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Author Topic: Note from Ranulph Fiennes about Lions in Africa, dinner 18 Jan in London  (Read 17655 times)

7summits

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The following was sent by Ranulph Fiennes, who has no connection with 7summits.com, but I thought it might be interesting:

(update: also do read the critiques on these programs in the posts below!)

"Dear Friends,

Following my visit to Zimbabwe in September with Louise, Alexander 
and Elizabeth (aged 16 months), we were amazed to find the image 
portrayed by the UK press was very different to the reality that we 
experienced in many parts of the country.

We had an amazing time during our stay, being involved with the 
African Lion project run by an organization called ALERT (African 
Lion Environmental Research Trust www.lionalert.org ).

We were shocked to find out that in only the last 30 years the lion 
population in the whole of Africa has diminished from some 200,000 to 
only 16,000 despite numerous habitat conservation projects already in 
existence.

Since its inception at Antelope Park, Gweru, ALERT , through careful 
genetic work and breeding strategies  has been able to successfully 
create a family pride and a 4 stage release programme to help 
steadily increase the number of lions into areas carefully protected 
from poachers.

To this end, with assistance from the Royal Geographical Society in 
London, I have offered my 'Living Dangerously' lecture, combined with 
a presentation by ALERT on their brilliant work, at our fundraising 
evening and dinner on the 18th of January 2008.

I would, therefore, urge any of you with the slightest interest in 
having 'THE KING OF THE BEASTS' alive and prospering for 
generations to come (instead of becoming another entry on the extinct 
list), to attend what will be a memorable and enlightening evening.

To purchase tickets, call Claire Timlett on 0207-287-4261 or send an 
email to claire@bubblesqueak.co.uk .

In the meantime, we wish you a wonderful Christmas and New Year and 
look forward to seeing you on the 18th January 2008.
Kind Regards and apologies for sending this to you as an impersonal circular.

Ran Fiennes

P.S. If that date is difficult for you, but you do however feel you 
would like to help to save the african lion from extinction, 
donations can be made by sending a cheque made out to ALERT to me, at 
the Greenlands office, or direct, by bank transfer, to the details on 
the website www.lionalert.org.
"
« Last Edit: Feb 12 2008, 03:43 by 7summits »
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Some more details, this is your chance to chat with one of the living famous explorers!

“An Audience with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and ALERT”

-   Your chance to hear and question Sir Ranulph Fiennes on his Living Dangerously lecture and learn about the plight of the endangered African lion –

On Friday 18th January 2008 “An Audience with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and ALERT” will provide people with an exclusive opportunity to hear and question Sir Ranulph on his worldwide adventures. As well as discussing quests such as searching for lost cities and being the first man to visit both the poles by land, Fiennes will also be discussing his work as patron to the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust, ALERT.

ALERT is a non-profit organisation that helps in the release of rehabilitated African lions back into the wild. Based in Zimbabwe, this organisation strives to ensure the future of the “King of Beasts” as shockingly, the African Lion is close to being on the endangered species list. In less than 30 years, there has been an 80-90% population decline of the African lion, with no sign of this decrease slowing down in the near future.

“The evidence is too great to deny that action must be taken now to ensure the future of the African lion,” comments David Youldon, ALERT Chief Operating Officer.

The event will take place at The Royal Geographical Society, from 7.00pm onwards. Guests have the choice of purchasing two types of ticket to this event:

Lecture Ticket – Lecture access only - £25
VIP Dinner Ticket – including drinks reception, priority lecture seats and auction dinner - £150

If you wish to purchase tickets, please call Georgia Hill-Stewart on 0207 287 4655 or send an email to georgia@bubblesqueak.co.uk

-   ENDS –

About ALERT: The African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) is a non-profit organisation working with governments, wildlife authorities and private organisations to identify suitable release sites for African lions. ALERT will also provide infrastructure to those sites to facilitate the release and to protect local communities. It was founded in 2005 to support the work of the African Encounter Lion Rehabilitation and Release into the Wild Programme.

For more information on ALERT, please visit www.lionalert.org

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PantheraNegro

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I thought people interested in the above should read the following statement from some of Africa's leading lion researchers on this project.  For more information contact me directly:-

Fundis comment on the Proposed “Walking with Lions” Project
24 August 2006

Members of the international scientific community voice their serious concerns and strong opposition to the “Walking with Lions” tourist attraction currently being proposed by African Encounters and Safari par Excellence in Zambia. “Walking with Lions” is a purely commercial enterprise. The purported conservation value of a captive breeding and release program for lions has not been demonstrated. Indeed, many aspects of the proposed program appear ill conceived.

