Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Tigers at the entrance to Boskoppies

I’ve been back from Africa for weeks now. I find myself stalling, not finding it easy to write this update and my apologies to you as I know you are keen to know the progress of our work. 

I’ve visited places and met people who I’d prefer never to have crossed paths with.

The trip to Africa in February and March this year was made possible by NSW MP Mark Pearson, who had been given a grant for a research tour/fact-finding trip, thanks to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association of Australia.

With the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the years with steering For the Love of Wildlife, with our focus on the industrial-scale farming of lions, canned hunting, lion bone trade and the farming of endangered species, I was asked to help put together a fact-finding trip for South Africa. Mark has been in the NSW Upper House for the past 8 years and attended the screening of Blood Lions in Sydney some years before.

As many of you know, For the Love of Wildlife’s work resulted in Australia taking a solid and firm stand in 2015 when former Environment Minister Greg Hunt banned the importation of lion trophies and body parts, the first country to do so, followed by France and the Netherlands, with the US implementing strict import laws.

I was invited to accompany Mark on this trip, introducing him to stakeholders on both sides of the lion/predator, wildlife/endangered species farming, associated businesses such as taxidermy and outfitters, professional hunters and those in the conservation space, sanctuaries, and government.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Separated from its mother a few days or a few weeks after birth.

The South African Government has committed to closing down lion farming, after years of community, conservation and industry consultation and brilliant campaigning by Blood Lions and many others.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous individuals who are undermining the progress, ensuring this will be slow and drawn out.

Arriving in Johannesburg (J’burg) in mid-February, Mark and I intended to meet with the government at the beginning of the trip. Despite best efforts, it was obvious they weren’t keen to meet with us and we used this first week to meet with lion breeders and hunting groups, keen to understand what drives them in keeping their industry alive despite global outrage and the impact their industry has on South Africa’s brand.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Our first meeting was with the newly appointed head of SAPA (South African Predator Association) Hans Wessels. A two-hour drive from J’burg to meet on his property. I was driving and missed the entrance and had to stop further up the road, looking in the rear vision mirror I watched several large SUV’s driving into the same driveway…. Both Mark and I knew that we weren’t meeting Hans alone! I didn’t use my name in the meeting and was introduced as Mark’s assistant, knowing that it was very risky for me to be there as I was the woman who had started the downturn in their profitable business.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

The meeting began nervously, sitting opposite khaki-clad men with large logos of the organisations they represented….WRSA (Wildlife Ranching South Africa), SUCO (Sustainable Use Coalition South Africa), CHASA (Confederation of Hunting Associations of South Africa), SAPA (South African Predator Association), and others. It felt like we were sitting with Formula One drivers given the branding littering their epaulettes and pockets.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

After two hours of discussion, most of it contradictory, we were then driven in an open safari vehicle to look at Wessels animals. Everyone came for the long drive, which again made us incredibly nervous…would anyone find us if we disappeared?!!! Wessel’s property consists of thousands of camping and caravan sites, lodges, campgrounds, and accommodations including rondavels through to enormous houses, the property was over hundreds and hundreds of acres.

Hans proudly walked us through his “sanctuary” where he has many big cats and of course, the narrative is that they are all rescues. Tigers from a recent Bollywood movie, others saved from snares, many with cubs despite Wessels telling us he was steralising his big cats as he wasn’t sure of the future given the government’s commitment in closing down lion farming. He wasn’t keen to show us the lion breeding facility. These animals were obviously tame as he only had to call their names and they’d be up against the fence.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific


We made our exit after four hours with them, very keen to get back to J’burg. The parting words to Mark were “any decision made by Australia, however small, can have a dire impact on the industry so think very carefully and consider the implications before acting”. A warning?

Some of what we were told:

  • International hunters are essential to ensure profitability – South African hunters only interested in animals they can eat and can’t afford the big bucks international trophy hunters pay
  • 9 provinces (in Australia we’d refer to States and Territories) have their own regulations within South Africa in regard to lion farming and hunting
  • Promoting whole ecosystems approach yet a farm will ask a professional hunter to kill everything on the property and restock with an animal that is more lucrative/higher value
  • Animal welfare isn’t considered in regards to wildlife, not falling under any current legislation – agriculture or environment?
  • “If an animal is stressed it won’t reproduce” is the guiding principle of a successful farm and how animal welfare is determined
  • The media has focused on one or two unscrupulous operators who aren’t SAPA members
  • Farmers will only farm what is valuable
  • SAPA has 360 lion farmers as members
  • A representative from the government must attend every lion hunt
  • Outfitters/professional hunters must keep a register – a record of the value trail and what the hunter takes home
  • Meat from hunting is used at the source and given to local communities
  • eCITES being implemented for App II listed species 1 April 2023
  • Part of a research trial as to whether captive lions can be released/rewilded has been carried out with captive lions taking 14 days before bringing down a kill
  • Believe in the 3 P’s – people, planet, profit
  • 2016 CITES CoP was an onslaught against captive lion breeders despite the demand for hunting lions ever increasing
  • 600-800 lions hunted annually – urged Minister at CITES CoP to save the industry and set a quota, thereby overturning the global outcry to shut them down
  • Bone farming developed because of the USA ban and is necessary to keep the industry alive
  • Large NGO told hunters not to worry about hunting rhinos as China will be farming their own wildlife soon

Other revenue for farmers include:

photographic tourism
game drives
meat production

On the following days in J’burg, we visited a lion farm that had a tourist component where they also offered cub petting – we had to see for ourselves. I’ve personally never been to one of these places, having seen horrific pics and sad stories from volunteers and friends of mine.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Boskoppies tour

We ventured out to Boskoppies, another two-hour drive in the other direction to Wessel’s property and found the place deserted. We had to call and call to have someone meet us despite calling to make sure they were open. What we witnessed will haunt me for a long time.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

The filth of the enclosure is sickening – look at the water.

Lions and tigers are kept together, with cross-breeding making for larger and heavier bones, which means more $ for the breeders.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

So many in one enclosure

Lions and tigers of varying ages, are kept in large numbers in small enclosures. Lion and tiger cubs in filthy, unattractive, hot enclosures are available for the public to handle and play with. All of the babies had sores on them, were in such poor condition and were huddled together for comfort. One little white tiger wasn’t having a bar of us and bit me on the calf and bit Mark on his …..!

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Terrified cub with fresh cuts on its face – my heart breaks for these wild babies.

Another tiny little cub kept in what looked like an aviary, fresh cuts on its face and hissing and spitting like the cornered wild animal that it is. So terrified and alone – my heart breaking to witness such cruelty.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Forced out of the group, she awaits her fate.

We were shown around the farm, hundreds of lions and tigers fighting over the last remains of cow or horse carcasses. One lioness in the corner of an enclosure, on high alert, as she had been expelled from the pack and was waiting her fate. All of the cats were under high stress given the environments they were living in.

We walked past a killing shed, told it was for cow and horse carcasses to feed lions and tigers, but I felt something far more sinister…is this where they processed lions and tigers for their bones? The guide was certainly nervous about the pics I was taking. The carcasses that are fed to the lions and tigers are whole.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Can’t buy the story that these are for processing their food. Feels more like a processing area for the bone trade.

Then back to the entrance where we saw three tiger cubs covered in mange. Filthy, thick green sludge their drinking water and again, how not to break down and rage at the perpetrators of such negligence and cruelty. Shaking, we drove back to J’burg.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

I reported what we’d seen to the authorities, knowing this is one of the hundreds that operate like this.

We left J’burg and headed to Hoedspruit and then to Kruger, essential to show Mark what a complete, healthy ecosystem looks like in South Africa.

Driving hours to get to the Kruger Gate, at the tail end of the recent cyclone with roads closed and lodges impacted by the rains. To see rivers at full capacity and running wild was quite something. 

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

On one of our game drives, we watched a hyena, who used a low-lying bridge as her normal crossing, stand on the shore and deliberate as to whether a crossing would be safe or not. Some of our game drives were in torrential rain but we saw extraordinary wildlife and had unbelievable encounters.
Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Lions, leopards, leopards, leopards and so many others…heaven!

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

After a couple of days in Kruger we made sure to visit Stella Horgan’s incredible project in Acornhoek. Stella is a Director of For the Love of Wildlife and has created Permaculture Explorers and a Centre for Women’s Independence, where some of you have generously contributed to building the purpose-built centre for self-defence. Women in this area face incredible hardship with water and food security an ongoing issue and violence an everyday threat.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Women who lacked a voice or any capacity to stand up for themselves are now changing the community in very real ways. Self-defence to fight off attacks and say “enough is enough” which is the name of the work being done “Sekwanele”.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Mark speaking to TryGive Nxumalo who runs the permaculture project.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrificBreeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

These projects are incredibly difficult, in places where the municipality cut off water for up to 3 months and yet the spirit of community and the strength of Stella’s commitment shines through. If you feel inspired to contribute, you can donate here:

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

At the permaculture gardens, more than 300 children are fed every day as well as businesses that are created, where produce is sold to local communities.

