France follows Australia in banning lion trophies

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

EU Meetings

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

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

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

Greg Hunt LionAid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Skills of our Children

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

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

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

There is also Walter Sibuyi. 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

What is rich beyond measure in Acornhoek is CULTURE. 

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

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

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

PLEASE DONATE NOW

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Interspecies Communication

Experiencing Interspecies Communication (Africa)

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

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

Animal Spirit Website (Anna Breytenbach)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Anna Breytenbach with sea otter.

 

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

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

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Python crushing a stalk.

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

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

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

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

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

We need your help

Dear friends…we need your help.

We are bringing Ian Michler (conservationist and renowned wildlife journalist and author) to Australia to consult the Govt about the plight of wildlife in Africa and whilst he’s here, we’re hosting a fundraiser to assist with funding an upcoming investigative documentary. Friends in Africa are producing this with Ian, which follows his 15-year long journey to uncover the truth behind the breeding farms and the canned lion hunting industry in South Africa.

Ian Michler speaking

In South Africa, there are approximately 8,000 predators in captivity with lions making up the vast majority. Most live in appalling conditions, with inadequate protocols in place to protect them or regulate their welfare, or the genetic integrity of their blood lines. The breeders of these animals state that they’re breeding lions to preserve the species, to protect them for conservation purposes. However, the bloody truth is that almost all the male lions become victims of the “canned” (captive) hunting industry, a sport where hand reared, tame lions become targets in the sites of lazy hunters, who pay thousands of dollars for the dubious privilege of shooting the king of beasts, in circumstances which are anything but sporting. Cubs are ripped away from their mothers just days after birth to force the lionesses into rapidly repetitive reproductive cycle…. they are simply used as breeding machines, after which their bones are shipped to the Far East to supplement the “tiger wine” industry. This investigative documentary follows the story of Ian Michler, a renowned wildlife journalist, and his 15-year long journey to uncover the truth behindthe breeding farms and the canned lion hunting in South Africa. In his brave and tenacious attempts to show the exploitation and the horrors of these industries he will be confronted with aggressive operators, indifferent government officials and complicit hunters. It’s an emotional ride, but ultimately one that will make a difference. This film will be pivotal in spreading the awareness about the deceit by exposing what really goes on in the cages and behind the fences of over 150 breeding farms in South Africa. In this way, it hopes to bring about change to ensure that canned hunting is CANNED forever. 

If anyone feels inspired to assist with the event, or more importantly, organise donations or feels inspired to donate items that can be raffled or auctioned on the night, it would be so gratefully received.

Event details to be released soon!

Please email fortheloveofwildlife@gmail.com or call Donalea Patman 0417 939 042

 

Ian Michler SAD lion

A lion called Christian

Today is Christian the lion’s birthday. We don’t know a single person who hasn’t heard the story of how two outrageous guys in the 60’s bought a lion from Harrods. In the day when buying an exotic pet was like buying a handbag…thank god you can no longer buy animals from Harrods.

This is a story of love…it’s the love of Christian that took Ace and John through an incredible journey with this beautiful soul.

 

Christian

Ace Bourke and his very dear friend John Rendall arrived in London, fresh from Australia and on the spur of the moment, impulsively bought Christian. It was soon apparent that Christian was growing into a very large sub adult male. quickly outgrowing their Chelsea apartment.

Christian and TV

They spent many years and a lot of money getting Christian back to his ancestral homeland in Kenya. Two documentaries were made about his life in London and his return to the wild and with the help of George Adamson, who created a pride of lions to assist in Christian’s rehabilitation.

Recently the youtube clip of this adventure has gone viral and reignited the popularity of interspecies relationship.

A lion called Christian – full documentary

We’re in contact with Ace Bourke who currently resides in Sydney. He’s raising awareness about the plight of lions throughout the world and how important it is to do what we can to ensure their existence. Ace spends his time writing, speaking and blogging on the importance of this apex predator and how the world will suffer in their demise. He’s as outraged as most about the cruel and horrific industry of canned hunting and how this iconic and unbelievably beautiful beast has been reduced to a mere commodity and factory farmed to be exploited by tourists and end it’s life being hunted.

 

Happy birthday Christian…you’ve captured the hearts of so many, we’ve all fallen in love with you and your beloved pride. We vow that your life meant so much to us and we’ll continue the campaign to stop the horrific industry that reduces your kind to a mere commodity. That we’ll keep waking and shaking the world into action in doing what we can to stop the trade in trophies and lion bones. That we’ll never stop asking governments around the world to stop the trafficking, the exploitation, the harm.

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Thank you Ace and John, and thank you Christian. Sharing your story has opened our hearts and makes us think about how precious you are and how you’re existence meant so much to so many.

Christian and George

 

Stay up to date on Ace Bourke’s website.

Ace Bourke Website