Local MP in Canned Hunting First

Jason Wood MP, the Federal Member who worked with local resident Donalea Patman and her NFP For the Love of Wildlife to create a GLOBAL FIRST. Australia is the first country to ban the importation of lion trophies and body parts as a direct response to the cruel and barbaric industry of canned hunting – months before the death of Cecil.

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Wood will be speaking at this year’s Global March for Lions – Melbourne with Donalea Patman (For the Love of Wildlife), Bruce Poon (Animal Justice Party), Laurie Levy (Coalition Against Duck Shooting) and Lynn Johnson (Breaking the Brand) MC’d by animal loving celebrity Tracy Bartram.

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Starting at Federation Square at 10am walking to City Square where speeches will take place, followed by an exclusive screening of the explosive movie Blood Lions. This film focuses on the work of investigative journalist and conservationist Ian Michler, exposing the links between the cub petting / lion walking tourist attractions and the horrific industry of lions being bred for the bullet.

Tickets for exclusive screening of Blood Lions

Recently Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) withdrew from I’m A Celebrity due to the use and exploitation of a 5 week old lion cub that came from a breeding farm. Network Ten and ITV producers continued to ignore conservation advice using leopard cubs in a following episode with Shane Warne and Val Lehman.

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The purpose of these events which are being hosted around the world is to raise awareness and educate the public about the links between cub petting and canned hunting and to show that these immoral high profit focused operations are of no conservation benefit to Africa’s lions. Celebrity vet Dr Chris Brown was duped just like thousands of tourists and volunteers believing the cub Network Ten sourced was an orphan.

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8000 lions in captivity in around 200 farms just so hunters can get a quick, efficient, cost effective, guaranteed kill. These animals have been hand reared and habituated taken off their mothers a few days after birth, forcing the lioness back into estrus – factory farming the “King of the Jungle”.

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Often drugged or baited, some walking up to the vehicle that has the hunter as they are tame. Some/many of these store bought living trophies suffer sickening wounds for minutes or much longer as shot after shot can be taken to finally claim their beloved and “hard” fought trophy. Lions from these farms can never be returned to the wild as they have lost their fear of humans and genetically impaired due to inbreeding. Wild lion populations are targeted and killed, cubs stolen to reinvigorate the breeding stock of captive breeders. This is a high profit, ego driven Industry where money talks and conservation walks!

 

It is estimated that as few as 15,000 to 20,000 lions are left in the wild, less than rhino. France has followed Australia’s ban with other countries including the UK and EU in talks with major conservation groups.

CACH withdraws from Network Ten’s, I’m a Celebrity

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“I’m a Celebrity” blatantly ignores conservation advice

Network Ten’s Australian TV show “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” engaged in irresponsible scenes exploiting wildlife including a 5 week old white lion cub and three very young leopard cubs.

Dean Geyer, one of the celebrities, nominated CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting) as his charity of choice; one would assume the producers would have engaged in research which would have alerted them to the link between the cub petting industry and canned hunting. Regardless, they went ahead with petting lions and leopards 5 weeks old and less.

When we initially contacted the producers after seeing a 5 week old white lion cub used in one of the challenges, it seemed they had been duped (just like thousands of tourists every year). They were told that the lion cub had been abandoned by its’ mother, that the other two cubs had died, one drowned, and that the cubs were part of a breeding program. We asked which lion ecologist was monitoring this program – no response. We soon discovered that the animal sourcing contractor was given one day to locate a cub even after he said he needed more time.

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On watching the footage we were very concerned to see a cub being exploited in a celebrity challenge with Jo Beth Taylor, using her feet to guess what animal it was. A 5 week old lion cub! It took more than a week for Network Ten to answer our enquiry, and then we were directed to Ben Ulm, ITV Studios in South Africa. We notified them about CACH wishing to withdraw as the use of cubs was absolutely unacceptable, he was worried about Dr Chris Brown’s reputation and insisted that a vet handling a cub is very different to the general public, a redundant argument as there was no veterinary reason for this cub to be handled. In terms of responsible broadcasting, what message does this send to the viewers other than “come to South Africa and play with cubs”?  We were also told we had no right to project our ethical tourism values onto them and that our position is merely philosophical.

It’s very disappointing that Network Ten didn’t do their research but what’s more appalling is that they ignored expert conservation advice. They were well informed and yet chose to then let Shane Warne and Val Lehman engage YET again with three very young leopard cubs, handling, petting and cuddling them in a defiant show of indulgence and support of the petting/canned hunting industry.

