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Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance

by Worldwide Indigenous Science Network
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Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance

Dear Donor,

 

Thank you for all that you do to help us bring Western and Indigenous knowledge systems together for the conservation of these beloved big cats. These cats, as we’ve indicated in previous communications, are important not only in their own right, but because our very survival depends on theirs! We are immensely grateful to you, to the ancestors, and to the spirit of the big cats.

 

WISN has worked closely with Jaguar Artist, Musician, and Indigenous Cultural Practioner (ICP) Ernesto Hernandez Olmos for many years. He conceived of and has begun plans for a jaguar sanctuary, within which the Ceremonial Center of Spirituality, Art, and Culture of Oaxaca will be housed. ICP Olmos will direct the center.

 

The center was created with the objective of preserving the ancestral traditions and practices of the Elders by focusing on the culture and spirituality of the Jaguar. The teachings and practices of spiritual ceremonies and rituals of healing, such as the Temazcal, plant medicine ceremonies and sound therapy (healing via the sound of ancestral instruments), will all be a part of the center which is currently under construction.

 

The aim is to promote education and awareness to the next generations and to bring awareness to the importance of protecting the jaguar and its habitat, which represents our mother earth. ICP Olmos, international spiritual healing arts practitioner and member of the WISN network, has worked for several years to build community and institutional connections to support the Jaguar of Light in Oaxaca, Mexico. He has been working with wisdom keepers, scientists and historians from three different continents with the goal of preserving the ancient historic connections of the sacred cats such as white lions of Timvabati, white leopards of Asia, white tigers of Russia and China, and Jaguars of the Americas. 


In 2015, he started developing the Central American Network of the union of scientists and shamans working together for the preservation the of spirituality of the jaguar and the conservation of its habitat and well being. WISN is supporting him in his efforts.

 

Please help us to help Indigenous Cultural Practitioners like Olmos who understand the importance of preservation of sacred cultures and connections to share the cosmovision that inspire humanity to return to balance. 

An example of ICP Olmos' artwork
An example of ICP Olmos' artwork
More examples of ICP Olmos' artwork
More examples of ICP Olmos' artwork
Jaguar of Light from Oaxaca
Jaguar of Light from Oaxaca
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Dear Donor,

 

Our mission is to save the apex cats from extinction and to ultimately save the earth’s ecosystems by bridging Indigenous and Western sciences to develop new, radical conservation methods.

 

Why It’s Critical now more than ever—Indigenous prophesies understood the critical times we are now experiencing. Habitat destruction, poaching, and destruction of native traditional values have brought the big cats to the brink of extinction. Without these culturally central, sacred animals, entire ecosystems will die.

 

Alone, neither science nor indigenous knowledge can stop the extinction of snow leopards, lions, tigers, and jaguars. Through the Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation, we are working with Western science to find new ways of conservation.

 

In June, WISN partnered with a Mexican-based organization called Naturalia. The Mexican government is only doing so much. This organization, working with local communities in Northwestern Mexico, is purchasing and establishing private protected lands for Jaguar conservation. While they have the conservation expertise needed for such a project, WISN offers expertise in bridging the cultural, indigenous perspective with Western science in an effort to create new forms of conservation that aren’t only based in one realm.

 

Naturalia and a WISN representative also attended a conference in Mexico in June—the National Alliance for Jaguar Conservation hosted in Cozumel. While the majority of the attendees were from Mexico, others from Central and South America were also in attendance, all joined by a combined mission of wanting to create strategies for saving this endangered big cat, integral to their ecosystems as well as to the cultures who have been intrinsically involved with Jaguars for thousands of years.

 

We will be planning to meet with the conservationists of Naturalia within the next six months and our hope is that together, we can develop new ways and strategies of creating a corridor of protection for these beloved cats that extends from Brazil through Central America.

 

Donors, we give much heartfelt gratitude for your support for our ongoing conservation efforts and we will continue to keep you updated of our progress. Please consider sharing our work with friends, family and colleagues so that we can continue.