We then flew to the coast into Port Elizabeth where we were met by Ian Michler who drove us to Addo to visit the elephants and update us on his work. Ian was the first to blow open the lion breeding industry decades ago when the Cooke Report exposed predator breeders, canned hunting and the selling of lion bones. His work covers decades and with the launch of the Blood Lions campaign, thanks to the courageous work of Pippa Hankinson, he continues to consult large NGOs and conservation groups, training rangers across the globe. Ian has always generously informed our work, educating me in the conservation space and coming to Australia to assist with the Australian Government.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Port Elizabeth

In Addo, we had extraordinary encounters with elephants, seeing hundreds of them wallowing in mud, babies walking close to our vehicle with black back jackals, eland, and other beauties making appearances. A beautiful time to reconnect and be informed by wildlife.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

A young elephant in Addo Elephant Nature Reserve.

Next stop Plettenberg Bay where we met with Joan Berning and her daughter to hear about the work of Eden to Addo. Joan is committed to making sure the last Knysna (an area along the Garden Route) elephant can find her way to Addo elephant reserve by getting land owners to put aside land for wildlife, creating corridors for safe passage for not only elephants but leopards and a raft of other wildlife that have lost connection due to development and agriculture. Joan shared that the last elephant will not cross any of the new paths that are created for walking or bike riding so her area is becoming smaller and smaller (they monitor her with hidden cameras).

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

L-R: Louise de Waal and Pippa Hankinson of Blood Lions and Donalea Patman.

A day in Plettenberg Bay and onto Hermanus to meet with Dr Louise de Waal and Pippa Hankinson of Blood Lions. Pippa and I met back in 2012 and have been very close since we met as we both committed to doing more for Africa’s lions. Pippa’s documentary and campaign have gone from being ignored by the government to Blood Lions now being the lead consultants in this arena, consulting with the government on ways to transition and eradicate this vile industry. Pippa has been relentless, putting herself at great risk – personally and financially and full credit to her for turning the government into committing to closing down this industry. With Louise, the two of them are formidable and will ensure this industry collapses.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Visiting Panthera.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

A black leopard rescued from a breeding farm – sitting in the rain!

Louise took us to see the wonderful work of Panthera Africa, a true sanctuary where they house rescued big cats from the breeding mills. When you’re visiting places in South Africa, know that a true sanctuary will never let the public engage with the animals – no feeding, petting, walking or riding them. Don’t be fooled by the con artists and unscrupulous operators who willingly take money from tourists and volunteers to participate in the cycle of supply.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Cape Town

To complete the fact-finding trip, we finish in Cape Town where we finally get to meet with representatives from the government.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Mark and I met with members of the South African government who were meeting us on behalf of the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy. It wasn’t one of the easiest meetings I’ve attended but we were able to discuss some of the issues with closing down the lion farming. As a member of the Commonwealth, they seemed uncomfortable that Mark was wanting information to report back to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and did ask a few times if they could see the report before it is published.

They confirmed that hunting groups and breeders are influencing and advising members of the government, especially those in the scientific body.

We shared that in our meetings with the breeders that they had bragged about being able to export lions to the US as they’d found a loophole. The government’s response was they must be exporting live animals! What? How? Why?

The South African government hasn’t set a quota for lion exports since 2016 and therefore no lion body parts could or should be exported. Ummmm…then why are these farms still breeding? We asked if they could please explain where all the lions/tigers go. No response but a wide-eyed look like deer in headlights!

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Mark and I in front of the building which has been burnt out.

The government continues to work with all stakeholders (hunters and breeders are their friends!) as they wish to alleviate being sued (good luck with that!). It does seem that the government will not be ending lion farming anytime soon, dragging its heels (probably hoping that the next Environment Minister will be more sympathetic to the industry).

We discussed animal welfare as Mark is well versed in this space, and were told that the Dept of Environment doesn’t address animal welfare – it is not considered, but is now including animal wellbeing. When asked what that means, they couldn’t answer!

Some of what we learnt:

  • Hunting rhino is allowed in the range states – export of rhinos for exhibition purposes only (live species to zoos)
  • Only an animal that is 7 years old or older can be hunted
  • Anyone farming wildlife must keep stud books with the department examining records, and export of any animal must include a DNA profile paid for and carried out by the owner
  • The government issues 21,000 permits a year covering 200 species (mostly crocs and parrots).
  • Launched CIPS (electronic permitting system) on 1 April 2023
  • The wildlife forum is held quarterly with hunting groups (closed meetings)
  • A member of the department must attend a lion hunt (hunting season March – July and they employ extra personnel for that period)
  • Robust and solid regulations
  • Many locations where stockpiles of rhino horn are kept

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

In regards to lion farming:

  • The industry began organically with people rescuing lions and saw the opportunity to make a profit
  • The sector grew from this with lion breeding, captive hunting, cub petting
  • Criminals became involved and created canned hunting – despite the terrible media, nobody has been able to provide the government with evidence to convict those criminals so they cannot prosecute
  • No lion quota has been set for the past 4 years – no lion parts or derivatives can be exported
  • Newborn cubs must be registered with the department
  • Each province knows how many facilities and how many lions there are
  • Tigers aren’t included in closing the industry as they are exotics

Approximately 400 lion facilities which include:

  • Petting zoos
  • Sanctuaries
  • Farms
  • Tourism facilities
  • Private concessions

The government wants to repurpose the industry to make sure employees are looked after, the lions are considered and a range of options are on the table.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

What is certain (credit Don Pinnock):

  • There is no conservation benefit to captive breeding of lions or the lion bone trade;
  • The captive lion industry is damaging to South Africa’s image as a conservation leader and poses a substantial risk to our tourism industry;
  • The use of lion bones and body parts and derivatives for traditional medicine is one of the major threats to wild lions and serves as a cover for illegally wild-sourced lion and other big cat parts;
  • There’s a general abhorrence of the industry across multiple sectors including animal welfare, animal rights, conservation and hunting organisations which echo the South African public sentiment.

Read more here:

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Mark Pearson with Shadow Environment Minister David Bryant.

The government expects international help to transition the industry (why can’t the sector who have profited for decades pay?). They seek funding to pay for euthanising, retiring and sterilising 10,000 or more lions.

Government is currently working on a game meat strategy that includes 25 species that are in plentiful supply in South Africa like eland, kudu, impala, etc. They are also aware of the global anti-hunting sentiment and are conscious they need to transition.
Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

L to R: Mark Pearson, Donalea Patman, John Steenhuisen and David Bryant.

The following day we met with Shadow Environment Minister David Bryant who invited us to Parliament and on the tour, shocked to see a large part of Parliament had been burnt down. A homeless person managed to enter and light a fire to keep himself warm, taking out one of the historic buildings and apparently, the enormous wine collection kept under the building.

David is in full support of closing down predator breeding and works closely with Minister Barbara Creecy but does expect it will take another three years. We shared our findings and what we were told by the industry especially that members of the government and Scientific Authority were in bed with the hunting industry.

The biggest issue for the government he believes, is the poaching crisis with nowhere near enough rangers to assist with the porous borders of Kruger, including corrupt officials in SANParks who manage Kruger. Abalone theft and succulents are also of grave concern – abalone dried and shipped to China. In regards to lion farmers, he said they are challenging the newly introduced term “well-being”. And we haven’t even discussed zoonotic diseases!

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Anthony Mitchell, Chief of Staff for Narend Singh, Donalea Patman and Mark Pearson.

Mark and I then met with Anthony Mitchell, Chief of Staff to Narend Singh of the Inkatha Freedom Party who fully supports the closure of this dirty industry and were part of the very first protests against “canned hunting”. We again shared what we’d learnt from stakeholders we’d met, hoping it assists in fast-tracking the process. He shared innovation and technology to deal with crime and trafficking with the issue of training people in being able to use it.

To finish our trip, we met with Dr Ross Harvey of Good Governance Africa who is a wildlife economist with a PhD in economics. He told us there is no wild lion hunting in South Africa, it is all done on private reserves, that private conservation is not working, and corruption seeping into the hunting business model.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Elephants crossing the Oliphants River, Kruger.

We learnt from Ross a great deal in regards to elephants like there’s no such thing as a surplus bull (or no longer reproductive male) which is the tale told by hunters. Breeding amongst elephants is very balanced and an old bull keeps the young males in line, teaching them how to behave and suppressing the musth in younger elephants. If there’s an old bull younger males will not crop raid, for example, and they keep the matriarchal herds intact. 40-55-year-olds are the best breeding years for elephants. Creating corridors for wildlife will help alleviate the human/animal conflict. Hunting also does not reduce the human/animal conflict – removing males from the system is problematic.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Leopard at Boskoppies.