For example, hand rearing of lion cubs will ensure that these animals are imprinted to humans, and that they will thereafter lack natural avoidance behaviors. Teaching hand reared cubs to hunt as sub-adults will not decrease their dependence on humans, nor will it alter their imprinted behaviors. Indeed, semi-tame lions may be as dangerous as wild lions. Recently (August, 2006) in South Africa, three 2½ year-old lions escaped from a game farm and killed two workers. The lions were obtained as cubs and raised by hand. In Tanzania, wild lions kill nearly one hundred people each year, the majority of them villagers. Alteration of lion behavior through captive breeding, hand rearing, and release of semi-tame animals or their habituated offspring is both dangerous and irresponsible when considering the safety and welfare of humans and their livestock in Zambia.

“Walking with Lions” will require a constant supply of cubs. The possibility that this program would result in overbreeding of lions and subsequent development of a canned hunting industry in Zambia, or trade in surplus lions to canned hunting interests in other countries cannot be ignored. Fair hunting practices of wild lions are paramount to Zambia’s commercial hunting industry. For Zambia to associate itself in any way – either real or perceived – with canned hunting of lions could have far-reaching negative impacts on this industry. Currently, Zambia is moving towards ensuring the long-term protection and survival of its lion populations by supporting field research that examines distribution and abundance of lions countrywide, and a genetic assessment of lion subpopulations. It is also actively seeking to establish sustainable quotas through development and implementation of an age-based trophy selection program.

The claim that releasing captive bred lions into national parks and wild areas will serve any conservation purpose by augmenting lion numbers is wholly unsubstantiated. Further, it fails to take into account the genetic structure of lion subpopulations in Zambia. Far from proving advantageous, the released animals may, in fact, introduce deleterious genes or diseases into Zambia’s established wild lion populations, or otherwise alter the local adaptations of the naturally occurring genetic stocks.

Given reasonable protection from excessive mortality and sufficient food resources (e.g., game species), wild lions have the capacity to naturally repopulate a depleted area. In addition to conserving local genetic adaptations, the advantages of natural recovery versus introductions include greater stability to pride structure and movements, and greater predictability as to distance and direction of dispersers. Moreover, a naturally recovering predator population will exist at a density that is appropriate for both game populations and available habitat, thereby reducing the risk of conflict with humans and livestock.

It is emphasized here that “Walking with Lions” has no conservation value. If African Encounters and Safari par Excellence’s desire to assist with conservation of African lions is sincere, they will devote themselves to supporting established programs and organizations that are working towards the restoration and protection of Zambia’s wild lands and animals, and seek to educate their clientele in a similarly responsible fashion.



Dr. Paula A. White, Director, Zambia Lion Project
Center for Tropical Research, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Dr. Craig Packer, Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
University of Minnesota, USA

Dr. Luke Hunter, Director, Great Cats Program
Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, USA

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PantheraNegro

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And another recent additional statement, by one of Africa's leading lion experts (posted with his permission):

1 - ‘Rehabilitated’ captive-bred lions can only be released into relatively small areas, such as properly fenced-off game farms and private nature reserves. In such case, invasive management will always be necessary, such as removing of the breeding males to prevent inbreeding, replacing them with younger, non-related males, which are fully adapted to that specific ecosystem.

2 - In such case the older males will have to be placed elsewhere – and where will that be? I’m of opinion that such males will have to be hunted for trophy purposes, such as was the case in Pilansberg. Trophy hunting, if scientifically managed, is not a negative, though it will always be controversial.

3 - Rehabilitated lions do not have natural fear or respect for humans, and, as was the case with the Born-Free lions of George and Joy Adamson, they will become man-eaters. Few people are aware of this, and I’ve always wondered of this fact remains untold because it may suit some people’s philosophies. Such lions also become livestock raiders.

4 - There are no vacuums left in Africa where free-ranging lions can be reintroduced. Human encroachment will have to be controlled, and to achieve that, we will have to convince African governments to cooperate – please refer to the Regional Lion Strategies of IUCN.

The Alert Project has no conservation value at all. Wild, free-ranging lion populations cannot be saved from extinction through this method. We should rather spend our money and expertise to find ways of protecting existing wild lion populations.