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When conservation groups work tirelessly to protect Africa’s wildlife, which includes pointing out that commercial captive breeding and predator interactions make no contribution whatsoever, we find the approach of Ben Ulm, ITV Studios and Network Ten irresponsible and reckless. Ulm was well informed after several calls explaining the link between cub petting, canned hunting and the lion bone trade industries when we discussed CACH’s withdrawal.

Africa’s lions require urgent attention. It’s estimated as few as 20,000 are left in the wild. However, it needs to be understood that breeding lions in captivity and exposing them to commercial exploitation has nothing to do with solving their plight. And the continuous support of the breeding facilities by tourists and television stations simply feeds the cycle of brutality and misinformation.

Australian volunteers and tourists are duped into this conservation CON only to discover that they have unwittingly been part of a process that results in ‘human imprinting’ of lions (and other cats). These animals are mostly not orphans and can never be returned to the wild. When too old to be handled, they are returned to the farmers as breeding stock or are sold online to trophy hunters. Many others are killed for the Asian lion bone trade.

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YES, that cute cub has been bred for the bullet.

The question to ask “where do all these cubs come from and where do they end up”?

It’s also disappointing to see Dr Chris Brown voice his concerns about canned hunting, telling us that the cub he was handling shouldn’t be “petted” while he does precisely that: what these celebrities and Network Ten are endorsing is irresponsible and is directly fuelling the trade of exploitation of endangered animals.

Kirsty Wilson, Sydney Publicity Manager for Network Ten said the lion cub that appeared on the program came from Letaba River Lodge Eco Park. What a misnomer to be calling themselves an Eco Park; what is ecologically sound about breeding predators to be habituated and exploited first for human contact and then for a hunting bullet? Dr Chris Brown stated that the cub was part of a breeding program as white lions are rare – what he doesn’t mention is that this cub will never live a free life in the wild, thanks to his handling of it, and that it therefore cannot contribute to stabilising populations in white lions’ endemic homeland of Timbavati, several hundred kilometres from its breeding facility.  White lions are highly prized by hunters, private collectors, zoos and circuses around the world because of this rarity he speaks of. Where does Dr Brown think these animals destined to be trophies on someone’s wall come from? By handling cubs, this programme and Dr Brown, Shane Warne, Jo Beth Taylor, Val Lehman are endorsing the cycle of exploitation these animals face.

The Australian government took global leadership by banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts (months before the death of Cecil) as a direct response to the cruel and barbaric industry of canned hunting, a global first. Conservationists, lion ecologists and predator scientists have been desperately campaigning the South African Government to regulate the enormous number of captive lions and the increasing business of captive breeding which is now spreading to other countries. Is it too much to expect that at the very least, Australian networks and ‘celebrities’ follow the Australian government’s responsible lead?

And for anyone who’s in doubt, watch the feature documentary Blood Lions. It is an explosive film that lifts the lid off the predator breeding industry and their murky array of exploitative commercial activities focussed on wild animals. What happens when it’s discovered that the cub you have raised as a volunteer or petted as a visitor or ‘celebrity’ ends up as a trophy or it’s bones sold to Asia for the lion bone trade?

To put a stop to these horrific practises, when travelling in South Africa or any place that has captive wild animals, please think before engaging. Resist the urge to handle, cuddle, bottle feed, play, walk or volunteer at places claiming to be doing conservation work if they have animals in cages. Much needed conservation dollars are being channelled by these unscrupulous operators – all part of the conservation con.

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CACH’s official withdrawal

Please be advised that CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting) hereby withdraws from any involvement with the production of Network Ten’s reality TV program “I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here”. In particular, we wish to remove ourselves from your list of potential recipients of prize money. We were very happy to hear that Dean Geyer selected CACH has his charity of choice but we cannot endorse a program that sends out a wrong message to the public – that cub petting is OK.

Our concerns were raised after watching Episode 10, where Jo Beth was participating in the “foot fetish” challenge which involved using a 5 week old white lion cub. Dr Chris Brown shared that the cub was abandoned by it’s mother and that the other cubs had died and it was part of a breeding program due to white lions being critically endangered. He mentioned that it wasn’t part of the canned hunting industry.

It would seem that Network Ten has been duped by the same story told to thousands of gullible tourists and volunteers. Lion farmers/captive lion breeders are astute to hide the ultimate fate of their alternative livestock – canned hunting. This is because cub petting/lion walks etc are such a profitable spin-off from the main purpose:- that of rearing lions to huntable size.

