Preserving an Icon of National Pride, Hope and Unity:
The critically endangered White Lion has been naturally birthed in one place only on earth – the Timbavati region of South Africa.
Its conservation value is paralleled only by its cultural value to indigenous communities of the region as a national symbol of unity, peace and hope. Many countries honour and protect ‘sacred animals’ by law: the ‘Spirit Bear’ of Canada, the ‘Brahman Cattle’ of India and the ‘White Elephant’ of Burma. Whilst the White Lion of South Africa is not yet protected by law, concerted conservation efforts are underway to protect this rare national treasure on behalf of all South Africans – and indeed the world.
A partnership approach – “An empowered community is a giving community”:
In 2007 a foundational craft development project was jointly initiated by local communities and the Global White Lion Protection Trust in the greater Timbavati region. The craft development project will empower the community to showcase the importance of the White Lions in their cultural beliefs and rituals and provide saleable artefacts as a means to ‘give back’ to the White Lions that they hold sacred. Whilst all proceeds of White Lion arts and crafts revert to the community, a percentage is donated back to the White Lion Reintroduction project at their discretion. The White Lion icon appears in many celebrated forms in the arts and crafts produced by the community.