In the midst of a global lion crisis that treats Africa’s most Sacred Animals as a killing commodity in cross-border trade, Linda Tucker has dedicated her life to the solution. The Global White Lion Protection Trust is a world leader in new-paradigm conservation strategy.
The Global White Lion Protection Trust, founded by Linda Tucker and established together with the expertise of Jason A. Turner, is a leading conservation organisation situated in one of the world’s most important ecosystems – UNESCO’s Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere.
Registered in 2002 as NPO/Public Benefit Organisation, after a decade of prior research on the ecological and cultural importance of the White Lions, this pioneering community-based organisation has a long track-record of uniting Indigenous knowledge and modern science to help save species.
Born by natural occurrence in this region only on earth – one of the world’s last surviving lion ranges – the White Lions play a critical ecological and cultural role in the greater system.
Ecologically, as the apex animal in this ecosystem, the White Lions restore trophic balance throughout all species in this sensitive biodiversity hotspot.
Culturally, as the ‘King of Kings’ and a living symbol of good governance, the White Lions restore all ‘kingdoms’ and are revered by wisdom keepers as the holiest animals on the African continent.
After commercial lion trophy hunting and other forced removals in the Timbavati region rendered the White Lions technically extinct in the ’90s, the Global White Lion Protection Trust instituted a successful reintroduction programme of these magnificent luminous animals back into the land of their origin, purchasing vast tracks of bushveld wilderness lands to create a protected area in the heart of the White Lions’ natural ancestral homelands.
Although the Global White Lion Protection Trust has achieved triumphs against formidable odds for the White Lions, their ancestral lands, and the greater community, the crisis facing Panthera leo today is catastrophic.
While the White Lions are celebrated as a sacred living heritage by local tribes, these luminaries have been mercilessly persecuted by the modern world for their majesty: trophy hunted in the wild; artificially removed from their ancestral lands into zoos and circuses around the planet; and worse: forcibly bred in “death camps” in South Africa’s now-notorious cuddle-to-kill captive industry: cuddled as cubs by tourists, then killed as adults by trophy hunters and lion-bone traders.
Linda Tucker has been campaigning against this diabolical industrialising of lions since the early ‘90s, and famously rescued a White Lion born in one of these death camps, before returning her together with her own cubs to the wilderness land of her origins, where her lineage survives to this day. Marah is a legendary lioness, born on Christmas Day 2000, in a South African lion-killing operation called ‘Bethlehem’.
After the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) legalized the lion-bone industry in 2017 by approving permits for cross-border trade in dead lions, as many as 1500 lions have been killed annually in South Africa, and exported as skeletons to Eastern markets, including China, Korea and Laos. Appallingly, these beautiful creatures, held under abysmal conditions of cruelty before being slaughtered for their carcasses, are the same lions who were once manhandled as baby cubs by people, including tourists and children on school outings.
Over the decades, Linda Tucker and her team have presented at Parliaments in South Africa and Britain, calling for a prohibition of this abomination.
In 2018-19, the Global White Lion Protection Trust convened a delegation which presented on behalf of the lions at South African Parliament and subsequently helped formalise a coalition of international conservation and animal welfare organisations to hold governments accountable globally. Significant progress has been achieved through these collaborative efforts, with our sites on permanently shutting down China’s ‘wet’ wildlife markets following the COVID-19 global pandemic, a catastrophe caused by “zoonotic spillover”, which this coalition had warned governments long in advance of its occurrence. Human consumption of certain species, such as predators (lions) and primordial animals (pangolins), break the fundamental laws of nature.
Moletele traditional leadership/traditional healers: South African Parliament 2019
As a conservation leader with a track record of achievements over the decades, the Global White Lion Protection Trust uses its international acclaim to influence a paradigm shift, not only in wildlife management but also human consciousness.
The organisation does so by initiating and modelling this paradigm shift within its own programmes on the ground, while espousing leadership development locally and internationally through the LionHearted Leadership™ training initiatives developed by our sister organisation, the Linda Tucker Foundation, inspired by the White Lions and all they represent by way of earth stewardship.
In the heart of the UNESCO’s Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere region, using traditional living methods and heart-centred values combined with cutting-edge science, the Global White Lion Protection Trust has been implementing a multi-stakeholder strategy since 2004, thereby restoring unity amongst people and unification of wildlands.
The aim is to ensure that Lions, Land, and People live not only sustainably, but flourish in harmonious co-existence.
