It has been quite some time since my last newsletter. I have had a very busy start to this year, which I feel is full of positive potential. As long as we continue going with the flow, staying positive and taking action where needed, we will all have a great and successful year.
New Royal cubs
A few weeks ago, Tswalu the golden lioness of the Tsau Pride, part of the Global White Lion Protection Trust’s project to protect and reintroduce wild white lions to their endemic homeland, revealed the 3 cubs she had so wonderfully kept well hidden in the river bed, in order to protect them through their first fragile weeks of their life.
The cubs’ father is Zukhara a pure white lion, although Tswalu cleverly bonded with both brothers to ensure the full protection of the cubs. These golden cubs carry the white lion gene and are the next step to bringing back into balance the gene pool of the white lions, which has been distorted by the artificial removal of white lions from their homeland. Fortunately, through the work of Linda Tucker, Jason Turner and the White Lion Trust, people are becoming more aware that White Lions are a valuable part of the ecosystem and conservation diversity of the area. The greater Southern Kruger and Timbavati areas are the only place in the world where these incredible animals occur naturally. Jason Turner’s project has proved that they are not freaks of nature, as commonly perceived, but are apex predators who hunt and survive as successfully, if not more so, than their golden brothers and sisters.
If you are interested in the scientific side of this, please read Jason’s published paper here.
Opportunity to visit the royal prides
I have been invited to bring a group to visit the new royals and the rest of the family. This journey will take place from the 7th- 10th July. This is the only group visit I will be facilitating this year. So don’t miss out. During your time in the magical space of Tsau Conservancy with the lions and all the other beings with whom they co-habit, you will remember your innate ability to communicate with all animals, and feel your deep connection to nature and how we are all a part of this one-ness.
Please visit Star Lion Journeys for more information.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
I hope you are able to join me for this very special experience.
Opportunity to work at the White Lion Trust
The position of Volunteer Programme Manager has become available. If you are passionate about wildlife and people and want to assist in this groundbreaking project, working on the ground with the animals and the dedicated people who care for them, and want to get out of the rat race of the city, this may be ideal for you. As with most non profit organisations, the wage is minimal, but the rewards are invaluable.
Please email email@example.com for the full job spec and more information.
Communicating with Baboons in Bibbyshoek
I’d like to bring your attention to a small group of residents in the Knysna area of Western Cape, South Africa, who approached me in order to find peaceful solutions to their increasing conflict with the baboons who live in the same area. After an initial meeting to discover how bad the problem was and what solutions the residents had thought about, I was invited to teach a half day workshop on interspecies communication.
The results are ground breaking. The residents who had been badly affected with baboons “breaking in” to their houses; destroying property and trees; actively and consciously started putting what they had learnt into practice and were amazed at the shift in attitude within themselves and the baboons.
I received an email from one of the residents about a month after the workshop, and his words describe the results very well:
“With regards the baboon activity, here are a couple instances of changed behaviour since I began to implement the dialogue techniques you taught us:
– The first time I noticed a shift in behaviour was after regularly sending out the message to the local troop that they were welcome to come onto our land, but only in the horse paddock. The message I was sending out was using the fence line as a barrier and the image of baboons and horses on one side and human and dogs on the other. I began to notice how the baboons started to adhere to my request, but what stood out for me was the one morning when I went down to quieten my dog from barking at them across the fence, I approached with a greeting of respect and love directed at the troop and my dog stopped barking as the message seemed to travel across. I stood watching the troop going about their business and for the first time ever my dog got bored and trotted off.
– There seems to be a possibility of calming my dogs of late when the troop is around. There doesn’t seem to be a frenzied antagonism between the 2 species, which I think the baboons appreciate.
– Just after you were here last time the baboons were on our land for almost the entire day. They caused a little bit of mischief early on, so I went and had a long ‘chat’ with them. I walked into the forest and drew strict boundary lines and requested that they stay away. Their response was, “We’re not going to leave, we’re having fun.” From then on they merely hung around and very politely and calmly went into the trees and ate fruit or sat on the grass eating bugs and whatnot – no broken branches, no antagonism between them and the dogs, no ‘attacking’ the house and causing mess. It was very respectful. They seemed to appreciate the dialogue.
– We have had our large old pear tree bearing fruit and I asked the baboons to leave it alone. Their response was, “But you’re not using [the pears].” I had to smile because they were right. The pears are quite hard and not really fit for human consumption. So I changed the request to “Please respect the branches of the tree.” They normally destroy the poor old tree and this year it’s been relatively unharmed.
– There have been break in instances in the Bibbyshoek area. But this I put down to an almost naive, childlike belief in only putting out positive messages to the baboons and then leaving the house unprotected and inviting. I feel it’s easy for people to fall into the mindset that the dialogue is a one size fits all solution to human/nature interaction. Nature is wild and unpredictable and we as humans need a more broad approach to dealing with issues.”
I am confident that the attitude of these residents will have a ripple effect and slowly but surely people will come to see that this is how we CAN live harmoniously with our animal neighbours.
Around the world, wildlife living on the urban edge is becoming more and more common with the increase of human habitation and decrease of natural wild habitats. Most wildlife will adapt to the human environment, taking advantage of the easy food and perhaps more comfortable shelter. Baboons are not the only animals that are in conflict with humans, but I believe similar principles of respectful communication and harmonious living is possible with all species, whether it be elephants in Africa, foxes and badgers in England, or bears and wolves in northern Europe and America
There is a great need for people to be educated in how interspecies communication can assist in helping all species live respectfully together. I encourage all my students to put into practice what they are learning and perhaps start facilitating this kind of living in their own community. For the intermediate students studying the Level II Academy Course (see below), this may be something you are called to do in “finding your path”.
Animaltalk Africa On-line Academy
I have been head down completing the Animaltalk Africa On-line Academy. This correspondence course has been developed over the last ten years, and now offers Introduction, Intermediate and Advanced courses as well as a Practitioner Certificate course. If you are called to truly start connecting with and really understanding animals and nature, join my global community of students in this interactive academy.
I am only running a few physical workshops this year. Please have a look at my events page for information about introduction and advanced workshops in South Africa and Europe.
with much love and many blessings to all of you and your animal friends.
NB: all white lion photos copyright Global White Lion Protection Trust