Kirsty Wilson, Sydney Publicity Manager, Network Ten properly advised us that the cub came from Letaba River Lodge Eco Park, SPCA assessed.

Letaba is a commercial breeding operation whose breeding activities have no conservation value.  None of their lions will ever be released back to the wild as part of a natural functioning ecosystem.

The reference to ‘SPCA assessed’ is typical of lion farmers’ public relations.  The NSPCA has no authority to assess for ethics or for involvement in canned hunting.  All the NSPCA can do is to inspect the facility to check that basic animal welfare is being observed; that the water in the camps is clean, permit conditions are being complied with, and such.

Dr Brown and/or the producers need to do their homework before endorsing activities that send such an irresponsible message. White lions are highly prized by hunters, private collectors, zoos and circuses around the world because of this rarity he speaks about. Where does he think these animals come from or end up? By handling cubs, this program and Dr Brown are endorsing the cycle of exploitation these animals face, and undermining our work.

CACH has been internationally recognised for its work in educating the tourism industry not to support any facility that offers cub petting, because of the link between cub petting and canned hunting. You can surely imagine how your program is subversive of the campaign to ban canned lion hunting.

Australia banned the importation of lion trophies and body parts (months before the death of Cecil) as a direct response to the cruel and barbaric industry of canned hunting, a global first.  Is it too much to expect that at the very least, our networks and ‘celebrities’ follow our government’s responsible lead?

Yours faithfully

Chris Mercer and Linda Park, Directors

Campaign Against Canned Hunting, South Africa

 

 

I’m A Celebrity And I’ve Been Duped

Africa’s lions require urgent attention. It’s estimated that as few as 20,000 are left in the wild, breeding them in cages and confined areas as happens in South Africa is not part of the solution as there is absolutely no conservation value.

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Network Ten’s popular Australian TV show “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” are running a programme that includes irresponsible scenes exploiting wildlife including a 5 week old white lion cub.

Have they been duped into believing that the lion cub they used had been abandoned by it’s mother? Apparently. The production team had been told that the other two cubs had died, one drowned. Are they simply being grossly irresponsible in pursuit of viewer ratings?

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Photo Ian Michler

South Africa believes that lions should be taken off the threatened list and this is due to the enormous number of predators in captivity. Canned hunting farms and captive breeders have around 8000 lions in approximately 200 farms. According to the recent statement from the African Lion Working Group (ALWG) posted on the Blood Lions website, “The estimated 8,000 lions in South Africa currently being maintained and bred on game farms as part of this industry should not be included in any assessments of the current status of wild lions. Captive breeding of lions for sport hunting, hunting of captive-bred lion and the associated cub petting industry are not conservation tools.”   

These big cats face enormous pressures as lionesses are treated like breeding machines, cubs removed a few days or weeks after birth which then forces her back into estrus. The cubs are rented out to tourist attractions for “pay and play” or where volunteers get the opportunity to raise these “orphaned” cubs believing they are contributing to CONservation efforts. But as the ALWG says, nothing could be further from the truth.

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It’s also disappointing to see Dr Chris Brown voice his concerns about canned hunting, telling us that the cub he was handling shouldn’t be “petted” yet celebrity Jo Beth was feeling this baby with her feet and also got to handle it. A 5 week old baby!  What these celebrities and Network Ten are doing is irresponsible. Baby crocs with their jaws tied shut?! What message does this send to their viewers?

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We’ve been told that the lion cub that appeared on the program came from Letaba River Lodge Eco Park. What a misnomer to be calling themselves an Eco Park; what is ecologically sound about breeding predators to be habituated and exploited? Dr Chris Brown stated that the cub was part of a breeding program as white lions are rare but what benefit does this cub offer wild lion populations who are endemic to the Timbavati area?

Dr Brown and the producers needs to do thorough research before they participate in activities that send an irresponsible message. If they had, they would have known that white lions are highly prized by hunters, private collectors, zoos and circuses around the world because of this rarity he speaks about. Where does he think these animals come from and end up? By handling cubs, this programme and Dr Brown are endorsing the cycle of exploitation these animals face.

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Australia banned the importation of lion trophies and body parts (months before the death of Cecil) as a direct response to the cruel and barbaric industry of canned hunting, a global first. Conservationists, lion ecologists and predator scientists have been desperately campaigning the South African Government to regulate the enormous number of captive lions and the increasing business of captive breeding which is now spreading to other countries. Is it too much to expect that at the very least, Australian networks and ‘celebrities’ follow the government’s responsible lead?

And for anyone who’s in doubt, watch the feature documentary Blood Lions.

