Global White Lion Protection Trust White Lion Reintroduction Programme
Examples of Letters of Support – (Extracts)
- To: Minister Martinus van SchalkwykFrom: Valhalla Wilderness Society –Biologists for Canadian Spirit Bear Project As a registered organization with 3,500 members and thousands of supporters, we strongly endorse this program (“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. 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.”
- To: Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. From: Nkosi Adv. Patekile Holomisa MP (President CONTRALESA) – “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”.
- To: Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. From: Dr. Jeri Ngomane, Executive Mayor, Ehlanzeni District Municipality“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”.
- To: Chairperson of NCOP From: Mr. M.J. Mafogo, Mayor of Maruleng District Municipality. “This letter serves as a support of the White Lion Community Conservation Project, which is reestablishing and protecting a national heritage of great consequence in our region. 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”.
- To: Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. From: Kgoshi Setlamorago Thobejane, Chairperson Limpopo CONTRALESA: This letter serves to express the support of the Limpopo Provincial CONTRALESA 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”.
Private Sector Support
- To: Global White Lion Protection Trust. From: Sir Richard Branson – “I would certainly be happy to lend my name to support such a wonderful cause”.
- To: Dept of Environment and Tourism From: Ms Sheryl Leach US Creator of Barney, The Purple Dynasaur – Investor of over R10 000 000.00 in the White Lion conservation project Acquisition of Neighboring Land to assist the White Lion Protection Plan™ 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.
Leading Conservation Figures Support
- To: Minister Martinus van Schalkwyk From: Princess Irene van Lippe-Biesterfeld of the Netherlands – “This is an endorsement of a letter written by the Global White Lion Protection Trust on 19 June 2006, addressing concerns in respect of the conservation of South Africa’s unique White Lions. 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.”
- To: Whom it may concern From: Dr. Ian Player, Founder Wilderness Foundation. – “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”.
- To: Global White Lion Protection Trust From: Noel de Villiers, CEO Open Africa (Patron: Nelson Mandela) – “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 WLT’s initiative of returning the White Lions to their endemic natural habitat after a decade of extinction in the wild. I am delighted that your dedication and resolve is being rewarded in the 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”.
- To: Mr. Martinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs. From: Derek and Beverly Joubert, National Geographic Organization, authoritieson lion conservation, Botswana. “We have long been supporters of your progressive and sensible policymaking and management style with regard to South Africa’s parks, natural resources and environment. South Africa is the region’s, if not the continent’s, leader and role model in all things from the economy to the environmental management, so it is heartwarming to see it under such rational and intelligent thought. All eyes are on South Africa now. By 2010 (the year not the soccer milestone) when $200 Billion a year is predicted will be spent on eco tourism annually, we need to be positioned to take advantage of that based on rational, responsible and ethical decisions that are made today. Included in this, I have to add that special animals, like the White Lions, which have just so much potential to boost tourism and our reputations, really 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”.
- Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. Regulatory & Environmental Impact Management From: Don MacRobert, Founder Getahead Foundation, Former Chairman National Zoological Gardens and legal advisor to the South Chinese Tiger Project. – “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”.
Representatives From Neighbouring Reserves
- To: Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism. From: Trevor Jordan, Proprietor Jordan Properties Limpopo,Co-founder Thornybush Private Nature Reserve – “As an interested and affected party and primary landowner in the area, I wish to express my support for the Global White Lion Protection Trust’s reintroduction program of the White Lions into the Greater Thornybush/Timbavati region”.
- From: Marco Schiess, former Committee Member, Timbavati Executive Committee. “I am of the opinion that such a Heritage Site would contribute to tourism in our area”.
- To: Global White Lion Protection Trust From: Ross Kettles, Warden, Greater Makalali Private Nature Reserve. “The members of the Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve are familiar with the objectives of the Global White Lion Protection Trust and in a recent meeting agreed that we would be eager to assist your organization by donating two lionesses”.
- From: Shirley Glyn, Private Landowner, Oliphants River Game Reserve. “By virtue of my ownership of shares in the Oliphants River Game Reserve, I am an interested and affected party (IAP) in respect of the White Lion reintroduction project in the area and being discussed at a meeting of IAP’s on Saturday 2 April 2005. This project is a major milestone in the natural and conservation history of South Africa. It can only be viewed as an opportunity for the community in the area to regain a part of their lost cultural heritage”.
Foriegn Donor Support
- To: Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism. From: Brad Laughlin, Executive Director Corelight NGO, USA “As an interested and affected party, with a shareholding in the Greater Timbavati region, we would like to support the Global White Lion Protection Trust’s commitment to establishing the White Lions as South Africa’s national asset, as well as a global heritage. 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”.
- To: Department of Finance and Economic Development. From: Jeanette Colbert, Field Project Manager, Limpopo Region, Seeds of Light Organization USA. – “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. I am the field project manager for a nonprofit organization, called Seeds of Light, based out of the USA. This is not an issue for only the direct neighbours to decide, it is a global issue”.
International Indigenous Leadership Support
- To: The Select Committee on Council of Provinces From: Dr. Apela Colorado, President, Worldwide Indigenous Science Network. – “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”.
- To: Select Committee, Council of Provinces From: Dr. E. Richard Atleo (Umeek of Ahousaht) Research Liaison: University of Manitoba Adjunct Associate Professor: University of Victoria, Canada Co-Chair of the Scientific Panel for Sustainable Forest Practices – “(The) capacity to enhance life is the hidden treasure represented in the White Lions. The appearance of these White Lions in South Africa requires one of two interpretations: One, to consider their immediate economic gain through canned hunting or, two, to consider their deeper meaning to the long term well-being of life on the planet. The first interpretation has been the course taken by your government. In the long term this course of action provides the least economic gain since it is a practice that runs against the changing global values toward sustainability. The second interpretation makes both sustainable and economic sense since both the rarity of the White Lions, as a species, and their legitimacy is supported by the scientific community.”