Dr Sarel van der Merwe
Chair: African Lion Working Group
Associated with the Cat and Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of IUCN/SSC
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PantheraNegro

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African lion encounters: a bloody con

By Chris Haslam
From The Sunday Times
February 10, 2008

http://travel.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_a...icle3333595.ece

Chris Haslam reveals the gruesome truth behind big-cat conservation projects that are championed by British tour operators

It’s the latest attraction for tourists visiting southern Africa, but conservationists are warning that walking with lions is – quite literally – a bloody con.

Dozens of private game parks across South Africa and Zimbabwe offer, or have offered, tourists the opportunity to walk with, handle and be photographed with lion cubs.

Excursions to some, such as the Aquila Private Game Reserve, outside Cape Town, and the Seaview Game and Lion Park, in Port Elizabeth, are offered by tour operators such as Kuoni, Virgin Holidays and the Holland America cruise line.

Antelope Park, in Zimbabwe, charges about £20 for a 90-minute lion encounter it describes as “not just a very privileged photo opportunity, [but] the chance for you to become a conservationist”. The park’s African Lion Environmental Research Trust (Alert) programme is enthusiastically supported by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who, on his www.7summits.com website, praises its efforts “to help steadily increase the number of lions into areas carefully protected from poachers”.

The Sunday Times, however, has learnt that, far from being released into the wild, as many as 59 lion cubs raised at Antelope Park have been sold to big-game-hunting operations to be shot for sport.

So-called “canned hunting”, where rich trophy-hunters pay thousands of pounds to shoot big game in fenced enclosures, is big business in southern Africa. The price of shooting a lion bred in captivity ranges from about £9,000 to £16,000, and the breeders who supply the trade are struggling to keep up with demand.

While some estimates suggest that there are less than 20,000 wild lions remaining in Africa, the International Fund for Animal Welfare reports that another 3,000 languish in captivity, bred as targets for trophy-hunters. But breeders have found a lucrative sideline to the bloody business of feeding canned hunts. By removing cubs from mothers after about four days – to induce another breeding cycle – they can rent them out to tourist parks to participate in lion-walking attractions.

Tourists and the gap-year students employed as guides – many of whom have paid up to £2,000 for conservation placements with agencies such as Real Gap and All Africa Volunteers – are told that the lion cubs are being raised for release in the wild, but big-cat expert Dr Sarel van der Merwe, of the African Lion Working Group, says this is impossible.

“Captive-bred lions can be released only into relatively small areas, such as fenced-off game farms and private nature reserves. Invasive management will always be necessary, such as removing the breeding males to prevent inbreeding,” he says. “In such cases, the older males will have to be placed elsewhere – and where will that be? I’m of the opinion that such males will have to be hunted for trophy purposes.”

In fact, there’s not much else you can do with a hand-reared lion. “Hand-rearing of lion cubs will ensure that these animals are imprinted to humans, and that they will thereafter lack natural avoidance behaviours,” warns Dr Luke Hunter of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Put another way, captive-bred, hand-reared lions have the potential to become man-eaters, and thus can never be allowed to roam free.

Daniel Turner, of the animal-welfare group the Born Free Foundation, says that captive-bred lion cubs often have their teeth and claws removed, and are drugged before meeting tourists. “These animals are bred entirely for entertainment and derive no benefit whatsoever from these operations,” he said. “We urge people not to participate in any form of interaction with lions or other big cats.”

Neither the Alert programme nor Sir Ranulph Fiennes could be reached for comment, but the Aquila game reserve, in South Africa, said that, following complaints from tour operators, it had now ceased offering lion-cub petting. In an e-mail to The Sunday Times, the park said: “We do not have lion cubs at the moment, but we do have cheetahs you could interact with.”

Kuoni said that it works with the Born Free Foundation to ensure that the excursions it offered were ethical, but that it is sometimes impossible to stop customers being offered unapproved products by suppliers. “

Kuoni currently features Aquila as an overnight excursion from Cape Town, as a safari experience,” it added. “Given the allegations regarding cub petting, which is condemned by Born Free, Kuoni has withdrawn Aquila from sale until further notice while investigations are being carried out.”
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Thanks Panthera,

good to hear the other side and maybe things will change.