Moving beyond historical wildlife management methods of patriarchal domination and exploitation, which showed little regard for time-honoured Indigenous ways of reverential stewardship, our core vision is one of deep and lasting transformation based on a loving and respectful approach to Mother Nature: transforming human-wildlife conflict into a living model of harmonious co-existence between wildlife, Land and People.
The White Lions are a genetic rarity of great cultural and conservation importance, unique to this region. Culturally, the White Lions are associated with restoration of ethical leadership, while ecologically, they are the capstone species critical to the regeneration of their ecosystem. Their luminous colouring is not albinism, but the result of a rare genetic code, which was finally identified in 2013 after 6-years of collaborative international research, initiated by the Global White Lion Protection Trust.
The critical cultural and conservation importance of these luminaries is now widely accepted by an ever-growing global community, despite widespread misinformation about the White Lions disseminated by parties attempting to justify holding them in captivity. Misconceptions about White Lions being unable to hunt and survive in the wild were disproved based on 2 decades of primary research in the field. Click here to read the full scientific article, Effects of a colour variant on hunting ability: the white lion in South Africa, written by Jason A. Turner.
We recognise that the dignity and welfare of the local Indigenous communities are directly linked with the survival and wellbeing of the iconic White Lions as a proud living heritage. Furthermore, Linda Tucker’s life’s work identifies that these luminous animals – referred to as ‘StarLions’ in her work – hold the key to emerging leadership in humankind. The natural laws of the ecosystem, so radiantly embodied by the White Lions themselves, led Linda Tucker to develop the 13 Laws of LionHearted Leadership™, a leadership methodology that is now being implemented from pre-school to tertiary educational level, and available online.
The plight of the White Lions is catastrophic – yet indicative of the state of Earth, a consequence of the diminished condition of human leadership in our times, which has lost its ‘heart’. The heart-centred consciousness shift upheld and modelled by the Global White Lion Protection Trust drives all its initiatives, advocacy and pioneering research in service of the planet.
Protecting the White Lions’ ancestral lands holds the key to our unification strategy.
According to African record keepers, the Heartlands of the White Lions is an ancient Sacred Site, protected by African kings for many hundreds of years before Kruger National Park was proclaimed in 1926. In the first language, the White Lion Heartlands is known as ‘Tsau’, meaning ‘StarLion’. It has since been recognised by ASSEGAIA (Alliance for the Sacred Sites of the Earth Gaia), the global authority on Sacred Natural Sites, calling for much stricter protective measures.
Watch here as Linda Tucker presents at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2020, on behalf of the ASSEGAIA, Alliance for the Sacred Sites of Earth Gaia.
In the ‘90s, Linda Tucker’s ground-breaking research first revealed geographic and geodetic links to Ancient Egypt, published and shared with the world in her book, Mystery of the White Lions (Earthyear 2001). She identified that the birthplace of the White Lions in Tsau – the heart of today’s UNESCO Kruger-to-Canyons Biosphere – aligns exactly with Giza (Egypt), resting place of the Sphinx, thus uncovering a profound mystery that links White Lions with humankind’s greatest lion riddle.
According to Credo Mutwa, South African healer and prophet, known during his lifetime as ‘The Living Library of Africa’, the original meaning of the word ‘Timba-vati’ – now the name of a commercial private nature reserve in the region – refers to: “The Place where the StarLions came down.”
Le Ciel Holistic Livings Symposium has listed the pioneering work of the Global White Lion Protection Trust in protecting the White Lions Sacred Site as one of their founding projects.
Over the decades, the Global White Lion Protection Trust has established a strong track record of creating mutual benefits for Lions, Land, and People, with a particular focus on Indigenous peoples and their living heritage. The Global White Lion Protection Trust provides jobs and accommodation on-site for over 40 personnel from diverse backgrounds and influences the welfare and livelihood of many thousands, connecting rural communities to the modern global community whilst preserving their ancestral roots.
Collaboration across culture, age, gender, religion – even species – is a key principle behind the LionHearted Leadership™ model.
The luminous White Lions, as an ecological and cultural symbol of unification and good governance on this planet, provide a perfect inspiration to support our commitment to unify people and protect wildlands.
Locally, our leadership programmes foster the celebration of the White Lions as a living heritage amongst our two local cultural groupings, the Sepedi and the Tsonga peoples, creating unity across racial divides. The White Lions are also recognised as a sacred heritage by Indigenous wisdom keepers from all other continents, including the USA.
Khoisan leadership: South African Parliament 2019