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It is an explosive film that lifts the lid on the predator breeding industry and their murky array of exploitative commercial activities. What happens when it’s discovered that the cub you have raised as a volunteer or petted as a visitor or ‘celebrity’ ends up as a trophy or it’s bones sold to Asia for the lion bone trade?

It’s very disappointing that Network Ten didn’t do their research given that celebrity Dean Geyer has made Campaign Against Canned Hunting his designated charity.

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To put a stop to these horrific practises, when travelling in South Africa or any place that has captive animals, please think before engaging. Resist the urge to handle, cuddle, bottle feed, play, walk or volunteer. Much needed conservation dollars are being channeled by these unscrupulous operators – all part of the conservation con.

Changing the Landscape for Africa’s Lions

Canadian freelance journalist Jacalyn Beales features the following blog on her page “Out of Wilderness”.

 

Donalea Patman, Founder of Australian-based NPO and registered charity For the Love of Wildlife, stops by out of wilderness to discuss her crucial role in Australia’s world-renowned stand against lion exploitation and how she first got started advocating for Africa’s lions. 

The past 18 months have been remarkable. As most would know, I campaigned my local MP to create a global first. Australia announced in March, 2015 that it would ban the importation of lion trophies and body parts…well before the death of Cecil. France has recently done the same.

How this came about is because I believed and trusted my guidance. Scientists will scoff, trophy hunters will tell you I’m crazy, politicians will say I’m not a normal activist…and they’re right. I don’t fit any particular mold.

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Donalea Patman, pictured here MCing the event which saw Australia’s Environmental Minister, Greg Hunt, announcing the immediate ban on lion trophies & body parts (Federation Square, Melbourne – March, 2015)

I’ve always deeply loved and spoken up for nature and animals. Even as a little girl, while on a family holiday off the Western Australian coast, my father and his friend decided to ride the turtles. I wept and told them that they were “interfering with nature.” I was born with an innate sense of justice and I’ve been fierce in that.

“A spiritual traveller, questing for deeper meaning and purpose, but never dreaming I’d find myself working on wildlife issues, assisting the Australian Government. ”

What ignited my heart and a love for Africa was attending a workshop at the Global White Lion Protection Trust in Timbavati, South Africa – hosted by Linda Tucker, the Trust’s founder, and Andrew Harvey, author and Sacred Activist teacher. The first morning out we surprised the Royal Pride, the founding family of white lions of this project; they sat bolt upright and engaged. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the immense beauty and presence of these magnificent white lions. I’d never seen nor imagined anything like it. But what was pivotal was that one of the young males locked eyes with me and I was pierced through, my heart broken wide open.

Back at camp, Linda talked about the threats facing Africa’s lions, and specifically white lions, as they are targeted by trophy hunters, obviously because of their stunning beauty and high trophy value. She also described the horrors of canned hunting (which I’d never heard of) and to say that I was white with rage is to put it lightly. In my disgust and despair, Andrew Harvey looked at me and said something along the lines of, “Now that you’ve been brought to your knees by your righteous indignation, your rage, your disbelief and sorrow, I want you to take that heartbreak and turn it into passionate action fuelled and informed by your heart.”

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I returned to Australia, sharing what I knew about the plight of Africa’s lions, signing petitions and the like. [In] December, 2012 (and many know the significance of that date) I was again at the Global White Lion Trust for a gathering of people from around the world, including Pippa Hankinson – her history in conservation, specifically lions, led her to produce the recently released film on canned hunting, Blood Lions. We left Timbavati knowing we had to do more and get very serious about it.

“On these early trips it became blatantly obvious that Africa, and more specifically her wildlife, is under siege as wildlife is intensely commodified. I needed to contribute, I needed to do something! ”

I’ve attended workshops with people like Anna Breytenbach (interspecies communication), Jon Young (deep nature connection), Alwyn Myberg (bird language) and one thing is for sure, we better well start listening (deeply) to nature if we’re to stop the race to extinction.

Should conservation be the responsibility of conservationists only, and if so, why are so many species facing extinction? Is it the responsibility of scientists, activists, ecologists or governments? Whilst all are absolutely necessary, and I am so very grateful to those that work in these incredibly confronting and challenging fields, I accomplished something that, even in the week leading up to the announcement, was declared impossible.

I have a background in design, and a few years back attended a government led workshop where designers were engaged by big business. Creatives see what others don’t – musicians, poets, writers, artists…we view the world differently. Bring those eyes into an organization or a problem and hey, opportunities, possibilities, ideas are uncovered which are often overlooked because everyone is busy getting the day to day done.