He knows of hunters baiting animals out of wildlife reserves such as Kruger (we all know the story of Walter Palmer who lured Cecil out of Hwange National Park) with a young lion recently lured out of Kruger and shot.   

He challenges the “fair chase” rhetoric as key stock is removed by hunting (no hunter wants an old scraggy animal). This is not conservation as taking out keystone animals impacts the genetics. There are fewer big tuskers as they’ve almost all been shot.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Elephant museum in Kruger Park at Letaba Rest Camp. Tragic that these giants no longer walk the earth.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

For the Love of Wildlife Director Stella Horgan.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Ross states that the government does not have good processes in place – with little data or detailed information available. You can read more here.

In regards to job creation (again, a tale told by hunters), there are approximately 1200 jobs with employees being subjected to dangerous conditions. It’s all about making money under false pretences with volunteers paying to work – it’s misleading and dishonest

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Crates for transporting lions and tigers.

A lion carcass for the bone trade is around $1500 a skeleton. Whilst this industry continues, wild lions will continue to be poached.

He makes a very strong point that demand reduction campaigns cannot work if the stockpiles in South Africa continue to grow (ie ivory, rhino horn, lion/tiger bones) sending a clear message that “South Africa is open for business”. Ross is clear that South Africa must stop stockpiling and cease breeding which tells the East that South Africa is no longer open for business.

We discovered during our travels that lion cake is another product that is exported with a recent investigation finding lion bone, opium, macaque monkey, turtle shell and mountain goat antler.

Whilst in South Africa, great news from the UK who have committed to banning hunting trophy imports.

Reflecting on this trip, lion farming is just one species. When you consider just how enormous the legal trade in endangered species is, one of the most lucrative trades in the world, how many animals must be suffering. How vulnerable are humans to zoonotic diseases? The trade mechanism to monitor and regulate this vast trade hasn’t been modernised since the 70s and needs a massive overhaul – if this is of interest to you, please look into the work of Nature Needs More.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

I’ve been profoundly impacted by this trip. One, because I’d vowed never to step foot on a lion farm and two, I hoped I would never have to meet hunters who shoot lions. Despite this, I’ve learnt an enormous amount from this trip but the depths to which this industry will go to protect their profiteering and abusive practices is mind-blowing.

I’m grateful to Mark for the opportunity to be in South Africa with him and trust he can use this knowledge to make significant changes. He’s witnessed animal exploitation, cruelty and abhorrent abuse of wildlife, heard the lies and seen the corruption.

We must put an end to this cruel and barbaric industry, and end the trade in endangered species. We are in an extinction crisis, and biodiversity loss is an enormous threat to us all.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

I stayed on in South Africa to spend time with Stella Horgan so we could map and plan our work for the coming months and years.

Breeding lions for their bones is brutal and horrific

Support the work we do and please give generously so we can finish the job!

Global Rewilding Day 2022

Global Rewilding Day 2022

The world is changing dramatically. Shocking to witness the war in Ukraine and the catastrophic storms and flooding on the east coast of Australia whilst covid and other viruses continue to challenge us daily.

It’s a difficult time and the past two years challenging, especially here in Victoria where we’ve had continual lockdowns to deal with Covid.

Biodiversity loss is a crisis around the world and yet there’s very little attention by governments in Australia, preferring to prop up industries that continue the annihilation, seemingly ignoring the reports from the World Economic Forum and the IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report ranks two nature risks – biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse – as among the top five economic risks for this decade. $44 trillion, more than half of the world’s total gross domestic product, is moderately or highly dependent on nature.

Today is Global Rewilding Day. Unfortunately, not a day to celebrate. For the Love of Wildlife has always and will continue to champion wildlife and wilderness, proud partners of The Rewilding Global Alliance in our mission to give space back to wildlife and returning wildlife back to the land and seas. The mass recovery of ecosystems and the life-supporting functions they provide, allowing natural processes to shape whole ecosystems so that they work in all their colourful complexity to give life to the land and the seas.

“To restore stability to our planet, we must restore its biodiversity, the very thing that we’ve removed.  It’s the only way out of this crisis we’ve created – we must rewild the world.”

Sir David Attenborough

Helping nature heal itself is how we heal ourselves. Human health is inextricably linked to ecological health, rewilding strengthens the web of life, stabilising the climate emergency. It’s all about ecological justice and respectful relationship with nature.

Global Rewilding Day 2022

Small marsupial found in Western Australia.

We’re excited to be part of The Quenda project with our partners in Western Australia.

The Quenda is a small, native Australian mammal that digs small pits whilst looking for food. It’s also the name of an Australian remote, autonomous, ‘Mars’ rover style vehicle that mimics the Quenda by digging micro pits, sampling the soil and surveying the environment in one action.

As partners of the Global Rewilding Alliance, we’re looking forward to putting Australia on the map in regenerating degraded landscapes. For more information, click the logo.

Global Rewilding Day 2022

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong – impacts wildlife

Australia has suffered extreme weather events and we are still recovering from the horrific bushfires which saw over 3 billion animals killed. Just over a month ago, Victoria (and other parts of Australia) were hit with unprecedented storms. So many houses and cars totalled by falling trees and incredible that nobody lost their lives. Massive losses to habitat and wildlife with so many trees down – it looked like a war zone for days after.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

What was incredulous was the time it took for anyone to really understand the gravity of the situation and the delays in getting help. What emerged was something quite stunning, a community united with deep connections formed and a display of generous, open-heartedness; remarkable people stepping up and filling the void. It leaves you feeling extraordinarily proud and humbled to be part of this beautiful mountain community.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Watch news report and video here on 9 News Melbourne

With the enormous loss of critical habitat, wildlife is requiring our help and why we chose to take action for frontline carers. Despite the millions raised after the bushfires, what is evident is that carers at the coal face have been forgotten and left to deal with the increasing number of animals requiring care. Whilst For the Love of Wildlife predominantly works at a policy level, we couldn’t let these small shelters go without help.

Thanks to YOU, our friends and supporters, we set up a GoFundMe page and at the time of posting this blog, we have raised a whopping $3,200! This money will go to new enclosures, feed and vet bills as the ever increasing number of animals requiring help continues. We’d also like to thank our friends at Humane Society International Australia who have also helped with funding.

The generosity of this community has been overwhelming and there’s a heap of gorgeous souls we need to thank including:

FLOWildlife member Jennifer Fernandes who met with Barry and Helen McIlwaine, Knox School Falcon Philanthropy Group about the need for a quad bike which resulted in this bike being gifted to Nell Pedzik of Wild Paws Wildlife Shelter in Monbulk, Victoria.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Corinne Sukroo from Bell Real Estate in Olinda was contacted about the women desperately needing a generator so that humidicribs weren’t without power and water supply was not interrupted (they are on a pump) to be able to keep the infants warm and heat their bottles. Despite all the help she’s given to the local community, Corinne didn’t hesitate for a second to supply a brand new generator as well as other necessary items. Thanks to Trevor Bell for collecting old quad and dropping off for sale.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Louise Black, Bayside Community Emergency Relief made a special trip to drop off much need pouches which Nicola Rain of Amaroo Wildlife Shelter is putting to good use for all the babies she’s caring for. Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Long time supporter and FLOWildlife member Stephen Powell who will fix a couple of the aviaries which house sugar gliders and possums.

Another FLOWildlife member Dr Anne Small who donated teff and hay for the wombats that had their burrows flooded during the storms (and still being flooded!). Dr Anne also donated fuel containers, power cords and other items to storm impacted residents.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Andrew Fillip-Gautier of The Philanthropic Collective – Free Food Program is also generously assisting with ongoing food supplies for both carers and wombies!

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Babies not sure what’s going on after their burrows were flooded.

Both of these shelters are currently caring for sugar gliders, all varieties of possums, wombats and so many more. Wombats are usually in care for up to two years before they can be released to the wild and they have ten in care to date.

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Usually in hibernation this time of the year, this little one was found lying on the ground next to a fallen tree.

We’re so pleased to have helped with getting their story out into the world and thrilled they appeared in Ranges Trader Star Mail and also Sunday Age with them appearing on the cover (and that was the same day Ash Barty won the tennis – wildlife wins!).

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife
Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

Catastrophic storms hit Mt Dandenong - impacts wildlife

THANK YOU dear friends for all your loving support – the generosity has been overwhelming and so gratefully received. If we’ve missed anyone, so sorry but know that your kindness has made a very real different.

GoFundMe campaign is still open so please share with friends as wildlife needs all the help it can get.

Time to end the use of 1080 in Australia

Time to end the use of 1080 in Australia

Please help stop the unbearable suffering caused by the use of 1080 poison. There are humane options available but the lack of investment and addiction to using it “because we’ve always used it” is no longer acceptable.

