Global White Lion Protection Trust:
World authority in the protection of the globe’s most sacred animal, a ‘capstone species’ of critica l conservation and cultural importance. READ MORE About the Global White Lion Protection Trust:
The Global White Lion Protection Trust was established in 2002 by researcher and environmentalist, Linda Tucker, for the specific purposes of protecting the White Lions; their endemic habitat; and their cultural heritage in perpetuity.
Today, the White Lion Trust enjoys a support base of over 5000 people worldwide, many of whom, as experts in their field, provide skills and expertise in support of our charitable efforts.
The White Lion Trust is a registered non-profit Public Benefit Organization [IT 8575/02 ; 048-299 NPO ; 930019129 PBO], with a founding Trust Deed which commits to the protection of the White Lions, and the associated cultural belief and knowledge systems which celebrate and uphold this sacred heritage.
The White Lion Trust is governed by its Trustees and has two long-serving Parliamentary advisors on its Advisory Council: MP M.J Mahlangu, Speaker of the Council of Provinces and Adv Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, President of CONTRALESA, as well as representatives from various global indigenous cultures, including Retired High Chief Francois Paulette (Dene People, Canada); Ilarion Imerculieff (Alleut People, Alaska) Mother Moon (Chippewa People, Ojibwa Nation, Native America) Dr Apela Colerado (Oneida People, Hawaii) Dr E. Richard Atleo (Nuu-chah-nul People, Canada), Cynthia Hart-Button (Hopi-Dakota). The White Lion Trust’s Patron is the world’s premier conservation figure, Dr Ian Player.
At the present time, the White Lions are not protected by any law, regionally nationally or internationally. Instead, these rare animals may be shot in enclosures as high-income earning trophies (“Canned Hunting” READ MORE…) or hunted in the wild of their endemic habitat.
For many years, the White Lion Trust has campaigned to have the White Lions protected as a national – and indeed global - heritage, and ensure that they are listed under international CITES and IUCN RED DATA legislation.
Due to increased international awareness of the seriousness of this issue, the Global White Lion Protection Trust has been invited to present on South Africa’s White Lions and their urgent conservation at numerous world congresses:
- World Wilderness Congress (2001)
- World Summit of Sustainable Utilisation (2002)
- World Parks Congress IUCN ( 2003)
- World Carnivore Congress Sante Fe (2004)
- World Wilderness Congress Alaska (2005)
- Desert Soul Festival - Namibia (2007)
- Beyond Duality Conference Guatamala (2008)
- World Wilderness Congress Mexico (2009)
- MBS Festival - SanDiego/London/Germany (2010)
- River of Stars Conference Hawaii (2011)
At the World Wilderness Congress 2009, attended by delegates from 54 countries, a Resolution was passed for the international safeguarding of White Lions by governments around the world and all appropriate bodies (Wild9 Resolution 33). This Resolution was initiated by elders from several different international tribal authorities in support of the White Lion Trust.
In South Africa, in the Greater Timbavati Region where the White Lions originated, the privately owned reserves continue to exploit trophy hunting of lions and other rare animals (so-called “Big Five”). These commercial trophy hunting practices are putting the reoccurrence and survival of the critically endangered White Lions at great risk.
The White Lion Trust has presented twice to the South African government calling for the urgent protection of the unique White Lions as a global heritage (see: www.pmg.org.za).
However, legislation protecting this unique South African heritage has still failed to be drafted. “Canned Hunting” has now been legalized. READ MORE…)
Without legislation to protect the White Lions, the Global White Lion Protection Trust have been compelled to impliment 10 critical urgent action steps in the White Lion Protection Plan™: READ MORE: White Lion Protection Plan™,
- Safeguard the intangible White Lion Cultural Heritage (Unesco Convention 2003)
- Safeguard the integrity of the natural and cultural heritage site (National and World Heritage Convention)
- Sacred Site Accreditation: White Lion ancestral lands
- Identify Genetic Marker for the white phenotype
- Identify & protect gene carriers of highest genetic integrity
- Purchase White Lion ancestral lands
- Re-establish & safeguard White Lions within their endemic habitat
- National protection: National Biodiversity Management Plan
- International protection: Listing on IUCN Red Data List
- National and International protection: CITES/ SA threatened animal of national importance
Without regulation and policing of National policy around lions and White Lions in particular, these reprehensible malpractices are continuing to multiply out of control – a conservation crisis that is risking international condemnation of South Africa’s conservation methods and ethos.