It is the question though, how good the research skills of Mr Haslan from the sunday times are if he writes:
Quote
"Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who, on his www.7summits.com website," 

::)
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DYouldon

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P R E S S S T A T E M E N T

ISSUED JOINTLY BY ANTELOPE PARK, ALERT, AND SIR RANULPH FIENNES IN RESPONSE TO THE SUNDAY TIMES ARTICLE “AFRICAN LION ENCOUNTERS: A BLOODY CON,” PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 10, 2008


To: online.editor@timesonline.co.uk
newsdesk@sunday-times.co.uk
travel@sunday-times.co.uk
Chris_Haslam@ipcmedia.com

Date: 11th February 2008

Contact: Marleen Lammers, PR Manager, Antelope Park, Gweru, Zimbabwe Email: marleen@africanencounter.org
David Youldon, Chief Operating Officer, ALERT, Gweru, Zimbabwe Email: david@africanencounter.org
Sarah Raine, PR Manager, Real Gap, Kent, United Kingdom
Email: Sarah.Raine@realgap.co.uk

The article “African Lion Encounters: A Bloody Con,” which was written by Chris Haslam, and published in the Sunday Times on Sunday February 10, is full of inaccuracies. We feel that this article strongly misrepresents ALERT, a trust that is dedicated to ensuring the future of the African Lion, and Antelope Park, where the programme is based.

The article claims that “as many as 59 lion cubs raised at Antelope Park have been sold to big-game-hunting operations to be shot for sport.” No lion from Antelope Park has ever been, and never will be, intentionally sold for canned hunting. African Encounter is completely against canned hunting. Our freely available information clearly states this. A total of 39 lions have been sold by Antelope Park since the current owners acquired the property in 1987. 37 of those lions were sold, in two groups, one in 1999 and the majority in 2002 to a captive centre in South Africa. There was a pre-condition on the provision of an export permit by the Zimbabwe Wildlife Authority that those lions could not be used for canned hunting.

Furthermore, the lions that were exported were to be monitored by the relevant wildlife authorities within South Africa to ensure that the provisions of the sale were upheld. Two further lions were sold to a private breeder within Zimbabwe, not associated in any way with hunting, in 2005. No other sales of lions have ever taken place.

The article also states that tourists and volunteers “are told that the lion cubs are being raised for release in the wild,” and that “captive-bred, hand-reared lions have the potential to become man-eaters, and thus can never be allowed to roam free.” At no time are any visitors to the project informed that the captive bred lions will be released into an unfenced area. We are fully aware of the fact that captive bred lions without a natural fear of humans can become man-eaters, and this is why this form of release has never formed part of the release programme. All the information provided by Antelope Park and ALERT clearly states that the captive lions are rehabilitated into a fenced, managed eco-system, free of humans, where they will have offspring. These cubs are raised by the pride (stage 3 of the programme), in a natural environment free of any human contact. They will therefore be able to be released into the wild with the same avoidance behaviours towards humans as any wild born lion.

Furthermore, the article states that Antelope Park employs tourists and gap-year students as guides. Antelope Park does not use fee-paying tourists or gap-year students as guides. These self-funded eco-tourists pay for the opportunity to work alongside our guides and lion handlers to further the conservation, research and community work that we undertake.

As a specific example of these eco-tourists, the article mentions “agencies such as Real Gap.” David Stitt, Managing Director of Real Gap comments: "As market leaders in the gap break market, Real Gap's policy is to endorse responsible conservation programmes. Antelope Park is an ethical, well-managed programme. It is clear in all our correspondence with our volunteers that the lions that they work with are part of a captive programme. Our volunteers do not have physical contact with those lions in the stages of the programme where the aim is eventual release into the reserves and national parks."

In addition, the Sunday Times article quotes two scientists, Dr Sarel van der Merwe and Dr Luke Hunter of the Wildlife Conservation Society, on the pitfalls of releasing lions into the wild. Antelope Park has actually received a letter from Dr van der Merwe advising us and supporting us on the work and research that we were doing. In an email that was sent on June 12, 2004, he told us the following: "Generally speaking, the feeling amongst scientists is that captive bred lions cannot survive in a natural environment. I beg to differ. I have reviewed too many reports to the contrary…I believe one can rehabilitate the lions." Additionally, we have also received the following from Dr Pieter Kat, a senior lion expert, in June 2005:

"…we can begin programmes of lion reintroduction in a wide variety of depopulated areas. Such programmes will not only be immediately positive, but will also place lions squarely in the category of animals like rhinos whose plight seems to be better appreciated by the international conservation community. This is why I am appreciative and excited to be involved by the initiatives taken by Antelope Park. Through years of self-funded and determined effort, they have developed a program of re-introduction that has a very good chance of success. Predators of any description are notoriously difficult to reintroduce, but now we have at least a workable plan. As I said, the future of African lions is in African hands. Let us salute those who have been steadfast to ensure this future, and recognize that any action is better than the currently looming extinction of an African icon if we do nothing."