Working with Alex Vince, Ban 1080 Poison campaign director, who is a wealth of information and also the driver behind Blue Mountains Council banning its use, has made us aware of just how many companion animals and wildlife are also succumbing to cruel deaths.

Time to end the use of 1080 in Australia

What to do if you suspect a pet has ingested 1080 poison.

The letter to council is below and we call on anyone who lives in the Yarra Ranges Shire or Knox Council to add your name to the letter by emailing us at
If you live elsewhere and wish to contact your council, please feel free to use this letter as a template.



Letter to council (please feel free to use and adapt)

Dear Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors

On behalf of many in the local community, we ask for your urgent attention to this most serious matter.

We are again shocked to see an advertisement (attached for reference) stating that 1080 poison will be used in the Yarra Ranges Shire, predominantly to kill foxes.  While introduced species may pose a problem to wildlife, surely it is possible to transition from this horrific poison to protect the native fauna without the fear of the danger it poses to our children, dogs and other non-target species?

We have researched this poison and draw your attention to the following horrendous facts:

  • 1080 is a schedule 7 chemical of security concern to Australia
  • It is banned in every country except 6, which includes Australia and New Zealand
  • It is indiscriminate and non-selective
  • It is banned in the US due to the “extreme hazard to human health and to the environment”
  • the World Health Organisation defines it as a Class 1A pesticide ie: extremely hazardous
  • 1080 kills inhumanely: the suffering lasts between 8–24 hours for birds and 2–4 days for large mammals
  • It routinely kills non-target and threatened native species
  • There is no antidote

Symptoms of 1080 poisoning include “vomiting, anxiety, disorientation and shaking”. These quickly develop into frenzied behaviour with running and screaming fits, drooling at the mouth, uncontrolled paddling and seizures, followed by total collapse and death.”[1]

The possibility of poisoning native non-target species like the endangered Tiger or Eastern Quoll or ground-digging marsupials like Potoroos, or omnivorous birds is strenuously denied by government authorities. However, localised extinctions of Tiger Quolls were linked to 1080 baiting 20 years ago when politicians were informed by a government Threatened Species Scientific Committee.[2]

1080 poison spreads through the ecosystem destroying soil microbes and insects.  It permeates waterways affecting crustaceans and water life including platypus. There are no life forms it will not kill and not one area in the ecosystem it cannot be limited to as it radiates out with devastating consequences

Viable alternatives include immunocontraception and the introduction of indigenous predators such as Dingoes. We also wish to bring to your attention the recent ban by the Blue Mountains City Council.

In 2008 the Federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts stated: “Since foxes only breed once a year over a short period in early winter, fertility control could be applied over a short period of time each year. Targeting fertility may yield an effective long-term approach to reducing fox numbers.” [3]

We the undersigned, ask council to stop using 1080 poison in the Yarra Ranges Shire and to work with the CSIRO, State Government and environmental scientists on a humane solution to this man-made problem.

Thank you for considering our appeal. We look forward to hearing from you soon with your response.

Yours sincerely



 H Hahner, 1080, the nasty poison. The District Bulletin, Nov 2012, p18.

C A Belcher, Demographics of tiger quoll (Dasyurus maculatus maculatus) populations in south-eastern Australia, Australian Journal of Zoology, 2003.

Michael T Lohr and Robert A Davis, Anticoagulant rodenticide use, non-target impacts and regulation: A case study from Australia. Science of the Total Environment, Feb 2018.

[1] H Hahner, 1080, the nasty poison. The District Bulletin, Nov 2012, p18



Our work has been featured

Our work has been featured

Very exciting to have our work featured in a couple of prominent publications.

Our Founding Director, Donalea Patman OAM, gave a talk to the members of the Order of Australia Association over zoom during the pandemic (and the same week she had her foot operated on!), with the Chair of the association inviting her to write an article for the Victorian newsletter and also the national magazine.

Our work has been featured

Our work has been featured

National Magazine article follows:

Endangered species don’t have the luxury of time

We are in what scientists are calling a 6th mass extinction and one of the key drivers is the legal trade in endangered species. It is one of the most lucrative trades in the world yet the mechanism that monitors this trade, worth more than US$320 billion a year, hasn’t been updated since the 70’s, is mostly paper-based and doesn’t integrate with customs.

For the Love of Wildlife (FLOW), successfully worked with the Australian government to ban the importation of lion trophies and body parts in 2015, as a direct response to the brutal and horrific industry of breeding lions for the bullet – this is a legal trade. Hunters who pay to kill only get the head and skin whilst breeders keep the bones which can be worth an additional $5,000 a carcass, used to supplement the Asian tiger bone industry as it is difficult to tell the difference between tiger and lion bones.

Then after finding ivory for sale on Chapel Street in Melbourne in 2016, FLOW went on to address the rampant unregulated, legal, domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia. Three years later, Australia announced at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna) CoP in Geneva that we would join other countries in closing the domestic trade so that we’re no longer complicit in the current poaching crisis. The States and Territories are to date yet to adopt the trade ban.

Through these campaigns FLOW exposed just how flawed the current global trade system is and that CITES is severely under resourced and unable to keep up with the ever-increasing species listed for trade restrictions which is currently around 38,000 species, with the recent IPBES reporting that number soon to be a million. It’s also worth noting that a listing can take an average of 11 years for implementation and some species, even if they’re listed on the IUCN Red List (critically endangered), can take up to 24 years. We are clearly in an extinction crisis but the processes are glacially slow.

Why the lumbering inertia with modernising CITES and specifically in implementing a global digitised permit system? Representatives in Geneva from US Homeland Security stated that electronic permitting will decisively close the illegal trade and yet so much of the large conservation space is focused on illegal trade without the required urgency or focus in fixing the basics (ie the legal trade)?

An electronic permit system has been created by UNCTAD with CITES and the Swiss and Sri Lankan Governments and is now operational in Sri Lanka. For the cost of around US$30 million (about US$150,000 per country) all 183 signatory countries could have this installed closing the loopholes. It would also raise a red flag to a possible zoonotic outbreak resulting from comprehensive tracking and traceability.


Victorian Order of Australia Magazine article follows:

The thunderous roar of a lion raises the hair on your neck and to see lions in the wild is unforgettable. My first sighting certainly had me draw in breath, awestruck by their magnificence, their presence, their power.

A few hours later this was shattered as I was told lions are facing extinction. Less than 15,000 lions roam all of Africa, only 10% of which are pride males, exploited by an industry that is as cruel and barbaric as one can imagine; one that is threatening their very survival.

It was heartbreaking to hear how wild lion prides are chased down, the cubs stolen to reinvigorate captive breeding stock. It all starts with cub petting and pay and play experiences with cubs taken off their mothers a few days after birth, tourist attractions that are highly lucrative pseudo-CONservation programs. Australian volunteers paying more than a $1,000 a week, duped into believing they are hand raising “orphaned” cubs that will one day be returned to the wild. The reality is this is the first step in a highly lucrative “value chain”. When too old to be bottle fed and played with, juveniles are moved to “walking with lions” tourist experiences. From there they return to the death camps, waiting to be purchased online for a quick, cost effective and guaranteed kill. Habituated to humans, these lions are an easy kill, bred for the bullet and shot behind fences. This is the horrific industry of “canned hunting”.

Learning about canned hunting, on the same day I saw lions in the wild for the very first time, rocked me to my core and ignited a rage I never knew I had. I was literally shaking with anger when the friend I was travelling with said “why don’t you go into the world and do something about it”. I couldn’t possibly envisage the path that I was propelled to set upon.

In 2013, leading up to a Federal election, I started writing to the candidates whose marketing material was landing in my letterbox. My letters described the critical demise of lions, canned hunting and how Australia was complicit. Jason Wood MP responded to my concerns, and working tirelessly together on this issue, eighteen months later Australia banned the importation of lion trophies and body parts. A global first. Australia’s ban followed by France, the Netherlands with the US implementing strict import laws, the key client of this brutal trade.

Even before the ban was announced, I knew my 25 years in corporate business was over, founding the charity For the Love of Wildlife Ltd in early 2014. The Australian ban came before the global outrage at the death of Cecil, the lion lured outside the border of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, and killed by US dentist Walter Palmer.

But this story isn’t only about the commodification of lions, so much of the world’s wildlife is being exploited for trade.  The legal trade in endangered species was valued at US$320 billion annually as long ago as 2009 yet the system that facilitates this global trade hasn’t been modernised since the 1970s, is mostly paper-based and doesn’t integrate with customs.

And let’s not forget the pandemic, crippling the world, is zoonotic in origin, triggered by the trade in exotic species which rely on captive breeding facilities to supply the “raw material” used in the fashion, food, beauty and medicine industries.

Modernising CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is the critical next step (having engaged more than 30 signatory countries to date).


