Parliamentary Inquiry recommends full domestic trade ban in ivory and rhino horn

The Australian Joint Committee on Law Enforcement parliamentary inquiry report, chaired by Craig Kelly MP, recommends a full domestic trade ban.

This is an incredibly positive step in Australia fulfilling its obligations as a signatory to CITES to address it’s unregulated domestic trade.

We’ve been working with Jason Wood MP over the past 2.5 years to expose the depth of wildlife trafficking in Australia and that the industry is unregulated and unenforced, allowing rampant trade in ivory and rhino horn.

We’ve provided evidence including auction rooms and antique dealers who openly flout the law, advising prospective customers how to get items in and out of the country illegally.

Read full report here:

Parliamentary Inquiry Report

 

Australia…we have blood on our hands

Australian filmmakers Augusta Miller and Michael Dahlstrom are backing a call on the Australian Government to ban the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Australia.

The pair joined forces with conservation group For the Love of Wildlife to create a social media commercial driving home a message that Australia has blood on its hands whilst allowing trade in ivory and rhino horn. It comes ahead of the outcome of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Australia’s ivory and rhino horn trade.

Miller said she felt compelled to do something to make a difference when she learned these items could still be sold in Australia.

“Like most Australians I had no idea that it’s still legal to sell ivory and rhino horn. When I found out I felt overwhelmed by a desire to do something about it.

“It’s despicable. It needs to stop. It’s the only ethical choice,” she said.

Dahlstrom agreed with the need to end the trade to ensure the survival of two of the world’s most iconic animals which are now facing extinction.

“It’s unfathomable that we’re allowing this trade to continue when one elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, and a rhino every eight hours for its horn.

“Unless our government takes action to end it, we’ve all got blood on our hands,” he said.

Miller’s mother, actress Sandy Gore, provided the voiceover for the commercial after hearing about the parliamentary inquiry into the trade.

“In the 1970s I was gifted two ivory bracelets. At the time I was in my early 20’s and had no concept of the degree of devastation these items had caused for elephants.

“I can’t change what happened to those elephants but I can do something now, however small, to give back and say enough is enough,” she said.

In March this year the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement launched the inquiry into Australia’s ivory and rhino horn trade. Evidence has been heard from the Department of Environment, non-government organisations, antiques and auction industry, Customs and online selling platforms including Facebook.

While the importing and exporting of ivory and rhino horn is regulated, it remains legal to buy and sell domestically.

For the Love of Wildlife has been working closely with Federal MP Jason Wood to end Australia’s ivory and rhino horn trade. The group has released shocking footage of antique dealers selling ivory they can’t determine the age of and advising customers how to illegally smuggle it out of the country.

Founding Director, Donalea Patman said damning evidence of the extent of wildlife trafficking in Australia had been presented through the inquiry and that there is overwhelming support to ban the ivory and rhino horn trade.

“It’s naively assumed any ivory and rhino horn in Australia must have entered the country legally, yet we’ve seen that the systems used to regulate international trade such as the CITES permit system and trade database have major shortfalls,” she said.

“Through the inquiry we’ve heard Australians are ordering ‘kill on demand’ for ivory and rhino horn from Tanzania and Kenya. We also heard of a case in Australia where a trafficker was caught with several rhino horns, ivory and cash, but was never prosecuted despite a water tight case.

“Traffickers already have a perception of wildlife crime being a low-risk, high-reward activity and Australia perpetuates this,” Patman said.

In response to those who believe Australia’s trade may be small compared to countries like China or Vietnam, Patman says the true volume of Australia’s trade is unknown.

“We’ve witnessed thousands of items for sale across just a handful of stores and online platforms, and in all of these cases, there wasn’t any documentation to prove an item’s age or legality. At best, sellers guess the age of items based on visual appearance.

“As long as our government allows for a legal domestic trade, we’ll continue providing opportunities for traffickers to launder illegal ivory and rhino horn into our legal domestic market,” she said.

“It makes us complicit in the poaching crisis and it’s a responsibility the Australian Government cannot ignore.

“We’re deeply touched and incredibly grateful to Augusta, Michael and their team for creating such a powerful ad with a message that we know will hit home for all Australians,” she said.

The ad can be seen at fortheloveofwildlife.org.au

In April this year the UK Government announced its ban on the domestic sale of ivory in a bid to help protect elephants. The move came after a public consultation process where more than 60,000 people showed their support to end the trade.

We need you to help stop the trade of elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia.