In August 2007, we released our first pride of lions into stage two; a managed ecosystem where the lions have been successfully hunting for six months now. They have brought down prey from warthog to adult giraffe, which is a remarkable achievement from the captive cubs that they were. The ALERT and Antelope Park programme is also involved in conservation of other species, research and community development in order to provide sustainable programs to the benefit of Africa's wildlife and its people.

With regards to the treatment of our lions, a letter we received from WWF Southern Africa Regional office (written on January 10, 2005) following visits by independent ecologists, Zimbabwe Park And Wildlife Authority, and Society for the Protection of Animals, states that the Antelope Park programme is "highly ethical and extremely well managed." Keith Dutlow BVSc, MRCVS and Lisa Marabini BVSc, MRCVS, two vets we have been working with during the past two years, complied to this in a reaction to the article, stating that “as independent consultant vets to Antelope Park since February 2006, we can attest that since that time, no animal has ever been de-clawed, de-fanged, or drugged for entertainment purposes. Also, every lion at Antelope Park has been micro-chipped and no lions have been sold to other operators nor removed from the program under suspicious circumstances since our involvement.”

Furthermore, according to the article, “[n]either the Alert programme nor Sir Ranulph Fiennes could be reached for comment.” Neither Antelope Park nor ALERT are aware of any attempts of the Sunday Times to contact them for information. In fact, the email below sent to us by Sacha Lehrfreund from the Sunday Times Picture Desk, on 6th February, requesting photographs was responded to immediately with an offer of furnishing The Times with details of our lion rehabilitation and release programme, but no such offer was accepted. When no response was received, our marketing department placed a call to the picture desk on Thursday February 7th, but this was rudely dismissed. The paper’s representative claimed to have no time to talk to us, and refused to transfer us to any of her colleagues.

From: Evans, Sara [mailto:sara.evans@sunday-times.co.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 1:46 PM
To: info@africanencounter.org
Subject: Walking with Lions - Pictures for the Sunday Times, London

Hello

We are running a feature in the Travel section about 'Walking with Lions' and I'm hoping that you could supply us with some photographs from Antelope Park, preferably of people walking alongside lions. We will of course credit your organisation. The article would appear on 10th February and we go to press tomorrow, so I'm hoping that you are able to help at such short notice.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thanks
Sacha

Sacha Lehrfreund
Sunday Times Travel
Picture Desk

Contrary to the article’s claims, Sir Ranulph Fiennes was never contacted by the Sunday Times either. His response to the article is as follows: “I am proud to be a small part of ALERT and I am ashamed of the uninformed Sunday Times article “African lion encounters: a bloody con” as an example of the worst type of libelous, inaccurate writing. This by a journalist bent on thrashing ALERT, a highly worthwhile body of individuals, black and white, in Zimbabwe whose sterling non profit efforts to protect the endangered African lion deserve praise not lies.”

Anyone is free to visit Antelope Park to see for themselves how we operate, and how our various conservation, research and community programmes are benefiting Africa. We feel that anyone wanting to make comment about the voracity of our aims should at least make an effort to find out about the programme and read the freely available literature.
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Just came in, a related pressrelease...

PRESS RELEASE

NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF C.A.C.H HONOURS AQUILA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE FOR ITS CONSERVATION EFFORTS

22 February 2008 – Cape Town’s 4-star Aquila Private Game Reserve has been honoured by Chris Mercer the National Director of ‘Campaign Against Canned Hunting’ by presenting the owner of Aquila – Searl Derman -with a ‘CACH ETHOS Certification’ due to Aquila’s high standards of lion conservation.

On Friday 15 February 2008 Mercer accompanied by Beverley Pervan a fellow Director of CACH, paid a visit to the Big 5 game reserve to inspect and witness first hand the lion conservation efforts. In 2007 Mercer himself received the International ‘Marchig Trust Award’ for animal welfare http://www.marchigtrust.org/recipients.htm

(Other winners of this prestigious award include, Jill Robinson of Animals Asia Foundation for her work with Chinese bear bile farms, Maneka Gandhi of India,  Shirley MacGreal, who founded the International Primates Protection League, Celia Hammond to name a few.)

States Mercer, “There are few sanctuaries in South Africa, if any, where the lions are better cared for than at Aquila. There are very few eco tourism resorts in S.A which can qualify for the ETHOS certification by CACH because of the stringency of our ethical standards.  However we have had no hesitation in issuing a certificate in respect of Aquila.” visit www.cannedlion.co.za/ethical-tourism/wcape.htm

Known locally as the Champion of the Poor, Derman comments, “I am extremely proud to accept this on behalf of all my staff who have worked so hard over the years to make Aquila Private Game Reserve a beacon of conservation hope.”