Jeanette Pritchard’s book A Language of Hope has featured Donalea in Chapter 9, Shaping society – ripples of hope

Our work has been featured

You can purchase Jeanette’s book by clicking on the picture below. Our work has been featured

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

It is hard to believe that on World Wildlife Day, 3 March, it will be 3 years since we hosted #MelbourneCrush in central Melbourne, Australia’s first ivory and rhino horn crush event, to demonstrate that the only value ivory and rhino horn has is on a living animal.

A massive thank you to those of you who attended the crush, knowing the years of work in achieving this ban, announced by Environment Minister Sussan Ley in August 2019. And of course the people who have helped in the process along the way.

So what are the States and Territories waiting for? Australia is complicit in the current poaching crisis whilst we allow the domestic trade to continue.

I’m in the process of sending the following letter to MPs and Minsters and I welcome you to do so too (even if you’ve sent them an email recently, please keep the pressure on).

Don’t let our work go to waste. 

During the 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry, then Lisa Singh – Former Senator grilled social media platforms for allowing ivory and rhino horn to be sold online. They assured her that they were working to ensure animal body parts were banned.

Please use any of the pics (or email me for more) and email Environment Minister Sussan Ley as well as your local MP and your State or Territory Environment Minister.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley –
VIC – Lily D’Ambrosio MP
NSW –Matt Kean MP
SA – David Speirs MP
QLD – Meaghan Scanlon – Member for Gaven
NT – Eva Lawler MLA: Member for Drysdale
WA – Stephen Dawson MLC
TAS – Roger Jaensch MP

Dear Minister

It has been three years since For the Love of Wildlife Ltd hosted Australia’s first ivory and rhino horn crush event in Melbourne to demonstrate that Australia is complicit in the current poaching crisis whilst it allows the rampant, unregulated, domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

The #MelbourneCrush event, with enormous celebrity support, highlighted how many Australians want the trade in ivory and rhino horn banned (most thought it had already been done), giving an opportunity for people who had items (inherited, gifted or purchased) to be able to demonstrate that the only value is on a living animal.

3 years since #MelbourneCrush

This event triggered a Parliamentary Inquiry to which we gave evidence, the final report recommending a full trade ban. In 2019, Australia (as a signatory) announced at CITES CoP 18 in Geneva that it would join other countries in closing the domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn.

Given the time since the announcement, the trade is again reinvigorated with three posts (items of significant value) just in the last few weeks on Gumtree alone. Online trading platforms have stated they will stem the trade in wildlife products, yet despite contacting Gumtree there has been no response.

3 years since #MelbourneCrush
We are in a global extinction crisis and our inability to act swiftly does mean that traders are taking advantage of whatever opportunities are available.
I ask that you please elevate the urgency in implementing this trade ban so that we can fulfil our global obligations in preserving our most precious wildlife.

Please consider what you will tell your children when there are no elephants and rhinos? If we don’t stop the trade now, they will be gone within the next decade. The UK are now including a ban on a host of ivory including mammoth, whilst we haven’t moved in enacting the domestic trade ban.
I very much look forward to hearing how this can be enacted with a timeline for implementation.

If there’s anything further you require, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Donalea Patman OAM
Founding Director

A short video of one of our investigations

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

It is difficult to comprehend why a submission process was initiated given we are experiencing a global pandemic due to the trade in wildlife…to proceed with an undertaking to overturn a 25 year ban on the importation of birds.

Over the last 18 months (and more) we have been educating the government on how flawed the existing trade system is. A system that hasn’t been updated since the 70s, doesn’t integrate with customs, is mostly paper-based with loopholes you can drive a Mac truck through! And so why even entertain the idea of opening up trade?

The following is our submission as to why we say NO to overturning the ban.


Submission to address import risk for psittacine birds from all countries

Australia has previously permitted the importation of live psittacine birds. However, the policy was suspended in 1995 due to incomplete knowledge of certain diseases of psittacine birds and a lack of suitable methods for testing imported birds for the presence of these diseases.

This ban was enacted in 1995 for a good reason and now there’s overwhelming evidence and reason to keep this ban in place.

  • Pandemic due to the trade in wildlife
  • Legal trade monitoring system that is obsolete and needs modernisation
  • Extinction crisis, driven by over-exploitation for trade purposes
  • Lack of scientific, evidence-based information

Economies are shattered and people’s lives are severely impacted due to the current pandemic being experienced globally and it is attributed to the trade in wildlife. Australia should be commended for calling for global support to investigate the cause of the current virus but in the interim, why isn’t there a moratorium on trade in endangered species, in fact trade in all wildlife until the findings are released?

Whilst WHO investigates the world’s response to Covid-19, we must acknowledge that wet markets in China are just a microcosm of the ever-increasing trade in wildlife. The legal trade in wildlife is one of the most lucrative trades in the world and yet it is managed using a mostly paper-based permit system that hasn’t been updated since the 70’s.

Along with our collaborative partners Nature Needs More, we have met with Ministers, MPs and representatives in the Australian Government (as well as more than 30 signatory countries including the EU) in urgently addressing the flaws in the existing trade system. Modernising this system to deal with current trade volumes and conditions is critical in addressing the trade in psittacine birds.

Along with many other organisations and concerned citizens, we also provided overwhelming evidence at the Parliamentary Inquiry on Law Enforcement into the domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn demonstrating flaws in the legal trade system under CITES and that currently there is no supply chain transparency. Similarly, there is no real-time trade analytics, so any responses to laundering and illegal activity, if it is picked up, is in the main too slow.

There is a desperate need to modernise the trade mechanism that is severely under-resourced, mostly paper-based, doesn’t integrate with customs and lacks traceability and trackability. Until the trade system has been updated (as a start eCITES BaseSolution created by UNCTAD with CITES and the Swiss and Sri Lankan Governments) and rolled out globally, it would be detrimental for multiple reasons in entertaining overturning this ban.

The legal and illegal trade is so intertwined that they are functionally inseparable, to continue trade knowing this would be reckless.

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

What is also alarming and has been raised with the CITES Secretariate is that source codes on permits are often designated as source code C (captive bred), when research shows that there is no evidence of any captive breeding facilities in the export countries documented. How can we be assured that imported birds aren’t wild caught?

CITES needs to be modernised to cope with the vastly increased volume of the legal trade and to close the loopholes used by the burgeoning illegal trade. This requires a three step approach:


Global roll out of electronic permitting at a cost of US$30 million for all 183 signatory countries before next CITES CoP in 2022

Until a global roll out of electronic permitting, additional trade in wildlife including vulnerable and endangered species should not be considered or granted license.

Whilst Australia does have an electronic permit system, its lack of interoperability or interaction with a global trade system such as eCITES BaseSolution, shows that it isn’t useful in regards to international trade. This was clearly demonstrated with the export of endangered birds from Western Australia to Germany (still under investigation). Even with Australia boasting its sophisticated electronic system, cockatoos were issued permits to be exported from Western Australia to an unscrupulous zoo in Germany with no evidence to clearly prove that the birds weren’t wild caught or that the destination was indeed a proper zoo. If we don’t have processes to alleviate illegally caught wild species, then how can we expect this from countries with no regulators or processes in place? If a global electronic, real-time permit system was in place, then a red flag would have been raised and permits would never have been issued.


Adopt reverse listing approach

In 1981 Australia proposed a reverse listing approach, understanding and exposing the inherent risks in the forming years of CITES. Given business works quarter by quarter and is always miles ahead in creating new markets, the glacially slow response by governments and conservation within the processes of CITES has seen trade grow exponentially. Trade is the 2nd biggest driver of extinction in terrestrial species and the biggest driver in marine species and a new listing approach is long overdue.

The proposal wasn’t accepted in 1981 when there were 700 species listed. Since then the listing has grown to 38,500 species (soon to be a million according to the IPBES Report published last year). Under a reverse listing approach the default position is no commercial trade and the burden of proof that trade is sustainable shifts from governments and NGOs to industry. This does not mean that industry will dictate the framework and criteria for what constitutes ‘ecologically sustainable use’ and what can be traded. Listings would still be subject to a vote at CoP, in line with current process.


Apply a levy on trade

Given the global trade in endangered species is worth US$320 billion a year, a 1-2% levy on trade would significantly help fund the under-resourced trade and enforcement process. In the first instance, a levy (or similar) on industry (importers, not exporters) to cover the cost of rolling out the electronic permit system globally and to create and maintain a real-time reporting system.

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia


Zoonotic diseases have and continue to impact humans as demonstrated in the following diagram, but there’s worrying impact on other species. As an example, reported on the 27 August this year the slaughter of more than 340,000 layer hens, plus culling of emus and turkeys as there are three strains of bird flu active at the same time in the state of Victoria resulting in an expected loss of $18 – $23 million affecting six farms. This virus is reported to be particularly virulent and aggressive. Importing birds when it is clear there’s overwhelming fragility amongst avian populations only adds incredible pressure to the existing populations whether they be farmed or wild.