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Courtesy of WISN Partner Snow Leopard Conservancy
Courtesy of WISN Partner Snow Leopard Conservancy

From Kyrgyzstan to Chauvet Cave—A Journey Leading to the Story of Us All

Snow Leopard Conservation

Global Big Cat Alliance

May 2018 Project Update

 

 

Dear Donor,

 

Thank you for all that you do to help us bring Western and Indigenous knowledge systems together for the conservation of these beloved big cats, important not only in their own right, but because our very survival depends on theirs! We are immensely grateful to you, to the ancestors, and to the spirit of the big cats.

 

From a chance encounter with the pelt of a Snow Leopard in a tourist yurt in Kyrgyzstan to Chauvet Cave of Southern France a decade later… we retrace the steps of our ancestors through a video WISN produced this past quarter as part of our efforts to raise awareness of and bring critical resources to the Snow Leopard conservation efforts of our partners.

 

In 2008, Dr. Apela Colorado, Oneida and Gaul Elder and founder of the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN), had a profound chance encounter in a yurt in Kyrgyzstan. Entering this yurt, she saw the skin of an animal she did not recognize hanging on the wall. She immediately dropped to her knees and wept in front of what she later learned was the pelt of a sacred Snow Leopard.

 

Over the next decade, her research brought her in contact with numerous Kyrgyz Elders who shared some of the oral wisdom, which holds that the Snow Leopard clan people (the original European tribes) migrated West with Snow Leopards from Central Asia tens of thousands of years ago. It is the reason, they believe, that there are so few snow leopards remaining in Kyrgyzstan today.

 

While it is known in Western science that many European tribes descend from these Central Asian tribes, there was nothing in Western science to corroborate the movement of Snow Leopards as told by the Kyrgyz Elders. Until now.

 

We reported last year about a separate research trip to the Caves of Southern France during which a WISN team discovered that there was a painting of a Snow Leopard and that the remains of a (approximately) 35,000 year-old Snow Leopard were discovered in this cave, a cave which had been sealed off for at least 26,000 years. While remarkable in and of itself, the link to Kyrgz oral tradition was one that few people would be able to make. Dr. Colorado was able to make this connection. And in Fall 2017, we brought a Kyrgyz Elder to these caves to make an offering and prayer for the survival of his sacred totem animal (see Fall 2017 report), the endangered Snow Leopard. 

 

During this journey, we met with Jean Clottes, Ph.D., one of the foremost French experts on the Caves of Southern France. At the conclusion of this meeting, Zhaparkul Ata put his hand on Dr. Clottes heart saying,

 

 "We are brothers. You are science. I am shaman, In the future, we will work together." 

 

May it be so. 

 

We share the just released video with you, dear donors, with much heartfelt gratitude for all you have done to support our ongoing conservation efforts.

Links:

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Jaguar ICPs from Brazil and Mexico meet in Oaxaca
Jaguar ICPs from Brazil and Mexico meet in Oaxaca

Jaguar of Light

Global Big Cat Alliance

January 2018 Project Update

 

 

Dear Donor,

 

Thank you for all that you do to help us bring Western and Indigenous knowledge systems together for the conservation of these beloved big cats. We are immensely grateful to you, to the ancestors, and to the spirit of the big cats.

 

Tiger Conservation

We have a number of updates to share with you this quarter, including our work with one of our partners, China Tiger Revival (CTR), whose Director was integrally involved in the global tiger conservation work of UNDP and who authored a seminal book on South China Tigers. We hosted a visit of the Director last month, during which time we strategized on tiger conservation and the role of culture. By way of background, CTR was instrumental in launching the first program of its kind, a program through which tigers previously held in captivity were brought to South Africa, and released into the wild, essentially “re-wilding” them so that they could learn to function like tigers in the wild. The goal is ultimately to bring these tigers back to China where they can roam free on their ancestral lands. During our time together, we learned that CTR was able to negotiate with the organizers of the Wild Conference to host the next annual global conference China for the first time ever. Our aim now is to identify Indigenous Cultural Practitioners in China who still perform the ancient tiger dances, in order to bring a cultural component to this conference. It’s a big step to bridge the tiger conservation and the indigenous world.

 

Jaguar Conservation

Additionally, one of our partners, ICP and artist Ernesto Olmos was able through the support of WISN and your generous contributions to travel to the Oaxaca Xaguar Xoo (Jaguar Zoo) to set up an exhibit and altar dedicated to the white Jaguar, also known as the Jaguar of Light an icon representation of the species’ sacredness. The zoo has a number of jaguars in residence, which they hope to rehabilitate and release back into the wild. The environment is not currently hospitable for jaguar conservation.