True to Aquila’s marketing statement ‘Real Africa...Real Close to Cape Town’, the reserve situated just under two hours from the Mother City, has saved over 10,000 acres of land from degradation and has rehabilitated the land to create a well maintained conservation area with free roaming members of the Big 5 and an enormous amount of safari game.

Aquila’s highly successful cheetah program, as part of their conservation effort, currently offers a free educational introduction to the cheetahs, highlighting the plight of the free ranging big cat and their critically diminishing numbers. The cheetahs were captive bred and not ‘born free’ nor do they form part of Aquila’s game drive and the experience is strictly controlled and in the interest of cheetah survival worldwide. Guests however are not allowed to directly interact with the cheetahs but are given a comprehensive talk on the plight of these beautiful cats.

The endangered Riverine rabbit takes pride of place at home at Aquila and ongoing assessment and support is high on our agenda to make sure that it thrives on the reserve and its numbers increase. The Aquila Riverine Rabbit Relief conservation project will involve R250 000 of infrared solar powered CCTV camera monitoring equipment to gather valuable information on the rarest animal in South Africa.

 MORE…

P.2 AQUILA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE FOR ITS CONSERVATION EFFORTS

The Aquila Black Eagle monitoring project was the first major project that the fund embarked on and is done in conjunction with the Western Cape Raptor Research Programme as well as Swartlands winery – The Black Eagle Project - Aquila was actually named after the rare and endangered black eagles that are found on the reserve. A three year forecast, the first and second phases are underway which entail surveying areas for nesting eagles and to source accurate mapping of vegetation, land use etc. It monitors breeding success over a number of seasons, ringing and patagial tagging of adults and nestlings. The fund supplies equipment to enable volunteers to conduct their fieldwork to the greatest effect:

Plans for a day centre on the reserve have already been created, which will house the interpretation centre where guests will have access to the monitoring systems of the eagles with transmitters.

Other projects planned for 2008 are to build the Aquila Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) – Aquila has provided 35 hectares of land bordering the 4,500 hectare conservancy, intentions are to build a raptor rehabilitation centre, as well as an in-house veterinary clinic to assist with the many wild animals, ranging from baboons, injured or orphaned caracals, etc. that are constantly brought to Aquila’s doorstep.

Aquila has gone to great lengths to protect the rare and endangered Cape mountain leopard that has been persecuted by hunters and farmers alike. Aquila funded the veterinary care, transport and release of a leopard that was caught in a trap by a farmer, who had lost 30 sheep. The leopard was successfully released at Aquila and leopard kills and spoor are often seen. Solar powered CCTV transmitters are soon to be installed in some of the most remote mountain areas on the reserve so further studies can be undertaken.

Coupled with the above we are proud to have been in the top 3 finalists of the prestigious FEDHASA responsible tourism Imvelo Awards for the past 3 years.

Those interested in contributing and assisting Aquila with any of the above projects, please contact conservation@aquilasafari.com.

Ends/.

This press release has been distributed on behalf of our client, Aquila Private Game Reserve

Editors supporting information:

For further information on the certification contact any of the British animal welfare charities such as League Against Cruel Sports, Advocates for Animals - Scotland, WSPA, IFAW, Born Free etc. 

Personal reference on Chris Mercer can be sought Mr. Les Ward MBE, Managing Trustee of the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust in Scotland, telephone:  0044 (0) 1555-840991 email: lesward@marchigtrust.org

Chris Mercer – Campaign Against Canned Hunting

Tel: + 27 44 877 1495 or email chrisandbev@mweb.co.za

 www.cannedlion.co.za
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DYouldon

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An article “African lion encounters: a bloody con” printed in the Travel Section of the Sunday Times newspaper on 10 February 10 2008 said that as many as 59 lion cubs raised at Antelope Park had been sold to big game hunting operations to be shot for sport.

Antelope Park filed a complaint with the newspaper as well as with the Press Complaints Commission as well as publishing a press release refuting these claims. Evidence to corroborate our position was provided to both the newspaper and the commission and also made available to other interested parties.

Today, the newspaper has printed a retraction of that allegation

"We accept that the owners of the park never have and never will intentionally sell lions for “canned” hunting....We regret any impression that Antelope Park co-operated in the supply of animals for hunting."
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