Summary of Linda Tucker’s Presentation to the Minister of Environmental Affairs (17 June 2021)

Since 1997, Linda Tucker has been engaging with government in an attempt to solve the crisis for lions, and the Global White Lion Protection Trust first presented in South African Parliament in 2008.

On 17 June  2021, when Linda presented to South Africa’s Environmental Minister, Barbara Creecy, Linda pointed out that all conservation issues today are global issues. What South Africa decides in managing our critical iconic animals will be closely monitored by global stakeholders. She commended the Minister’s decisive commitment to dismantle South Africa’s notorious captive lion industry, while recognizing the monumental and tragic task that lies ahead.

Linda identified that the restoration of lions to their rightful role in Nature will be one of the key milestones in humankinds’ conservation history.

Going forward, she emphasized:

How do we move from “The Con” to “The Serve” in conservation?

The focus has to shift from hunting to service, and from exploitation to regeneration.

Linda encouraged the Minister to incorporate in her strategy new-paradigm funding models that are leading global conservation today, which respect Indigenous methodologies andhonour iconicanimals as a living heritage within the minds and hearts of humanity, and thereby truly benefit all stakeholders, including humankind.

Linda was joined by traditional healers Sheila Khama, of the Mpemba Institute of African Traditional Healing and Spirituality, who asked for prayers for our lions over this time, and Rutendo Ngara – Founder of the Credo Mutwa Foundation, who spoke on the importance of service in Indigenous knowledge systems. Referencing the Worldwide Indigenous People’s Governance Charter, Rutendo emphasized that “Humanity cannot exist independently of Nature and therefore human law must be subservient to Nature’s Law”.

She emphasized from a universal Indigenous conservation perspective, iconic animals should be protected, not as commodities in cages nor stuffed on walls, but as a living heritage performing their unique vital roles both within the biodiversity of their natural ecosystem, and “alive and well” within the hearts, minds – and souls – of humankind. Heritage animals are essential for the wellbeing of any culture that respects and celebrates Nature.

Dominion-based models do not serve Nature’s law. To “conserve” means to cherish Nature as a precious living legacy for future generations, and thereby reinstate a loving and respectful interrelationship.

Linda would like to acknowledge the united efforts of conservationists, animal activists, enviro-lawyers and Indigenous healers and leaders for their courageous and tireless contributions that are ensuring this turning point in conservation history.

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