Important Key Milestones for the White Lion Reintroduction Project:
The White Lion Reintroduction Project was ‘officially’ birthed in 2001 with the publishing of Linda Tucker’s book “Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sungod”, and was the result of 10 years of research and first-hand experience of the White Lions’ natural history and mythological origins.
Sequence of project phases:
- 1990 – 2001 – Researching and publishing of Linda Tucker’s book: Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sungod;
- 1997 – Commence the ongoing awareness raising activities in respect of protecting the White Lions and conserving traditional knowledge systems that regard them as sacred. This includes actively highlighting malpractices in respect of the canned hunting of White Lions. ‘Canned hunting’ refers to the removal of endangered animals from the wild into captivity where they are hand-reared to be shot as trophies.
- 2002 – The rescue of an iconic White Lioness, Marah – born on the 25th of December – from a canned hunting camp in Bethlehem in the Free State province of South Africa. She is believed to be of particular importance by the indigenous elders. Her mother was a wild lioness removed from Timbavati. The significance of her birth was prophesied by Maria Khosa two years prior;
- 2002 – Founding of the Global White Lion Protection Trust – a non-profit organisation;
- 2003 – Acquisition of a piece of reserve land (600 hectares), identified by indigenous elders as the ‘heart of the sacred heritage lands’ in the TImbavati region;
- 2004 – Reintroducing Marah and her three cubs into their endemic habitat in the newly acquired reserve land;
- 2005 – Rescuing a male White Lion with the ‘purest genetic integrity’ from a canned hunting camp and including him in the Reintroduction project. He was due to be trophy hunted before Linda Tucker intervened;
- 2005 – Establishing a formal association with indigenous communities in re-claiming the natural and spiritual homelands of the White Lions;
- 2006 – Dialoguing with present land-owners regarding the expansion of the project to include neighboring lands into a conservancy for the protection of the White Lions.
- 2006 – Coordinating public participation meetings with local land-owners with a view to changing the hardened pro-hunting ethos of the region;
- 2007 – Initiating the Shangaan community craft development project. An initial 50 women to be trained, building out to 100, 250 and 500 community members;