Write to the Minister for the Environment, Hon Melissa Price MP TODAY.

Here’s a sample email you can copy and paste to the Minister at Melissa.Price.MP@aph.gov.au

Dear Minister

Every day that the domestic trade in elephant ivory or rhino horn continues, Australia legitimises the desire for these luxury wildlife ‘products’, stimulates demand and drives the current rhino and elephant killing spree.

Any legal market, including Australia’s, provides an opportunity to launder recently poached, illegal ivory and rhino horn and, as such, contributes to poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. 

I want Australia to take a stand and legislate for a complete domestic trade ban on elephant ivory and rhino horn, no matter the age.

Yours sincerely

 

How we have tried to stop this brutal trade in Australia.

For the Love of Wildlife has been working with its collaborative partners NatureNeedsMore and Gordon Consulting for the past two years, investigating Australia’s domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn.

Africa’s iconic elephants and rhinos are facing crisis with one elephant killed every 15 minutes for its tusks and one rhino every eight hours for its horn. At this rate experts are predicting they could be extinct in the next 10 years.

Australia’s trade in ivory and rhino horn provides opportunity for items from recently killed elephants and rhinos to be sold through our markets. The demand (in any country) is driving the brutal killing spree. Alarmingly, there are no checks and balances in Australia’s unregulated trade to prevent items from recently killed elephants and rhinos being sold in our own backyard.

From left to right: Rebecca Keeble (IFAW), Dr Lynn Johnson (NatureNeedsMore), Fiona Gordon (Gordon Consulting), Minister Josh Frydenberg and Donalea Patman (For the Love of Wildlife).

In September 2016 we met with Energy and Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg with a communique calling for a full domestic trade ban. The response from the government was that the trade in Australia isn’t contributing to the poaching crisis and our laws, regulations and processes are sufficient to ensure this isn’t the case. The communique was signed and supported by 56 Australian and international organisations. This warranted immediate action.

It wasn’t enough.

Part of the Federal Government’s response was that the issue of domestic trade and enforcement rests with State governments, not Federal. So we wrote to the Environment Ministers for each state to ask them. As we expected, the responses stated that the domestic trade is indeed a Federal Government responsibility. This also warranted immediate action.

It wasn’t enough.

We then called on members of the Australian public to write letters and upload images to social media to demonstrate their support for stopping this brutal trade and do our part in stopping the poaching crisis.

All of the people we spoke to were genuinely shocked that it’s still legal to buy and sell ivory and rhino horn in Australia, and believe that it should be banned. Hundreds of letters were sent to Minister Frydenberg’s office and hundreds of photos were uploaded to social media. This demonstrated strong support from the public for a domestic trade ban.

This wasn’t enough.

In August 2017 a workshop was held with key stakeholders working with a Federal MP to share our findings and the evidence we’d collected. Following the workshop we provided the Department of Environment and Energy with draft legislation for a domestic trade ban. We’ve heard nothing back from the government on this draft.

It wasn’t enough.

We rallied the public on World Wildlife Day – Saturday 3 March 2018 – and hosted Australia’s first ivory and rhino horn crush event in Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne. The event was attended by Federal MP Jason Wood to show the world that the only value ivory and rhino horn has is on a living animal. Hundreds of people came to show their support with people surrendering items they had bought, been gifted or inherited from family members, for crushing.

Australia’s first public crush of ivory and rhino horn on World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2018. Demonstrating that the only value is on a living animal. (Jason Wood MP in hat crushing ivory).

Internationally applauded designer Collette Dinnigan AO was event Ambassador and the call for a domestic trade ban gained overwhelming support from high profile individuals including Aussie rock legend John Farnham, actress Asher Keddie, Dr Jane Goodall and former NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clark.

The Melbourne Crush received attention from a variety of media including 7 News, The Age, ABC, National Geographic and international agencies.

This STILL wasn’t enough.

On 28 March 2018, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement initiated an inquiry into the trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.

We must make sure this is enough.

This is the last window to make sure the Australian Government hears your loud and clear call for a full domestic trade ban on ivory and rhino horn.

If you feel passionately about this, and we know you do, then we ask that you write and include your voice in the submission process. Take action and be part of doing something real to stop the brutal slaughter of elephants and rhinos through a submission for this inquiry. It’s time this ugly trade is #Gone4Good.

We MUST have an overwhelming response so that there’s NO question that Australia enacts a FULL DOMESTIC TRADE BAN.

What will it take?

The Government has evidence to act. Whilst they go about “business as usual” we are watching elephants and rhinos disappear before our very eyes.

