The Global March for Lions held on March 15th was a roaring success in terms of support and media exposure. Now the real fight starts. By Des Langkilde.
Despite thousands of protestors marching for lions in cities around the world, and 1,449,201 signatures (as at 04 April ) on Avaaz.org, it is yet to be seen if the South African government takes cognizance and decisive action against the canned hunting of lions and other captive bred predators by passing legislation in similar terms to CITES Decision 14.69, banning the farming of lions for the sale of their body parts.
The Memorandum of Protest , delivered at marches around the world, also called for CITES to include lions with the other big cats listed in the Appendix 1 category of CITES; to have all commercial trade in lions banned – and criminalized. To the EU Commission, to stop pandering to the hunting fraternity by banning the import of lion trophies, and to the United States Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, to raise the status of lions to Endangered.
The unified message to the world, to “Forget Sustainable Use. It has become Sustained Abuse! Start protecting and preserving our wildlife heritage” came across strongly at all of the Global March for Lions events.
Africa – South Africa
Cape Town Organisers: Jenni Trethowan, Wynter Worsthorne, Lizette & Ryan Ord, Sheila Wilson, Melanie & JC Thomet, Jane Martin, Geila Wills, Nikki Elliott and Carol Kruger.
Approximately 2 000 warriors for our lions, came together to march down the streets of Cape Town. Marchers’ chants rang out calling on President Zuma, Minister Molewa and Minister van Schalkwyk to ban this vile industry. At the gates of Parliament, the Cape Town Opera Choir welcomed the crowd with their version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight, while Rev Mpho Tutu addressed marchers and expressed her, and the Desmond and Leah Tutu Foundation’s support for the cause.
Followed by +600 supporters of the Campaign Against Canned Lion Hunting in South Africa, they were met by Councilor Logi Naidoo and members of the Inkatha Freedom Party who also joined the protest march. Director of the Tourism Tattler, Bev Langkilde, led the Durban March to the beat of African drums by DrumShack Jon playing alongside the participating supporters. Chief Mangosuthu Buthulezi’s daughter also stood in support with their own specially made banner: “Save our Environment – Ban Canned Hunting”.
Organisers: Stephanie Blair, Linda Park (photo below), Drew Abrahamson, Chris Voets, Smaragda Louw, Daniella Lupini.
An estimated 3,000 marchers in Johannesburg were witnessed by masses of local and overseas press. Agence France Presse and Associated Press ran it as their lead story. All the TV stations has coverage on Saturday night news bulletins.
Pietermaritzburg Organiser: Gail Thornhill.
We drew attention to the ‘lion park’ which falls within the jurisdiction of the Pietermaritzburg municipal area, but also to force Ezemvelo headquarters who control our provincial parks to take note, both of which we achieved.
Africa – Kenya
Mombasa Organiser: Jamey Ponte (President/Founder at Child Wellness Fund).
The Kenya Lion March event was organized by KUAPO (Kenyans United Against Poaching) and received fantastic support – especially from children.
Africa – Senegal
Dakar Organiser: Vicky van Gemert.
We assembled near the SA embassy in Dakar at 11am with a group of 50 schoolchildren from a local school. Animals (any animal) do NOT feature on the list of priorities in Senegal. We were in fact laughed right out of the police station (literally) when we applied for permission to march! Despite the Lion being the national symbol of Senegal, not many people have ever seen a lion here.
Asia – China
Hong Kong Organiser: Rosana Ng.
Hong Kong had about 180 people , which included drummers, musicians, celebrities and children. We delivered our memorandum of protest to the South African Consulate. Hunting is not a popular game in Asia, yet. We must make sure that this so-called sport does not become popular here. However petting zoos are in many parts of China and Asia.
Asia – India
Hyderabad Organiser: Visala.
India is not very used to seeing much agitation for animals, so it must have been a sight to see us walking 5km with our big banner and plaques.
Asia – Israel
Israel Organisers: Boaz Fyler, Lee Reshef, Sharren Haskel, Anat Umansky.
100 Marchers showed up for the march in Israel, despite the hard rain storms. The central protest was staged under the South African embassy where we roared at them to ban canned hunting immediately.
Asia – United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi Organiser: Ronel Barcellos.