How can the government guarantee that imported birds won’t be released? Catastrophic for our wild species who are already under enormous pressure due to habitat loss, bushfires, weather events, poaching, etc. We are in an extinction event and it is reckless to continue the “business as usual” approach.

What is also requiring attention is the reporting of government and industry-employed ecologists and conservation scientists who have experienced undue modification of reports, blocks on releasing or discussing information in regards to the plight of threatened species. Can we trust that this review will be fair and reasonable or should we wait until there is a national independent watchdog?

Calling for submissions when there’s overwhelming evidence and sentiment for a trade ban given the current climate, is wasting valuable resources not only within the government but in calling on civil society, conservation groups and charities to yet again remind the government to apply the precautionary principle, given the devastating decline in so many species we’re witnessing a catastrophic freefall. We are in an extinction event and how can we alleviate the ever-increasing pressures on wildlife – lifting bans is not one of them.

Government looks to overturn 25 year ban on the importation of birds into Australia

Many macaws, parrots and cockatoos are listed as endangered, with many extinct due to rapid rates of habitat loss, hunting and exotic pet trade and yet we are entertaining the possibility of reopening trade for psittacine birds…it is mind-blowing.


The commodification and consumption of wild species and the natural world has seen humans breach boundaries with devastating consequences, our lack of respect for nature is our own undoing, our ecology in desperate need of respite. If we cannot curb our consumption and the continued trade in every living thing, then it will be our own extinction if we cannot learn from this pandemic and the recent bushfires which have presented a very loud and clear warning.

At the recent 2020 High Level Political Forum all UN Member States recommitted to “protecting wildlife and other living species”, taking action to end cross-border trade in wildlife to be an effective first step towards delivering this commitment.

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm – World Lion Day


Dear lion lovers

We need your help with a tweet storm to make a clear and urgent statement to the South African Government. It will be late if you live in Australia, but use TweetDeck to schedule your tweets.
Or using any social media…but remember the hashtags #800Lions #WorldLionDay

PLEASE NOTE – Blood Lions will lead the storm so no tweeting beforehand!
Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion DayBlood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Content Plan for World Lion Day – 10th August 2020

800 Voices for 800 Lions


Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

This World Lion Day, Blood Lions and World Animal Protection have partnered to mobilise supporters and put pressure on the South African Government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota. Our goal is to create a people-powered campaign that will empower South Africans (primarily) to take action and tell the government that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the breeding and keeping of lions for commercial purposes is irresponsible and ecologically unsustainable. In addition, it damages South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputations.

The campaign title 800 Voices for 800 Lions aims to express through art the legal CITES export quota of 800 lion skeletons per year.

This campaign has three interlinked aspects that all aim towards urging the SA Government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota, and supporting the global call to end the trade in wildlife at the G20 Summit.

The campaign will include a Twitter storm planned on World Lion Day (10 August), which will directly pressurize the government by directing specific questions and posts at the various government accounts.



As part of the campaign, a short educational video will be released on World Lion Day explaining the lion bone trade, the current quota situation in SA and describing our call to action.

We will be calling on people from around the world to submit their artwork (be it drawing, painting, photography, poetry, dance, music) in a visual representation of the 800 lions, which are slaughtered for their bones every year.

The goal is to submit 800 pieces of art to the SA government in the lead up to the G20 Summit to urge them to decide against a legal trade in big cat bones and body parts.



This is where we need your help. The Twitter Storm aspect of this campaign aims to mobilise our conservation and global partners to pressurize the SA government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota. We invite you to be part of this movement. Please note relevant Twitter chat questions and answers, as well as direct tweets are provided below, starting on page 3.

It will consist of 1 hour of well organised pressure on World Lion Day itself, where we will be posing questions to the relevant government accounts, essentially filling their Twitter notifications and feed with the topic, but also creating a general awareness around the issues.

Date:  10 August 2020

Time:  15h00 – 16h00 [South Africa time] facilitated by @Blood_Lions

Main hashtags:  #WorldLionDay #800Lions

It is essential to include these hashtags in ALL tweets, so people can follow and/or get involved in the conversation. In addition, we are aiming to get these hashtags to trend on the day.

Graphics: The attached graphics can be used with some of the tweets and will give you the option to tag up to 10 twitter accounts over and above the 280 characters per tweet.


Accounts to tag:                      

@BarbaraCreecy_         –           Minister of DEFF

@environmentza          –           Department of Environment

@SouthAfrica               –           SA Tourism

@sisantshona               –           CEO of SA Tourism

@Tourism_gov_za        –           Department of Tourism

@mmKubayiNgubane   –           Minister of Tourism

@DAFF_ZA                   –           Department of Agriculture

@HealthZA                   –           Department of Health

@DrZweliMkhize          –           Minister of Health



Ahead of the World Lion Day Tweet storm, Blood Lions plans to release information to the public in the lead up to the event. Below is a loose plan that can be adopted in order to bring awareness to the Tweet storm before we go live:


Suggested Tweets:

On #WorldLionDay we will be participating in a Twitter chat to challenge South Africa’s lion bone export quota. Join us at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT as we ask @BarbaraCreecy_ & @environmentza to set a zero CITES lion bone quota and put a permanent ban on the trade in lions. #800Lions

Why does @SouthAfrica support an industry that damages its reputation? Join us on #WorldLionDay at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT as we pose these questions to Ministers of @GovernmentZA and ask @BarbaraCreecy_ to set a zero lion bone quota. #800Lions

Poor welfare conditions are a reality for lions in the commercial breeding industry. On #WorldLionDay, at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT we are asking the South African Government to set a zero lion bone quota and put a permanent ban on the trade of lions. #800lions

Suggested Facebook & Instagram posts:

On #WorldLionDay we will be participating in a Twitter chat to challenge South Africa’s lion bone export quota.

Join us at 15h00 SAST or 16h00 EAT on Twitter as we pose a few questions and answers around the industry, and ask Minister Barbara Creecy of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries to set a zero CITES lion bone quota. #800Lions


– Blood Lions

– World Animal Protection Africa

– Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries



The following questions and answers can be used to start the conversation on World Lion Day at 15.00 hrs SAST. Blood Lions will lead by tweeting the questions at the indicated times below and everybody can retweet the main question, followed by the various answers. Please note – times below are SA time!

The following questions and answers can be tweeted verbatim at the indicated times. The number of characters should not exceed the max 280 – if they do our apologies 😉

Please don’t forget to include the question and answer number in the tweet and our main hashtags, so people can follow the conversation: #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Feel free to add ANY answers on the day and hopefully we get the public to interact and ask further probing questions to be answered in real time. Please try and engage with the public.


QUESTION 1 – 15.00 HRS SAST (11pm Melbourne)

Q1 – What are lion bones used for? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are used to supplement tiger bones in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat ailments like arthritis, rheumatism, general weakness and headaches, with no credible evidence for the efficacy of the vast majority of these remedies. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are used to produce “tiger bone” wine that is often sold as a prestigious gift or a non-financial bribe. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are also boiled down to a glue-like substance to create a so-called lion bone cake that is consumed as a medicine in tea or wine, supposedly as an aphrodisiac. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – Lion bones are used to make into jewellery with pink bones being the most sought after. Pink bones are marketed as having been created by deboning the animal alive. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A1 – In addition to bones, lion teeth and claws are used to create expensive jewellery. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

@DrZweliMkhize How can you indirectly support the export of lion bones from South Africa and back a form of medicine without credible or scientific proof it effectively cures ANY ailments? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

With scientific evidence of lions carrying zoonotic diseases, and with the world brought to its knees by #COVID19, is it ethical for @DrZweliMkhize and @BarbaraCreecy_ to allow the export of lion bones to continue? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

We treat our farm animals better than our iconic #lion. Makeshift lion slaughterhouses kill and process 100s of lions every year without any form of regulation and in the absence of welfare standards. @BarbaraCreecy_ @DAFF_ZA #WorldLionDay #800Lions


QUESTION 2 – 15.10 HRS SAST (11.10pm Melbourne)

Q2 – Where are lion bones exported to? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – The vast majority of exported lion skeletons (98%) are destined for Laos and Vietnam, which are known hubs for illegal wildlife trafficking, including ivory, rhino horn and pangolin. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – Lion bones may be legally exported to Laos and Vietnam, but are subsequently redistributed and mostly sold illegally to e.g. China and Thailand. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – The trade in lion bones legitimises the product among consumers in SE Asia and stimulates the demand for lion and tiger bones, compromising local enforcement efforts regarding the tiger trade. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A2 – Lion bones are sold to SE Asia to supplement the tiger bone trade, keeping the desirability of tiger products alive, which is a huge problem for tiger conservation. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