In the month ahead, we will introduce an ICP from a pristine culture and ecosystem (Yawanawa from Brazil) to both conservationist and and ICP from Mexico to mirror how things can look when culture and ecosystems remain intact. It’s an aspirational model and our hope is that through these connections, a corridor of protection can be established for jaguar conservation that extends from the Amazon in Brazil through Central and North America.

 

We will continue to raise funds for this effort as well as our work with the other big cats and will have more to report on our ongoing work in our next report this Spring. As always, we are immensely grateful to you, our donors, for all you have done to make this possible.

Jaguar of Light exhibit at Xaguar Xoo in Oaxaca
Jaguar of Light exhibit at Xaguar Xoo in Oaxaca
Jaguar of Light performance
Jaguar of Light performance
Jaguar of Light exhibit at Xaguar Xoo in Oaxaca
Jaguar of Light exhibit at Xaguar Xoo in Oaxaca
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Zhaparkul in front of the the snow leopard paintin
Zhaparkul in front of the the snow leopard paintin

Snow Leopards in the Caves of Southern France!

Global Big Cat Alliance

Fall 2017 Report

 

 

"Science and Indigenous knowledge must work together. We have entered the Altyn Dor (golden age, the time to heal the planet)." - Kyrgyz Elder and Healer Zhaparkul Ata

 

Dear Donors,

We give thanks to the ancestors and to each of you for your generous support for our Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation work. This work in support of these sacred and disappearing apex predators continues only becuase of your generosity and through your spreading the word about our work with your friends, family, and colleagues. Thank you.

 

This quarter was an exciting one for the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network’s (WISN) Big Cat Alliance, specifically for our work with the Snow Leopards.

 

WISN has worked with snow leopard shamans and healers throughout Kyrgyzstan and other parts of Central Asia for more than a decade. One of the stories and part of the Kyrgyz oral tradition states that the snow leopard clan people migrated West (towards Europe) tens of thousands of years ago forming the European tribes, for example, the Celts. The Kyrgyz say this migration is one of the reasons there are so few snow leopards remaining in Kyrgyzstan, which of course has been exacerbated in more recent times by poaching, territory encroachment in the name of “development,” and more. However, until recently there was nothing to substantiate this oral history.   

 

In addition to our big cat work, we also do research on the painted caves of Southern France—archeaoacoustics and more. On a trip there in 2016, by chance, we made an incredible discovery—that not only had an image of a snow leopard been painted in Chauvet Cave (in Southeastern France), but also actual bones had been discovered there. Hikers stumbled upon the cave (much as we stumbled upon the discovery of the snow leopard image and bones last year) in 1994. Researchers and scientists later determined these caves had been sealed for at least 26,000 years, so these bones and paintings are known to be at least that old if not older, probably closer to 30-35,000 years old. It was the first linkage that we are aware of linking the migration stories outlining the westward movement of the snow leopards and snow leopard clan people of Kyrgyzstan! 

 

In October of this year, we returned, bringing with us one of our Big Cat alliance members Zhaparkul Ata to these caves to make an offering and to pray at this sacred site, at the foot of the snow leopard image. We also introduced him to one of the most world-renowned cave experts Jean Clottes, one of the first prehistorians to conclude that there is a strong argument to believe that much of the cave paintings and prehistoric art were in fact produced as a result of shamanic practice. The meeting was covered by local media and was an important step in bringing indigenous and Western science together for the purposes of conserving these magnificent beings so critical to the survival of our planet’s fragile eco systems, and for our very own survival.

 

Thank you again, dear Donors, for your ongoing support to make this work possible. 

Coverage in the local papers
Coverage in the local papers
Jean Clottes and Zhaparkul sharing their wisdom
Jean Clottes and Zhaparkul sharing their wisdom
Snow leopard image in Chauvet
Snow leopard image in Chauvet
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Organization Information

Worldwide Indigenous Science Network

Location: Lahaina, Hawaii - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Beth Duncan
Lahaina, Hawaii United States
$9,125 raised of $10,000 goal
 
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