This weekend I was invited by the Global White Lion Protection Trust and the Linda Tucker Foundation to learn more about the White Lions of the Timbavati and to take part in their amazing new #OneUnitedRoar Campaign.
The primary aim of the Global White Lion Protection Trust is to re-establish White Lions in the area in which they once occurred naturally.
The #OneUnitedRoar Campaign invites people to see things from Nature’s perspective, and to celebrate our natural heritage, in order to become effective agents of change.
CITES will be meeting next month to legislate on the protected states of Panthera Leo (Lions) and we need to ensure that the lions remain on the protected species list.
I was very excited to be part of this special weekend and when we arrived on a late Friday afternoon we were greeted by the lovely staff at the private reserve. The fire was going and dinner was being made while we watched an informative video on how Linda Tucker came to start the Linda Tucker Foundation and the White Lion Protection Trust.
We woke up at 5am on Saturday morning for a game drive. And it was SPECTACULAR! The reserve was incredibly dry due to the crippling drought in the area – food had been provided to the herbivores on the reserve.
Jason Turner, the Lion Ecologist, drove us on the game drive and was incredibly informative about the area, wildlife, birds and of course the lions. He tracked the lions along the road on the edge of the reserve – they had obviously been doing a quick territory check. Lions are nocturnal creatures and by the time we found the two males, they were dozing in the early morning sun.
That afternoon we join in on a celebration with the local Shangaan, “StarLions” from local schools, volunteers and employees of the White Lion Protection Trust. The ceremony was beautiful, not a touristy type event, completely authentic and sacred. The Shangaan Traditional Healer burnt an offering and they danced. The young “StarLions” recited beautiful poems and sang songs. The rangers, who protect the wildlife on this preserve, showed us how they pass the time by playing songs on the Monkey Apple.
As nightfall came, we were rewarded with the most beautiful display of stars, the moon so big it gave light to the darkness.
The next day we woke early for one last game drive – we wanted to go and see the female white lions before we left. They were very elusive and we happened upon them when we decided to leave! We also saw many Golden Baboon Spider nests, and vultures.
The #OneUnitedRoar Talent Challenge
The #OneUnitedRoar Talent Challenge invites participants to “Ask the Lion.” LionHearted kids (under 15) and young adults (16-21) will express themselves by singing, dancing, acting, or giving a speech – then share it on video, so their voices are heard. Entries close on the 15th of September.
6 “StarLions” will be flown to the heart of the While Lion territories during the CITES Convention to speak for the lions.
The talent challenge is intended to bring support for the plight of lions from all corners of the earth through the voices of the future – the children.
Visiting the Global White Lion Protection Trust is by invitation only. They run volunteer programmes and sometimes have special photography retreats. Follow their Facebook page or go to their website for more information.
I stayed as a guest of the Global White Lion Protection Trust and would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart for letting me be part of their sacred and beautiful ceremony.