The legal lion bone trade is damaging Brand SA. With tourism brought to a standstill by #COVID19, what are you planning to do to repair the damage of this abhorrent industry? @GoToSouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za @mmKubayiNgubane #WorldLionDay #800Lions

@BarbaraCreecy_ What is the conservation value of the lion bone trade? What benefits does this trade provide this endangered species? #WorldLionDay #800lions

It is widely acknowledged that the illegal wildlife trade, involving notorious international crime syndicates, follows legal wildlife trade routes. Does South Africa enable the illegal trade in lion bones, @BarbaraCreecy_? #WorldLionDay #800lions


QUESTION 3 – 15.20 HRS SAST (11.20pm Melbourne)

Q3 – How many skeletons is South Africa able to export per year? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – South Africa has set a lion bone quota of 800 skeletons per year in 2017 & 2018, which lacked a sound scientific basis and was driven solely by the economic principle of supply and demand. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – More than TWO lions per DAY are slaughtered legally for their bones for Traditional Chinese Medicine. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – South Africa is able to set any lion bone quota, as long as the skeletons originate from the captive lion population. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – It is believed that South African lion breeders produce more lion skeletons than the set quota and have built up lion bone stockpiles. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A3 – Even though the lion bone trade is perceived to be a “by-product” of the trophy hunting industry, 90% of all exported skeletons include the skulls, indicating that many facilities breed purely to supply the bone trade. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

As @environmentza has been unable to set a lion bone export quota in 2019 & 2020, isn’t it time to make this “zero quota” permanent, Minister @BarbaraCreecy_? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Considering the current #COVID19 pandemic and the potential for further zoonotic disease spill-over from the captive predator breeding industry, Minister @BarbaraCreecy_ isn’t it time to put an end to this industry? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Considering the damage the #COVID19 pandemic has brought on the tourism industry, shouldn’t we avoid ANY reputational damage to Brand SA from the captive predator breeding industry, Minister @mmKubayiNgubane @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za ? #WorldLionDay #800Lions


QUESTION 4 – 15.30 HRS SAST (11.30pm Melbourne)

Q4 – What does the lion bone trade mean in terms of animal welfare? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – The intensive captive breeding and keeping of lions creates serious welfare concerns, especially when only their bones are used, so there is no incentive to keep them healthy. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – With the increasing profit-driven commodification of lion products, in many cases even the most basic needs, such as water, food, shelter and medical care, are lacking. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – Pop-up lion slaughterhouses have been established to facilitate the mass slaughter of lions to supply skeletons for international trade with no regulations in place, thus creating a range of welfare concerns. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – Captive wildlife populations are at risk from disease, especially when these populations are kept in small and overcrowded enclosures, increasing the risk of zoonosis, such as lion TB. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A4 – @environmentza has repeatedly stated that welfare of wild animals in captivity is not their mandate, and that this falls under the ambit of @DAFF_ZA. In turn, DALRRD passes the buck to the provincial authorities. #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

How is Minister @BarbaraCreecy_ planning to improve the welfare of South Africa’s captive lions, in line with Judge Kollapen’s ruling that the setting of the lion bone quota in 2017 & 2018 is “unlawful and constitutionally invalid” #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Minister Didiza, when is the Department of Agriculture @DAFF_ZA going to create norms and standards for the captive breeding and keeping of big cats in South Africa? Your Department has been working on this since 2016. @BarbaraCreecy_ #WorldLionDay #800Lions

How can South Africa allow the welfare atrocities linked to the captive lion breeding industry to continue? @BarbaraCreecy_ @DAFF_ZA @mmKubayiNgubane @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za @environmentza ? #WorldLionDay #800Lions


QUESTION 5 – 15.40 HRS SAST (11.40pm Melbourne)

Q5 – Why is South Africa able to set a legal lion bone quota through CITES? #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – In 2016, at @CITES CoP17 an annotation was agreed to Panthera leo Appendix II. Although a zero quota remains for wild lions, an annual quota derived from the captive lion population in South Africa is now allowed. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – In addition to lion bones, South Africa is also allowed to export bone products, claws, skulls and teeth from the captive lion population. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – In August 2019, in the High Court case NSPCA vs DEA and SAPA, Judge Kollapen ruled that the setting of the lion bone quota in 2017 & 2018 is “unlawful and constitutionally invalid”. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

A5 – Judge Kollapen stated that “….it is inconceivable that the State Respondents could have ignored welfare considerations of lions in captivity in setting the annual export quota.” #WorldLionDay #800Lions


Direct campaigning tweets:

@BarbaraCreecy_ what factors were taken into account before the lion bone CITES quotas were historically set? And how is this going to change? #WorldLionDay #800lions

Have any lion bones been exported in 2019/2020 by South Africa, Minister @BarbaraCreecy_? If so, how is this possible without a quota in place? @environmentza #WorldLionDay #800lions

How can South Africa allow a commercial trade that reduces its iconic #lion species to body parts sold off as TCM, décor, rugs, jewellery and other trinkets? @BarbaraCreecy_ @DAFF_ZA @mmKubayiNgubane @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za @environmentza #WorldLionDay #800Lions



These can be used by the youth WAP will engage with to push the conversation further.

An official number of 8,000, but most likely 10,000–12,000 lions are kept in captivity in South Africa. This is 3–4 times more lions than exist in the wild in SA. If nothing is done soon, lions in the wild could go extinct by 2050. #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Strength. Courage. Resilience. Traits we can learn from lions. Unfortunately, the wildlife trade has reduced them to victims of adversity. We are asking the South African government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota #WorldLionDay #800Lions

Between 1993–2014, lion numbers in Africa have dropped 43%. Poaching of wild lions for their body parts is one of the major threats to wild lion populations. Join us to urge the South African government to set a zero CITES lion bone export quota #WorldLionDay #800Lions

The South African lion bone export quota was #800Lions per year. That is more than 2 lions killed every day for the legal trade in their bones. We urge @BarbaraCreecy_ to set a permanent zero export quota. @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za #WorldLionDay #800Lions

The global trade of wild animals, such as lions is cruel and puts public health and the world economy at risk, like COVID-19. Join us in calling on South Africa to support and champion a global ban on the wildlife trade #EndWildlifeTrade via @MoveTheWorldAF

Imagine being in lockdown for life, simply to be killed for profit. That is the everyday reality for South Africa’s captive lions. We are asking South Africa to move to a zero lion bone quota. @BarbaraCreecy_ @environmentza @DAFF_ZA @DrZweliMkhize #WorldLionDay #800Lions

This #WorldLionDay, be the voice for our lions and take action. Together we can move South Africa’s leaders to set a zero lion bone export quota. @BarbaraCreecy_ @environmentza @DAFF_ZA @DrZweliMkhize @SouthAfrica @sisantshona @Tourism_gov_za #800Lions


Images you can use.

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day

Blood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion DayBlood Lions Tweet Storm - World Lion Day


Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Attending CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species in Wild Flora and Fauna) CoP18 in Geneva in August, along with Nature Needs More we were excited to attend the side event featuring  eCITES BaseSolution electronic permitting which has been developed by UNCTAD with CITES and the Swiss and Sri Lankan Government, with Sri Lanka the first country to implement and trial.

Honoured to be invited to attend the launch of eCITES in Sri Lanka in October 2019 by Minister for Tourism and Wildlife, Hon John Amaratunga. Also attending the launch was the Australian High Commissioner, Victoria Coakley who was incredibly impressed with the presentation and wished to assist with global implementation.

Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Launch of eCITES Base Solution electronic permitting in Sri Lanka

Now that the system has been implemented, we’re focused on a global roll out before the next CoP which is scheduled to be held in Costa Rica in 2022. We’ve been assured that training and implementation can take between 6-12 weeks, which makes this absolutely doable to meet that deadline. The cost is US$150,000 per country – US$30 million for all 183 signatory countries.

The timing is critical given the pandemic we’re experiencing and the ongoing evidence that supports global action given that:

  1. 2019 report (IPBES) confirmed direct exploitation for trade is the second biggest threat to species survival.
  2. Since CITES came into force in 1975, the convention itself has had only one review and that was in 1994. Any business or industry that doesn’t reflect on how it needs to evolve to adapt to the changing, external conditions would undoubtedly become ineffective (if in fact it managed to survive).
  3. It has not been modernised since the 1970s, almost all CITES parties still use a paper-based system that doesn’t integrate with customs. There is no traceability of shipments from source to destination
  4. Without traceability and transparency, there is no proof of sustainability and the sustainable-use model is the basis for the legal trade.
  5. In a world where big data rules, no major steps have been taken to digitise the trade in endangered species.
  6. When the legal trade was estimated to be worth US$320 billion as far back as 2012 and it would cost only US$30 million to roll out an electronic system to all 183 CITES signatory parties, why hasn’t this been done – it has been talked about for nearly a decade.