Abu Shubai had an attendance of 174 people.The article and photos in Gulf News was well received by everyone the next day. Our Lions received a lot of exposure and hopefully a few people left more aware. Abu Dhabi Wildlife Centre (ADWC), as the host venue for the march, is constantly in the news regarding the work that they are doing to rescue and rehabilitate big cats.
Europe – Belgium
Brussels Organiser: Ingrid Ser.
While we were with only 60 people standing outside the South African Embassy we made noise for at least 120. The speech in English was given by Sonja De Meyere, and the speech in French was given by Christian Michel project coordinator and Board member from the Jane Goodall Institute Belgium.
Europe – Netherlands
Amsterdam Organisers: Stichting SPOTS, VIER VOETERS (Four Paws Netherlands), WAR International. Spokesperson: Simone Eckhardt.
Thank you to all of the Amsterdam marchers for the efforts done, pictures taken and shared and all of your very good energy. We hope you keep on spreading the news, we can’t loose this magnificent animal! And hope you stay in touch, through our websites, newsletters and/or social media.
Europe – Romania
Buhusi Bacau Organiser: Babi Sava.
Around 150 children of all ages, from 6 year-olds to 19-year-olds, took part in the March for Lions organized by the high school students of the local college – “Ion Borcea” Technical College in Buhusi, Romania.
Europe – United Kingdom
London Organiser: Paul Tully.
As the Westminster council failed to close roads, the organizers held six smaller separate marches, fanned around the city to converge on Trafalgar Square. Almost 900 people had signed up, with many estimating 1000+ on the day.
Birmingham Organiser: Kerry Partridge.
Around 100 lion lovers of all ages gathered in Birmingham to roar against canned hunting . With support from the Born Free Foundation and the Global White Lion Protection Trust, we raised a lot of awareness and opened a lot of eyes to the realities of canned hunting.
Edinburgh – Scotland Organiser: Malena Persson.
Over a 100 marchers gathered in Edinburgh Old Town with placards, plush lion toys and colourful face paint. A function was held after the march at the ‘The Arcade Haggis and Whisky House’ and the organizer agreed to launch a ‘Don’t Pet Cubs’ campaign, with its slogan “The only cub I’ll ever pet is a toy one”.
Europe – Spain
This topic of “canned hunting” is one that not many here in Spain are aware of at all and I was so pleased to see their very positive reaction to the whole presentation. Great music, great bongos. Our priest, Father Ron, summarized everything for us by reading Albert Schweitzer´s “Prayer for The Animals.”
North America – USA
Austin, Texas Organiser: Kalli Doubleday.
A little over 50 marchers from Austin, Dallas, Louisiana, and places all in between, gathered in front of the Texas State Capital. We marched down Congress Ave, making our way through the crowds of the SXSW Festival. We certainly got lots of exposure with the amount of people in town for this event!
Chicago Organisers: Louis Salas
From the get go the Chicago march hit road blocks. The vastness of the St. Patricks day parade, (over 500,000) which paraded on our exact route past the consulate, and finished in Chicago’s famous millennium park near the South African consulate and the equally famous lion statues outside of the Art Institute of Chicago.
New York City Organiser: Sarah La Rocca
The New York City protest was held in Washington Square Park. About 200 protesters attended. Two information tables had flyers about canned lion hunting and The petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the African lion as endangered was available. We collected over 300 signatures.
Phoenix, Arizona Organizers: Dr. Renee Behinfar, Hannah Brisso and Adrienne Xagoraris. Principal organizer: Dr. Renee Behinfar.
The march took place at the State Capitol. We defined trophy hunting, provided an update on local and international contributors and addressed one of the hubs of the industry located in Tucson, Arizona – Safari Club International.
Sacramento Organiser: Jody Hanson.
In Sacrimento, we were able to reach out to many people and had a great day raising awareness. Our printing costs were paid for by CAPE (Center for Animal Protection and Education) in Grass Valley.
Washington DC Organiser: Lisa Ann Tekancic, WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society.
Seventy devoted marchers convened in Washington DC to deliver one global message to the South African Ambassador. A representative from the SA Embassy was sent by the Ambassador to accept CACH’s Memorandum of Protest on his behalf. Our mission accomplished!