Write to Minister for the Environment Hon Melissa Price MP TODAY.

Here’s a sample email you can copy and paste to the Minister at Melissa.Price.MP@aph.gov.au

Dear Minister

Every day that the domestic trade in elephant ivory or rhino horn continues, Australia legitimises the desire for these luxury wildlife ‘products’, stimulates demand and drives the current rhino and elephant killing spree.

Any legal market, including Australia’s, provides an opportunity to launder recently poached, illegal ivory and rhino horn and, as such, contributes to poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.

I want Australia to take a stand and legislate for a complete domestic trade ban on elephant ivory and rhino horn, no matter the age.

Yours sincerely

South Africa’s fly in, fly out brutal hunting industry

A billboard designed to tackle “canned” lion hunting has been rejected by Airports Company South Africa Or Tambo International Airport, the gateway to South Africa.

The move came ahead of this week’s colloquium on South Africa’s predator breeding industry.

Aimed at deterring the brutal practice of canned hunting where tame, hand-reared lions are shot in confined area, the billboard shows a child holding a plastic toy gun with the message ‘skill level required to be a lion hunter’.

Donalea Patman, Founding Director, said the industry is all about a quick, cost effective and guaranteed kill.

“These so-called hunters buy the lion online before they arrive in South Africa and love to tell a story of how they supposedly shot a rogue beast that was threatening a local community.”

“What they actually shot was a tame animal that was likely to have been drugged and then baited to approach the vehicle, having being fed this way for much of its short life,” Patman said.

“It takes the skill of a child to shoot such an animal and that’s the message of our billboard which ACSA has rejected,” she said.

Recently Safari Club International and Dallas Safari Club, two of the biggest US hunting groups, stated they were distancing themselves from the canned hunting industry. The move comes amidst significant pressure from the Blood Lions campaign and global condemnation of the abhorrent industry.

The industry is also known for deceiving well-intentioned volunteers who pay thousands of dollars to hand-raise lion cubs, believing they will be released into the wild. Volunteers are often left distraught upon finding out their beloved cub has been bred purely for the bullet and they have been used as part of a shady supply chain.

“Hunters will shoot these lions with several bullets to the body and maybe then through the ear or eye to make sure the head remains a good trophy to stick on their wall,” Patman said.

“The intensive breeding of these lions is driving demand for lion products and impacting wild populations. We’ve been told of wild cubs being stolen to reinvigorate genetics of farmed lions and we know that the industry is also fuelling the lion bone trade.”

“Lions are one of the planet’s most iconic species and they are heading toward extinction. I think it’s absolutely appalling that staff at OR Tambo Airport have made an unfounded decision to block an ad that would play an important role in stopping their demise,” she said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature currently lists lions as vulnerable (population decreasing) and indicates a 43 percent decline in lion populations between 1993 and 2014.

Staff at ACSA Or Tambo Airport said the decision to reject the billboard had no relevance to advertising codes of practice and was on the grounds of “not entertaining advertisements whereby children are associated with hunting and guns”.

Ms Patman said the response was unacceptable.

“The ad shows a child with a plastic toy gun and reality is children play with these toys. It’s not about a child engaging in violence or hunting.”

“They have asked us to redesign our ad but we’re not going to do that. It’s been designed to drive home the message that these so-called hunters aren’t hunters at all and they should feel embarrassed for shooting a tame, confined lion,” Ms Patman said.

The South African colloquium being held in Cape Town has heard evidence from economists who estimate that R$54 billion could be lost in tourism revenue if the barbaric industry continues.

“Many people we’ve spoken to will no longer travel to South Africa because of its consumptive and commodified approach to its precious wildlife, addicted to old paradigms including ‘if it pays it stays’, Ms Patman said.

“People are angry at poachers but we aren’t addressing the rich who pay to kill these animals for fun,” she said.

In 2015 Patman put the plight of Africa’s lions and the canned hunting industry on the Australian radar and worked with government to see Australia become the first country in the world to ban the import of lion trophies and body parts. The ban was implemented just months before Cecil the famous lion was killed.

Press in South Africa Traveller24 
And the results from Traveller24 poll.

FLOW submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry

 

For the Love of Wildlife’s #NoDomesticTrade campaign, with collaborative partners Nature Needs More and Gordon Consulting, NZ has resulted in a Parliamentary Inquiry in Law Enforcement.