In conservation circles, and international indigenous forums, the lack of appropriate legislation for protection of this endangered heritage is considered a travesty of justice.
Spiritual luminaries such as Deepak Chopra, Andrew Harvey and the Dalai Lama have added their voice to the cause. [See interview with Deepak Chopra www.whitelions.org
International Letters of Support
Saving the White Lions has been an unstoppable 20-year campaign, with ruthless opposition over the years from numerous parties with vested interests.
Our unfailing efforts to prevent the White Lions from eradication through trophy hunting malpractices have attracted letters of support around the world, from many different sectors, adding their voice to the Global White Lion Protection Trust’s efforts to have these animals protected by international law.
These include Sir Richard Branson, Sheryl Leach, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Deepak Chopra, President of South Africa’s Council of Traditional Leaders, King Phathekile Holomisa, President of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, Dr Apela Colorado, and High Priest of African Traditional Knowledge, Credo Mutwa.
International Letters of Support - Extracts
Private Sector Support
“I would certainly be happy to lend my name to support such a wonderful cause”.
*Sir Richard Branson (UK)
“My intention... is to support the critical work of this noble project. I, and many of my friends and associates here, in the States, respect and admire the work being done by the Global White Lion Protection Trust in its endeavors towards protecting South Africa's unique white lions, and the Trust's long-term scientific reintroduction program of white lions to their original endemic birthplace of the Greater Timbavati region. I feel that the work being done, on behalf of the White Lions, has global significance and is much needed in our troubled world of today.”
*Ms Sheryl Leach (USA)
Creator of Barney The Purple Dinosaur
Benefactor of over $2M in the White Lion conservation project for acquisition of extended tracks of heritage lands to assist the White Lion Protection Plan™
Leading Conservation Figures Support
“South Africa's White Lions are held in captivity in zoos all over the globe including my own country, the Netherlands, yet here in their natural distribution range they are afforded no protection. This is unacceptable. We wish to draw your attention to the urgent conservation principles of our day, which dictate that a natural asset such as Timbavati's White Lions are not only South Africa's living heritage; they are in fact a world heritage of great conservation and cultural and spiritual value. We all have a responsibility to preserve and protect such a genetic rarity for the lions themselves and our future generations.”
*Princess Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld of the Netherlands
“I can authenticate the pedigree of the project being undertaken on the part of the White Lions. I am fully supportive of the charitable aims and objectives behind Linda Tucker’s work: the protection of the White Lions and the reintroduction of the threatened animal back to its natural distribution range and the consequent preservation of wilderness areas which are the White Lion’s natural habitat”.
*Dr. Ian Player (SA)
Founder Wilderness Foundation
World Authority Conservation
“Having been closely associated with the Global White Lion Protection Trust since it was founded in 2002; I wish to strongly emphasize Open Africa’s support for the White Lion Trust’s initiative of returning the White Lions to their endemic natural habitat after a decade of extinction in the wild. I am delighted …with progress you are making with this huge task on behalf of the people of South Africa and the protection of their heritage. In the same way that planting a tree means making shade for someone in a 100 years time, your efforts are going to be meaningful for untold generations to come”.
*Noel de Villiers, (SA)
CEO Open Africa Patron: (Nelson Mandela)
“White Lions… need to be protected with the highest level of legislation. To even consider canned or any other hunting of this iconic variant that is unique to South Africa is a travesty and a huge opportunity lost. The world’s media and public eyes are on this issue and we should not view it as a burden to avoid getting bad PR, but an opportunity to excel”.
*Derek and Beverly Joubert (Botswana)
National Geographic Organization, lion conservation authorities
“As an interested and affected party, with a shareholding in the APNR directly neighbouring on the Timbavati Reserve, I have been closely advising on this project since the Global White Lion Protection Trust was founded in 2002. I support the Global White Lion Protection Trust’s commitment to establishing the White Lions as South Africa’s national assets as well as a global heritage”.
*Don MacRobert (SA)
Founder Getahead Foundation,
Former Chairman National Zoological Gardens and legal advisor to the South Chinese Tiger Project.
“The Global White Lion Protection Trust’s reintroduction program has received support throughout the United States, where this important conservation initiative is being closely monitored by hundreds of interested individuals, businesses, churches and other parties. Thank you for supporting the pioneering efforts of the Global White Lion Protection Trust in reintroducing the White Lions to the Timbavati region. We believe this is an international issue of the utmost importance”.
*Brad Laughlin (USA)
Executive Director Corelight NGO
“I am writing to you as a community development worker who has much concern, interest and care in for the plight of the White Lions and their future in the land of their heritage, the greater Timbavati region… This is not an issue for only the direct neighbours to decide, it is a global issue”.
