedi Khama II and his wife with Donalea Patman.

At the second screening CEO and President of PHASA (Professional Hunters Assoc of Sth Africa) were in the audience and even with Ian Michler’s invitation, they didn’t engage in the Q&A. Ian made it known that Donalea was in the audience and what For the Love of Wildlife had achieved in Australia.

Immediately following, PHASA connected with the Blood Lions crew for intense discussion. A public statement about the need to address the concerns raised in the film in regard to lion hunting went out the following day. Ian expressed how it had been years of wanting to engage PHASA and now the film was now playing it’s part in initiating change.

AUSTRALIAN TOUR

Fremantle

The first screening in Australia was held at Luna on SX in Fremantle held on the 1st September and was a rush start due to Ian Michler’s plane being delayed – but we made it in the end! Pippa Hankinson (Producer) had to cancel last minute as contractual and legal commitment to getting the PBS deal in the US was imperative and required further work. She was very upset and not being at the first international screening and sent her sincere apologies and we certainly missed her!

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Melissa Parke MP, Donalea Patman and Ian Michler before the Fremantle screening.

Melissa Parke MP attended and participated in the Q&A, showing particular interest in addressing the lion bone trade through Asia. Katrina Love, Animal Justice Party and many others engaged enthusiastically with a few from the audience realising they had inadvertently participated in the industry. The expression people have when they realise that what they’ve done – thinking they were contributing to conservation to find out that they were part of the cycle of canned hunting.

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Very grateful to Charlotte and Cecil from Luna on SX who were incredible in sharing the film via their networks and really helped on the night.

Sydney

Screening was at UTS and after some initial technical difficulties, we had a brilliant night…thank you Bryan Seymour for stepping in when it counted most!

Ian Bryan Dlea

Bryan Seymour, Channel 7 with Donalea Patman and Ian Michler.

 

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Ace Bourke with fans!

Ace Bourke (Christian the Lion fame), Bryan Seymour (Channel 7), relatives of both Ian Michler and Pippa Hankinson, Jeroen Van Kernebeek (FOUR PAWS), Jan McGlashan (who assisted Pippa with transcripts), Paul De Villiers amongst representatives from Greenpeace, Sydney Zoo, RSPCA, to name a few.  Very interesting panel discussion with Matthew Collis (IFAW) and Hon. Mark Pearson, Animal Justice Party.

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Hon Mark Pearson (Animal Justice Party), Ian Michler and Matthew Collis (IFAW).

Great to have so much support with some flying in from all over the country. Thank you to all who donated including Alison Lee Ruby who made it despite being unwell.

Melbourne

Melbourne was a cold and blustery night but still a fabulous turnout. Engaging in panel discussion was Bruce Poon, Vic Convenor Animal Justice Party and Nichola Donovan BA, LLB, LLM Animal Rights Lawyer.

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Ian Michler, Bruce Poon (Animal Justice Party VIC) and Nicola Donovan, Animal Rights Lawyer during the panel discussion.

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The crowd before screening at Melbourne University.

Phil and Trix Wollen (Kindness Trust), Sean Wilmore (The Thin Green Line), Edward Bourke (Saving the Lion), Laurie Levy (Coalition Against Duck Shooting) and many other friends and colleagues. Very generous donations from Michelle Webb, the Australian Sweet Company, Stephen Powell and Peloton Design.

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Laurie Levy (Coalition Against Duck Shooting), Sean Wilmore (The Thin Green Line), Donalea Patman and Ian Michler at the Melbourne screening.

Thanks to University of Melbourne Animal Protection Society and Human Rights & Animal Ethics Research Unit for their very generous help.

Parliament House, Canberra

Screening at Parliament was the highlight for Ian Michler with invited guests and an opportunity to thank Minister Hunt in person.

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Senator Lee Rhiannon with Minister Greg Hunt in discussion with Ian Michler and Donalea Patman.

Unfortunately Jason Wood MP was away overseas on business, leaving Senator Lee Rhiannon and her staff to host us, but a real delight to know that this issue has brought the Greens, Liberals and Labor together. Attended by members of parliament, Environment Department staff, Heather Neil (CEO, RSPCA) and many from Canberra office of the RSPCA, Roderick Campbell (author Ecolarge) and colleagues from Australia Institute, Matthew Colliss (IFAW) and many invited guests and colleagues.

Greg Hunt gave a heartfelt speech in the committee room before the screening which left both Donalea and Ian a little lost for words! Senator Rhiannon was also very kind with her introduction.

8-9-15 Hunt- Remarks - Parliament House_Page_18-9-15 Hunt- Remarks - Parliament House_Page_2

We had a fun time getting through security with Ian not having any ID and having to google him on a smartphone to show security who he was (who doesn’t travel with a drivers license!!!)

Before the screening a quick interview on ABC Radio with Ian discussing issues on air with hunters, who after he presented the facts, the hunters backed down and agreed with Ian.

Members of the Shooters & Fishers Party, Senator David Leyonhjelm and heads of hunting groups were invited as guests to attend screenings. Senator Leyonhjelm responded that we should see his talk on canned hunting that he presented to the Senate on 12 August – we told him we had and that’s why he was invited (failed to present any facts), his was response was that we were “silly”.  No other replies. 

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Melissa Parke MP after the Parliamentary screening with Economist Roderick Campbell, Ian Michler and Donalea Patman.

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A very special thanks to Claire and Nathan of Marini Ferlazzo who donated White Lioness artwork to be auctioned at each event and one which was gifted to Minister Hunt. To Kym Illman who offered generous discounts for his new photography book and donated a book for the Perth event. Donna and her mum from The Australian Sweet Co for donating black aniseed balls. To all of you who have assisted in anyway whether that be helping sell merchandise at screenings, spreading the word, posting on social media, handing out flyers, for keeping us sane!!! Deeply appreciate the love and support and together we will get this industry banned.

White Lioness

White Lioness by Nathan Ferlazzo

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

Ian Michler in Australia

Ian Channel 7

Ian Michler briefed Minister Hunt on October 1 to discuss the cruel and barbaric industry of captive bred and canned hunting and how Australia is directly involved. Ian had recently returned from Switzerland and Finland where he had briefed lawmakers, NGO’s, media, politicians and the public about the same issues.

Also attending the meeting Jason Wood MP, Stephen Hartney, Roderick Campbell (Economist, Australia Institute), our Founder, Donalea Patman and Minister Hunt’s staff. The meeting was very intense and fast with Ian sharing the statistics of captive breeding and the “spin” hunters are using to con in the name of conservation. Roderick Campbell then briefed everyone with the economics around hunting and the true revenue, stating the Govt’s position is focussed and effective and a positive decision moving forward.

The Govt was also advised of how Australian volunteers and gap year students are being lured into these unscrupulous businesses believing they are participating in conservation work, learning little from the experience other than baby lions are cute to handle! Once lions have been habituated there is never an opportunity for them to be released into the wild, and if they’ve been bred in these death camps, they are usually genetically impaired which again proves there is absolutely no conservation value. Breeding wild at heart animals to live a life in captivity is cruel, often the environments so appalling and overcrowded. Ian also used the analogy that if there was true conservation work being done then why aren’t they breeding the rare Wild Dog or Ethiopian Wolf who’s numbers are critical? These reserves are breeding purely for the bullet.

IMG_0073 Ian Michler

One of the surprising results from the Govt’s investigations is that approximately 144 lion trophies and body parts have been brought into Australia since 2010.

Minister Hunt has pledged to have a result on the banning of lion by the end of the year, delighted at the response from stakeholders around the world in the recent call for submissions.

 

IMG_0335 Ian Michler