Working for more than two years in investigating the unregulated domestic trade, coming to a head in hosting Australia’s first and historic #MelbourneCrush where we destroyed ivory and rhino horn surrendered by the Government and the public to demonstrate that the only value horn and tusks have is on a living animal.

We know that Australian’s want his trade #Gone4Good with almost everyone we’ve interviewed or spoken to during this time is shocked and appalled that it isn’t already banned. Thank you to Jason Wood MP for his commitment to saving the magnificent and majestic elephants and rhinos.

Submission by Donalea Patman

Attachment to submission by Donalea Patman – Ivory Items

Submission by Hayley Vella

All submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry can be found here:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Law_Enforcement/Elephantivoryrhinohorn/Submissions

Jason Wood MP tables Private Member’s Motion to close the Australian domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn.

Monday 23 October Jason Wood MP tabled a Private Member’s Motion to the House of Representatives in Canberra.

Jason championed the ban on lion trophies and body parts which was announced by then Environment Minister Greg Hunt in March 2015, before the death of Cecil, the famous lion killed by US dentist Walter Palmer.

The collaboration of For the Love of Wildlife with Fiona Gordon of Gordon Consulting NZ and Nature Needs More (previously Breaking the Brand) has exposed the serious flaws not only in the CITES reporting, but also Australia’s failure to prosecute with hundreds of confiscations and seizures over a period 2010 – 2016.

There’s a global call to close ALL markets and we’re very excited that Jason Wood is again stepping up for Africa’s iconic species.

Hansard from Monday’s Motion.

New Zealand Government to continue allowing ivory and rhino horn to be sold domestically

Sadly, the New Zealand Government will continue trailing world leaders in saving elephants and rhino from extinction, saying it will not introduce a ban to stop the domestic sale of ivory and rhino horn.

The Government’s intention comes despite phenomenal public support for a ban. Over the past month more than 2,000 letters have been sent to Parliament calling for the government to stop the sale of ivory and rhino horn in the country.

As we continue losing one elephant every 15 minutes and a rhino every eight hours to poaching, governments around the world have announced plans to end their domestic trade of ivory and rhino horn. China announced its ivory and rhino horn ban last year, with Hong Kong also announcing its ban to stop the sale of ivory by 2021. Tougher regulations for ivory trade are already in place in the US.

Australia is also tackling the issue with Federal MP Jason Wood tabling in the House of Representatives, the elephant and rhino poaching crisis, and Australia’s domestic trade in Parliament just last week.

Ivory for sale at Donelly’s Auction Rooms, Mt Lawley, Western Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime cites New Zealand as a source, transit and destination for wildlife contraband, reporting the country’s “staggering” number of confiscations. Seizures have doubled to almost 6,000 in 2015.

The National Government considers New Zealand’s domestic trade in ivory to be made up of “functional” products – bagpipes and pianos – and old statutes and carvings. This is despite a nine-month investigation by IFAW showing that 60% of ivory in New Zealand’s domestic market is carvings, statutes and tusks. Furthermore, less than one in 10 of the ivory lots had any documentation showing evidence of their age or origin.

Considering the IUCN and CITES have called on all nations to close their domestic ivory markets, the news from New Zealand is extremely disappointing. With the real threat that our elephants and rhinos will be extinct in the next ten years, we need leadership and immediate action from all nations, including New Zealand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International press include the following:

https://www.iol.co.za/mercury/environment/need-for-global-response-to-curb-wildlife-crime-11201816

https://conservationaction.co.za/media-articles/australia-new-zealand-letting-elephant-rhino/

http://www.sabreakingnews.co.za/2017/09/12/australia-and-new-zealand-letting-elephant-and-rhino-down/

https://etn.travel/australia-and-new-zealand-letting-elephant-and-rhino-down-31670/

http://travelwirenews.com/australia-and-new-zealand-letting-elephant-and-rhino-down-2-402168/

http://www.15minutenews.com/article/130685607/australia-and-new-zealand-letting-elephant-and-rhino-down/

http://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Omgewing/rondloper-olifante-gered-en-terug-in-natuur-20170912

Time for a targeted ad campaign to up the anti against the horrendous canned hunting industry

Were you sick to your stomach when you heard US dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil? This industry is far worse.

Every day in South Africa lions are bred for the bullet. Factory farmed for trophy hunters; these tame, hand reared lions are brutally slaughtered in small, high fenced areas. They are often baited and drugged, targets of the unskilled. These lions endure several bullets ending in a slow and painful death. Leaked footage exposes the horrors, including terrified lions being shot out of trees or whilst hiding in warthog holes. This is the canned hunting industry.