*Jeanette Colbert (USA)
Field Project Manager, Limpopo Region, Seeds of Light Organization
International Indigenous Leadership
“On behalf of the Worlwide Indigenous Science Network, and the more that thirty countries that we serve, I urge you to safeguard your White Lion world-class inheritance; create a legacy of your tenure; pass legislation to protect the White Lions from all trophy hunting, canned hunting and genetic alterations. To the sectors that oppose the restoration of the White Lions of Timbavati, it must be said, that while big game hunting will always have a place in the world, the hunting of unique, perilously endangered White Lions is an example of sectoral pragmatism which global insanity and furtherance of a mindset based in dangerous assumptions of separation and privilege.”
*Dr. Apela Colorado (Hawaii)
Worldwide Indigenous Science Network.
“White Lions represent a unique South African heritage and living resource that can prove not only to be sustainable but also prove to contribute to the enhancement of life on planet earth.”
*Dr. E. Richard Atleo (CANADA)
Indigenous elder of the Ahousaht First Nations, Professor at Manitoba and Victoria Universities and specialist in Sustainable utilization of sacred heritage resources
“ No-one in their right mind would travel to Siam and there murder the rare White Elephants. But people come to South Africa to brutally murder the White Lions of Timbavati in the name of manliness and sport. The sacred icons of other nations are respected, revered and protected. But the icons of Africa are massacred with cold impunity…”
*Credo Mutwa (SA)
African Isanusi (High Priest)
“As a registered organization with 3,500 members and thousands of supporters, we strongly endorse this White Lion Recovery/sanctuary program, especially as it parallels our spirit bear conservancy project in British Columbia.
We strongly recommend your government support a similar program tailored to your South African environment and urge you to fully protect and recover this rare White Lion genotype though whatever conservation measures are necessary.
*Valhalla Wilderness Society (Canada)
Biologists for Canadian Spirit Bear Project
"We consider it unconscionable that some of the White Lions are still a trophy species. In B.C trophy hunting of the white bear was outlawed decades ago. Protection of the White Lion also means protection of the ancient cultural/heritage linkages between First Peoples and wildlife...
Rest assured that your support of the White Lion Conservation efforts in your country would be internationally applauded.”
*Valhalla Wilderness Society (Canada)
“I have been advising Linda Tucker and the Global White Lion Protection Trust since before the organization was founded in 2002. I fully support:
1) the WLT's conservation initiatives of returning the White Lions to natural free-roaming conditions in their endemic homeland of the Timbavati Region, after decades of extinction in the wild
2) The WLT reintroduction program
3)The WLT long-term commitment to preserving this country’s natural heritage
4) The WLT commitment to preservation of the White Lions, which commitment goes hand-in-hand with the community upliftment, social responsibility programs and cultural and educational program.”
*King Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa
President CONTRALESA, MP Parliament
“This letter serves to express the support of the Limpopo Provincial Council of Traditional Leaders for the Global White Lion Protection Trust’s two-fold initiative of preserving the White Lions as our national treasure, and preserving indigenous African culture and tradition. As an intended Cultural heritage Site for the White Lions, it will ultimately serve as a gateway in to the region, bringing eco-tourism and cultural tourism to the Timbavati and neighbouring areas”.
*Chief Kgoshi Setlamorago Thobejane MP
Chairperson Limpopo CONTRALESA and Parliamentary MP
“As Ehlanzeni District Municipality we are in full support of the protection of all endangered species and the White Lions in particular. We are totally opposed to the segregation experienced by these creatures over the past decades. The preservation and return of the White Lions to their region of origin has to be celebrated in line with the cultural heritage of that particular region”.
*Dr. Jeri Ngomane,
Executive Mayor, Ehlanzeni District Municipality
“The White Lions of Timbavati are our unique regional and national heritage. They occur naturally only in this region and are, therefore, our treasured heritage and pride... It is our firm belief that our communities can prosper economically and socially from the eco-cultural conservation and development programs run by the White Lion Trust and their partners in the industry. Rather than having small groupings of citizens benefit through practices of lion hunting, specifically canned lion hunting in the area, we believe that economic development through tourism and conservation and broad based community empowerment will strengthen and support the sustainable growth of our region. We as the Maruleng Municipality fully support the work of Global White Lion Protection Trust and urge the South African government to hear their voice”.
*Mr. M.J. Mafogo,
Mayor of Maruleng District Municipality