I’m testament that the old rules of engagement don’t necessarily apply. We need creative partnerships – to think outside the usual constructs and safe zones if we’re to manifest radical, passionate action which cuts through old limitations and just maybe, create a bit of magic. We don’t have time for further reporting or consultation – it’s been done to death and we’re losing our wildlife because of the human, bureaucratic process.

I navigated the work with the Federal Government as it presented – no training or experience in strategy, conservation or policy and certainly no attachment to outcome, just being courageous and being prepared to learn along the way. I know I was guided once Icompletely committed to the process and I was blessed to have Ian Michler (Blood Lions) and Pippa Hankinson mentor me.

A great initiative that is currently brewing is listing lions as a World Heritage Species – it’s brilliant and necessary. But of course, we are in this predicament because we haven’t been able to stay connected to nature; we have forgotten that, intrinsically, we are part of the web of life.

Wildlife belongs to the planet, not to any government, individual, organization, corporate or group – animals have a right to exist, on their ancestral or endemic homelands as part of their specific ecosystems and the greater ecology. Commoditising wildlife will be our undoing.

Moving species to other countries to save them, to live in captivity, is not conservation, it’s desperation. In certain instances, it’s a bid to use an old paradigm to mask lucrative wildlife trade. We’re on dangerous ground when we continue to mess with the natural order of things. It’s time to drop our arrogance and allow nature to inform us, and we must return to our rightful place as guardians – not gods.

We are racing extinction and the truth is, if the animals go, so do we. What I ask myself everyday is “what am I going to do about it?” We all having something unique and practical to contribute.

“I don’t know how to save the world. I don’t have the answers or THE answer. I hold no secret knowledge as to how to fix the mistakes of generations past and present. I only know that without compassion and respect for all of Earth’s inhabitants, none of us will survive, nor will we deserve to. ”

— Leonard Peltier

 

For the Love of Wildlife invites you on our 2016 African Tour that invigorates your relationship with the living earth and your wild soul. Stella Horgan, Ruth Underwood and Donalea Patman will guide a conscious safari, different from other tours, as with our approach to and experience in nature, we believe in deep immersion and even deeper respect; that as we are humble, nature reveals herself. This is not about watching wildlife through the lens of a camera, or from afar: we want you to feel her under your skin. To experience the subtleties and patterns, to be a sacred witness to whatever is revealed, to be absolutely, exhilaratingly present.

For further information on the African expedition, please get in touch with For the Love of Wildlife by sending your inquiry to: fortheloveofwildlife@gmail.com

IFAW honours Australians for commitment to lion conservation in Africa

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Donalea Patman, Founder of For the Love of Wildlife with the award presented by Matthew Collis, IFAW and Jason Wood MP with his daughter Jasmine.

IFAW honors Australians for commitment to lion conservation in Africa 

by Simon Bloch, Durban

Two Australians have been honoured by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for their commitment to lion conservation.

In a ceremony Down Under yesterday (Tuesday) Donalea Patman, founder of For the Love of Wildlife, an Australian NGO, and Jason Wood, Federal MP for La Trobe,  were lauded for their campaign to end South Africa’s legal practice of hunting captive-raised lions (known as canned hunting).

In February 2015, Australian Environment minister Greg Hunt enacted legislation prohibiting the import of lion trophies and their body parts to Australia.

This was four months before American dentist and cross-bow hunter Walter James Palmer sparked international outrage when he killed Zimbabwe’s wildlife icon, Cecil the Lion.

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Presenting their IFAW Policy and Advocacy Animal Heroes awards, Mathew Collis, IFAW’s organisation’s Campaigns and Policy manager, said:

“Donalea worked tirelessly with her local MP, Jason Wood, to raise awareness about trophy hunters bringing the body parts of lions into Australia.

“With the help of internationally respected conservationist and film–maker Ian Michler (Blood Lions) Donalea and Jason were the driving force behind the federal government’s historic decision to ban the import of lion trophies.

“The ban reflects the Australian public’s abhorrence of canned hunting in which lions raised in captivity are hunted with no fair chance of escape. By banning the importation of lion trophies, Australia is no longer complicit in the cruelty of canned hunting” he added.

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Patman said she was humbled to have been recognised by IFAW.

“I don’t do my work for awards, I do it because I believe Africa’s wildlife is under siege. I’m incredibly honoured” she said.

“Miss Patman has undertaken remarkable work to protect endangered wildlife, and I applaud her commitment” Jason Wood said.

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.

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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.

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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