More than 8,000 lions waiting to die in horrific death camps.

Captive breeding and canned hunting is for those who want a quick, guaranteed, and cheap kill. A fly-in fly-out arrangement. Yep, lazy “hunters” that want an animal to come to them. Cubs bred for this industry are rented to tourist attractions, then lion walking activities, and finally returned to cramped and filthy conditions waiting to be bought online – and shot.

GET ON BOARD

Despite global outrage, the industry of breeding lions for ‘fun’ still thrives.  Unfortunately wild lions are also targeted by lion farmers. Prides are killed and cubs are stolen, all to reinvigorated the breeding stock for this industry.

With lions critically endangered, it’s time to stop killing for fun.

We are sick and tired of the hunting propoganda – hunters call themselves conservationists (remember we’re the bunny huggers) but what type of person kills a tame lion?

Captive bred lions unfortunately have no conservation value. Being genetically impaired, they have no future. This is yet another reason to stop the incessant breeding.

We need your help in funding this desperately needed campaign.

DONATE NOW – Pozible Crowd Funding

About For the Love of Wildlife

For the Love of Wildlife was the driver behind the Australian ban on the importation of lion trophies and body parts in 2015. A global first, this saw France and the Netherlands follow, with the US also implementing stricter import measures.

Join us in saving lions. We cannot bear to witness the continued exploitation of the King, a symbol of courage, strength and wisdom. Our lions deserve to be revered and protected, not cruelly and inhumanely exploited for profit.

It’s time to stop the brutal slaughter and close down this filthy industry for good.

What happens behind the fences.

WARNING: Graphic content.

Footage exposing the horrors of a canned hunt.

 

Order of Australia

Founder of For the Love of Wildlife, Donalea Patman, has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to animal welfare.

In what started with a humble letter to her local MP Jason Wood, Donalea put the plight of Africa’s lions and the canned hunting industry on the Australian radar.

Just 18 months later the former Environment Minister Greg Hunt made the decision for Australia to become the first country to ban the importation of lion trophies and body parts.

Reflecting on her campaign to ensure Australia plays its part in the protection of one of the world’s most iconic species, Donalea recalls meeting Pippa Hankinson at an event in December 2012, Producer of Blood Lions, a documentary exposing the canned hunting industry.

“We happened to catch the same flight out and on that flight, we both pledged to do more for lions.

“Pippa went on to make Blood Lions and I started reaching out to people to see what role Australia could play,” Donalea said.

Leading up to a Federal election Donalea started writing to the candidates about the plight of Africa’s lions.

“I had approached Government to act on behalf of our youth who were being duped into participating in the canned hunting industry.

“They thought they were raising orphaned cubs as part of a conservation effort, but little did they know they were unwittingly raising cubs that are bred for the bullet,” Donalea said.

She then received a phone call from MP Jason Wood who she described as being shocked at the statistics and appalled at the canned hunting industry.

“He (Jason) said if he was elected he would do something to help.

“Jason championed the work, resulting in tripartisan support to get the changes necessary in enacting a ban on the importation of lion trophies and body parts,” Donalea said.

In recognition of her prestigious award, Donalea reflects on the support and mentoring she has received throughout her journey to date, particularly from Ian Michler, the Specialist Consultant and lead role in the Blood Lions documentary.

Meeting with Minister Greg Hunt – Ian Michler, Jason Wood MP, Donalea Patman (next to Donalea, out of picture Roderick Campbell).

“He trusted me from the very beginning. Ian was integral to the process, supplying scientific evidence, industry information and relevant reports.

“He also introduced me to key stakeholders and willingly travelled to Australia to meet with Jason Wood and Minister Greg Hunt,” Donalea said.

At the Global March for Lions in March 2015, Donalea hosted an event at Federation Square, Melbourne, to announce the Australian ban.

“We had a massive screen linked to Ian in South Africa to announce the ban.

“It was one of the proudest days of my life to see a man who’s been fighting to stop this industry for around 20 years wipe tears away on the announcement,” she said.

Crowd at Federation Square, Melbourne to watch the announcement of the ban on lion trophies and body parts, a global first.

When asked what advice she has for others who want to make a difference for wildlife, Donalea was more than happy to share some words of wisdom.

“I truly believe that if you want to make a change in the world you must be courageous to take a leap of faith.  With commitment and determination, we all have the capacity to make a positive impact,” she said.

“I come from a design background and yet somehow, through my love of wildlife and the power of not being able to stay silent about an industry that is so abhorrent, I found a way to do something.

