Apr 30, 2015

Global Alliance Off to a Roaring Good Start in 2015!

Global Alliance member meeting with Smithsonian
Global Alliance member meeting with Smithsonian

Dear donors,

We have been hard at work on the Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation and wanted to share an update with you. As always, we thank you for your generous support.

In March of this year, we hosted Global Alliance member, CEO of the Global White Lion Protection Trust, who was in the United States for a number of important meetings. Additionally, there were gatherings in California, Hawaii, New York, and Washington, D.C., during which she shared the status of white lion conservation efforts with local communities. Important meetings with geneticists at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. were also a part of this U.S. tour. These meetings may result in a partnership in genetics research, which may help influence the results of the next CITES meeting to be held in Durban, South Africa. CITES is threatening to downgrade the status of lions, which could have a terrible impact on conservation efforts. Determining genetic links could play a role in reversing that. We are hopeful that a successful partnership will result from these meetings.

We also held a special program to engage some of the littlest conservationists, which we hope will blossom into a more wide-reaching, community-based awareness building campaign to support big cat conservation. The first meeting—where we met with inner city school children to talk about big cats, the importance of conserving them, with a particular focus on the White Lions—was a raoring success. The kids were very excited to learn and had many thought-provoking questions. Afterwards, they completed an art project (see photos), and they roared their tiny yet mighty voices in the fight for conservation!

Next month, several Alliance members will be convening in the remote regions of Siberia where communities and Elders will hold Snow Leopard conservation discussions and ceremonies. We will send you an update next quarter about the outcome of those meetings.

Stay tuned, and roars of appreciation for your continued support! 

Kids' white lion art project
Kids' white lion art project
Hard at work showing support for the big cats!
Hard at work showing support for the big cats!
Feb 4, 2015

Jaguar meetings in Oaxaca, Mexico

Male jaguar at Yaguar Xoo
Male jaguar at Yaguar Xoo

Dear donors,

In the Spring of 2014, Jaguar Elder Ernesto Olmos traveled to his homeland in Oaxaca, Mexico. He met with Jaguar scientists and Elders and through his meetings, he suggested that Oaxaca be considered as the next venue for the Global Alliance for Big Conservation gathering. 


We traveled to Mexico earlier this month to establish feasibility of conducting our next gathering there. We met with biologists and officials from the following agencies: Yaguar Xoo (a zoo doing extensive research on the jaguar), Director of CEDRIIL, CONAMP officials, as well as with a leading archeologist in the area. We also met with Elders and held ceremony on Jaguar Mountain.

We discussed the current state of Jaguars and what's being done through government and through local communities to help conserve jaguars in the region. Once numbering 600,000, there are now a mere 3,500-4,000 jaguars living in the wild in the area, the majority of which live in the sierras north of Oaxaca City. Due to the same issues facing big cats around the world—habitat encroachment, poaching, etc.—they are in danger of becoming extinct. 

We are still in discussions about where we will hold the next gathering, but Oaxaca is a strong possibility. Some of the benefits of gathering in this area include: the presence of the Jaguar is very strong; it's a very diverse area with strong ties to culture and tradition; there's a strong pride in indigenous culture and communities are already banding together and working with government officials to lead conservation efforts; and, there is a good connection to other global alliance gathering spots—there is a real sense of Oaxaca as being a place of origin.

Stay tuned and thank you for your continued support! 

Black Jaguar at Yaguar Xoo
Black Jaguar at Yaguar Xoo
Meeting at Yaguar Xoo with biologists
Meeting at Yaguar Xoo with biologists
Jaguar Mountain
Jaguar Mountain
Nov 4, 2014

Rpt 2 on Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation

Bushmen participant
Bushmen participant

SUMMARY:

This fire was started in the Uluu Ot ceremony in Kyrgyzstan in 2006. May we continue to build this sacred fire of unity and healing for Mother Earth.

                                                “We make fire with our thanks."  ~ Credo Mutwa

It was only fitting that the first official Global Gathering for Big Cat Conservation convened on the ancestral homelands of the White Lions, king of kings, and in the spot on earth on which humankind originated. Shamans, elders, and scientists traveled from the four corners of the Earth to meet, pray, and share ideas about conservation throughout the week together. The 17 souls in attendance represented white lions, snow leopards, leopards, and tigers, as well as the sacred wolves of France.

The gathering launched at sunset on Ingwavuma (Lion) Day with a fire ceremony guided by the drums of local healers and was followed by a traditional poike meal around the fire. Throughout the week, participants shared with one another formally, through presentations, and informally, through ceremonies, at meals, and during other activities, including a visit to a local school during which local learners performed, danced traditional dances, and recited poetry for us. The group also traveled to Kruger Park, one of the largest biospheres in the world, to see additional African wildlife.

Participants woke up each morning to the sounds of the grey loeries and other birds and had the opportunity to spend time with the White Lions each day. They gave in depth presentations throughout the week, sharing about their cultures and organizations, and giving a voice to the species they represented.

The week concluded with breakout groups and brainstorming sessions during which the group discussed how to technology could serve efforts to conserve these sacred species, and the group also outlined next steps for the Alliance (below), including concrete action items that can be taken before our next gathering. 

The shadow showed up as well. Two elders—one representing the Jaguars of Mexico and one representing the Black Lion of Ethiopia—were unable to join the delegation at the last minute. Also, one elder arrived to the gathering quite ill. Others within the group subsequently fell ill during the week. However, everyone was feeling stronger and better by the conclusion of the gathering.  

Highlights of the gathering:

  • Big cat shamans who would not otherwise have had a chance to meet were brought together and encouraged to participate on their own terms, fully supported by Western-oriented conservationists.
  • Those who had previously been working in isolation were able to share challenges, struggles, and successes with others who truly understand.
  • Through discussions of oral histories and language, ancient ties were remembered among cultures separated by vast expanses of geography.
  • The diversity and multiplicity of training, culture and language were accorded respect. Western oriented presentations and discussion were counterbalanced with cultural protocols and ceremonies; as a result, relationships emerged based in common understandings and trust, critical for moving the Alliance, with its far flung membership, forward.
  • Sacred species were given a voice. Dreams, visions and cultural understandings complemented the “facts” of Western conservation.
  • Concrete action steps were discussed and outlined creating a foundation to move forward in unity and strength.

We are immensely grateful to all who helped make this gathering possible; to the sacred species and the Ancestors who brought us together; to the foundations who provided financial support; and to those of you provided individual financial support.  

Presentation about the state of the Kalahari lion
Presentation about the state of the Kalahari lion
Kyrgyz elders meet with students at local school
Kyrgyz elders meet with students at local school
Attendees at opening ceremonies
Attendees at opening ceremonies
Chinese participant discussing South China tigers
Chinese participant discussing South China tigers
 
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