Our work was featured by Africa Geographic.

Endangered species are legally traded to extinction

Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

The following blog by Lynn Johnson, Nature Needs More (see original by clicking here)


Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

No one can really predict how the world will look after the COVID-19 pandemic. But if you could write one email that had the potential to help change the world for the better, would you do it?

Recent weeks have made it clear how much we are all connected and that we are all in this together. With the panic buying of toilet paper, it has also highlighted many societies have become a too self-absorbed – pardon the pun! We are certainly at a unique point in our collective history. While we are in a time of social-distancing, self-isolation or even quarantine, how can we use this to let our respective governments know that we expect to emerge from this global crisis with a better and fairer world? And that fairness needs to extend wildlife and the natural world.

Until now, many of us have been caught up in the day-to-day noise, but now the noise is going or has gone; we have time to think and some of us have time to do some really useful stuff!

While I know many people are struggling with their daily survival and others, sadly, will be dealing with the death or illness of loved ones. For many, self-distancing and quarantine are leaving us with time on our hands, and possibly cabin fever – Jamie’s quarantine day 6 did make me smile.

For those of you who would like to use this time to make a difference for wildlife, Donalea Patman of For the Love of Wildlife (Nature Needs More’s collaborative partner on the CITES modernisation project) and I are inviting you to join us; together we can make a real difference for wildlife, if enough of people around the world are happy to write just one email. We would both love to say that COVID-19 will trigger a change in the world that means the legal (and illegal) wildlife trade would be closed permanently; our preference would be a world were wildlife is protected and not traded. But we know that once we are out of the health crisis businesses around the world will lobby their governments to re-open the legal trade and in all likelihood governments will comply with their wishes, on the basis that they need to quickly rebuild the economy.

So we have to be pragmatic.

In 2018, after years of researching and working on the demand for illegal wildlife ‘products’, For the Love of Wildlife and Nature Needs More came to the conclusion that the illegal trade can not be tackled until the loopholes in the legal trade in endangered species are closed. CITES needs modernising to cope with current trade volumes. COVID-19 is a result of both the legal and illegal trade in wildlife; the lack of questioning of the sustainable-use model and the opaque system facilitating international trade means that that before the pandemic precious little was known about China’s 22,000 legal captive breeding facilities. But China is just a microcosm of the world; the legal trade has been encouraged and allowed to flourish, unchecked, worldwide.

Business doesn’t like the idea of transparency, opaqueness in their operations allows plausible deniability and means it is difficult for them to be held to account for bad behaviour. Decades of highly successful campaigning has convinced too many in our societies that any regulation is inherently bad for the economy. The result is decades of under-investment in modernising the global systems that manage transparency, and just one of those systems is the one that manages the legal trade in endangered species, CITES. We are now paying for this with COVID-19, but wildlife and the natural world has paid for this because for too long, too few have recognized that they are being legally traded to extinction.

Help us to modernise the CITES system, which facilitates the legal trade in endangered species. Send an email to your MP or political representative to let them know that you want the system that manages the legal trade in species to be modernised to an electronic permit system, which is fully integrated with customs, to ensure traceability from source to destination. This long overdue, particularly since the current, archaic system makes it easy to launder of illegal items into the legal marketplace and impossible to address biosecurity risks.

We have written the email (below) and all you have to do is copy and paste it into an email to your email to your MP or political representative. If you are unsure if your country is a signatory to CITES follow the link, for a list of all the 183 CITES signatory parties. For those in Europe, don’t forget to also write to the European Parliament, which plays a key role in the legal trade of endangered species within the EU. We hope that you will join us, by writing this one email you can make a huge difference for both people and wildlife.

Covid-19 and the legal trade in wildlife

Lynn Johnson of Nature Needs More and Donalea Patman, For the Love of Wildlife

We know that this email is a long and technical, but we don’t want to give your MP any wriggle room! The email states clearly: what you want, the time-frame for action and your expected response.

Copy and paste the following and email your local MP, both State and Federal. When you received a response (not the first automated reply) please forward to



The current unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has brought the dangers of the legal breeding, trading and consumption of exotic wildlife into stark focus. In this, China is just a microcosm of the world, similar wildlife breeding facilities and markets exist in many countries, including throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. The legal trade in exotic wildlife is both global and massive. The reason we do not know the exact origin of the novel coronavirus is because this trade is poorly regulated and largely unmonitored, putting populations across the globe at continued risk of zoonotic diseases. Unless we change this state of affairs, the next pandemic is a virtual certainty.

Epidemiologists and immunologists have continued to ramp up their research over the last two decades with the expectation of the increasing risks of zoonotic diseases. Paradoxically, over the same timeframe, the legal trade in exotic species has been encouraged and supported to grow, increasing the probability of an outbreak even further.  

Attention may now be on China, but it is the global business and trade community that has shown no leadership in modernising the system that facilitates and monitors this worldwide legal trade in endangered species – the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Given no leadership has been shown at the international level, it is no surprise that individual countries and national governments have not invested in modernising domestic systems and legislation.   

In response to COVID-19 many governments are likely to put in place better domestic regulations to handle the obvious biosecurity risks, but this is insufficient if we don’t address the global trade component. The primary purpose of CITES is to ensure that the international legal trade in endangered wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, but it is also the only vehicle to address the issues of traceability, risk management, monitoring and shutting down the illegal trade.

In this respect, I was shocked to hear that the CITES system has not been modernised since it entered into force in 1975. A 1970s paper-based system is still used to facilitate and monitor the international legal trade in endangered species. Decades of under-investment are at odds with the value of the legal trade, estimated to be over US$320 Billion annually. Upgrading the CITES legal trade platform to a modern, digital, real-time system has been discussed for a decade, but almost no progress has been made. There now can be NO excuse for the international community or any individual country to maintain this obsolete legal trade monitoring and management system.

The transition to an electronic permit system, which is fully integrated with customs, to ensure traceability from source to destination, is long overdue, particularly since this archaic system makes it easy to launder of illegal items into the legal marketplace and impossible to address biosecurity risks. Therefore, it is critical that any electronic permit system is secure and trustworthy.

What make this lack of progress even more shocking is that a system has been designed, the eCITES BaseSolution, developed jointly between CITES, UNCTAD and with the support of the Swiss and Sri Lankan Governments and it is ready for global rollout. Yet, to-date, Sri Lanka is the only CITES signatory country to implement this system and this needs to change. At a cost of US$150,000 per country, this is loose change compared to the global economic crisis set in train by COVID-19 (setting aside the tragic loss of life). 

Rolling out the eCITES BaseSolution over all 183 CITES signatory parties will cost US$30 Million in total and technical it only takes 6-12 weeks to implement this system in each country; the world just needs the political will to do this.  For a legal trade worth over US$320 Billion annually, these roll-out costs are minimal.

Wealthy countries should make it part of their COVD-19 response to provide the funding for developing countries to implement electronic permitting. Such donations can be made via the World Bank’s Global Wildlife Program with the stipulation it is for the immediate roll-out of the eCITES BaseSolution to help minimise the risk of zoonotic diseases in the future.  

The handful of countries that have already implemented a domestic electronic permitting system need to demonstrate that their systems are secure, trustworthy. They also need to commit to covering the costs of interoperability with the eCITES BaseSolution as this system incorporates species names, appendix listings, units and classifications in accordance with CITES rules and can be centrally updated, ensuring consistency in global electronic permit exchange.

It seems absurd that decades of funds and research have gone in to preparing for a response to increased risks of zoonotic diseases, yet in the age of big data and instant global communication, CITES really does operate in a way unchanged from the 1970s; this must be immediately addressed.  Modernising the CITES legal trade permit and management system will make supply chains more transparent and helps to address the biosecurity risks inherent in any trade in exotic wildlife.

As my local MP/representative, I request that you seek support from our government and the responsible department, to implement, as a minimum, the eCITES BaseSolution not only in our own country, but across all CITES signatory parties by the next CITES Conference of the Parties, held in Costa Rica in 2022. Similarly, I ask that our government pushes for interoperability and electronic permit exchange to ensure real-time trackability from source to destination in this international, legal trade system.

I understand that there is a CITES Standing Committee meeting (CITES SC73) scheduled for late 2020. My request is that our government joins forces with other governments around the world to ensure the appropriate submissions are made to CITES SC73 for a resolution such that, as a minimum, the eCITES BaseSolution is rolled out cross all CITES signatory parties by CoP19 in Costa Rica in 2022.  

I look forward to a response addressing the precise points raised in this email. Please note, I am interested in a ‘real’ response to the specific issues outlined; I am not interested in a response consisting of banal statements about the government’s current commitment to tackling the illegal wildlife trade or following all its CITES signatory obligations. The COVID-19 global crisis shows a business as usual approach is not possible or acceptable. 

Yours sincerely


Let us know what response you receive and email