“I’m deeply grateful to Pippa and Ian, and honoured to be in Jason Wood’s electorate,” Donalea said.

Although lions remain her passion, Donalea is now focusing her expertise to impact the plight facing elephants and rhinos. She is leading the #NoDomesticTrade Australia project to have the Australian Government implement a domestic trade ban on the sale of ivory and rhino horn within the country.

Order of Australia

On Australia Day 2017 the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Donalea was announced as recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division within the Australian honours system for service to animal welfare.

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry established by Letters Patent on 14 February 1975 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the advice of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Appointments to the Order of Australia is the pre-eminent means by which Australia confer recognition for outstanding achievement or meritorious service of its citizens. Membership to the society of honour is by merit, independently assessed and free of political interference.

The Queen is the Sovereign Head of the Order of Australia and the Governor General is the Principal Knight and as Chancellor is charged with the administration of the Order.

Stella Horgan in Australia for FLOW roadshow

It was an absolute delight to have Stella in Australia. A member of the FLOW Board since it was founded in 2014, Stella has been integral to the success and direction, offering her vast experience in the not-for-profit sector whilst running her own NGO Zingela Ulwazi.

We hosted our first presentation in Melbourne, at Loop Space Bar where we met Nha Phuong of UMAPS (University of Melbourne Animal Protection Society) who was touched by our story and very keen for us to present at Melbourne University whilst Stella was here. We presented to a wonderful group of bright eyed passionate students on the 23 March just before Stella left for home.

Our presentation covered the FLOW journey, how Stella and I met at the Global White Lion Protection Trust in Timbavati South Africa, only to discover that we’d been in the same room a few years before when Andrew Harvey (spiritual teacher, author, Rumi translator and founder of Sacred Activism) had presented in South Melbourne. I returned from that talk to look at Harvey’s website and quickly signed up for a workshop being held at the Trust and Stella went on to leave Melbourne to work there.

After my first visit to the Trust in 2011 I had a extraordinary encounter with the lions. On the first morning out, in the crisp morning air in the back of the open air vehicle, where Linda Tucker (CEO and Founder) had expressed that it’s essential that eye gazing with the lions is kept soft and that you remain still and quiet. All I can say is that the meeting was one I’ll never forget. As we turned the corner in the vehicle we surprised the Royal pride who sat bolt upright with one of the young adult males locking eyes with me. Despite all that I was told, I could not remove my eyes from this exquisite being and I started to sob (uncontrollably), trying as hard as I could to not make a noise!

When we returned to camp, that’s when I heard the term canned hunting for the very first time and I can tell you I was outraged. On asking both Linda and Andrew what to do with this rage, as it was something very primal and potent, Andrew looked at me and said these words…“now that you’ve been brought to your knees, in your indignant rage, your despair, your heartbreak. I want you to pull these energies through your passionate heart and go into the world and do something.” How’s that for a call to action?!!!

Our presentation covered the visits with some beautiful images of the white lions, extraordinary footage of them collapsing by the vehicle in a complete love fest! And how the work was informed by these animals. We discussed interspecies communication, working with the Australian Government, how we are all challenged by these universal themes:

  • No tribe but plenty of purpose
  • Being a citizen with heartbreak
  • Compelled to take action

On one of the journeys to South Africa, I met Pippa Hankinson who went on to produce the multi-award winning Blood Lions documentary and campaign that has changed the conservation landscape with regards to Africa’s lions; exposing the unscrupulous industry of captive breeding and canned hunting. Pippa generously introducing Ian Michler to FLOW who mentored and continues to support our work.

Getting the ban on lion trophies was difficult work with opposition from not only the obvious – the hunting community but also fellow advocates with most telling me that I was wasting my time, that the Liberal Government would NEVER pass such a ban. Despite much angst and opposition from a variety of political players, Jason Wood MP and then Environment Minister Greg Hunt stood firm and proceeded with their pledge. The ban announced at Federation Square in March 2015 despite fierce opposition.

Our talk included Stella’s work in South Africa, sharing why multiple sites of power are crucial to a democracy and why a vibrant civil society is critical in providing that. Her work with local communities and schools is powerful and essential, always weaving in conservation.

Thank you to all that attended, we were deeply inspired and touched by the feedback and grateful for your passionate hearts and your loving support. For those that assisted along the way, we thank you for your generous contribution whether it was supplying equipment, being on the door, helping set up – all helped enormously.

Donalea Patman, Founder