How to lose friends, alienate people and care for the environment

I’m not a beachgoer; I don’t tan on purpose, I have a weird relationship with sand and honestly, the immensity of the ocean scares me. Give me mountains, rivers and forests. Oh and penguins. Boy oh boy do I love penguins, but I’m not a beachgoer. I probably like elephants more, but my penguin love started when I found out that the African Penguin will be extinct by 2025. Words like overfishing, plastic and oil made me bow my head in shame and put the tuna sandwich away. It is easy to throw a blind eye to all the protests, go green campaigns and causes. I did it. Not because I didn’t care but because I said “that’s so sad, I don’t want to see that”. It is just too easy to throw a blind eye. I visited SAMREC in Port Elizabeth, and I threw a wet eye, yes, I cried. I ugly-cried. It is sad.

Humans really do suck and we really do screw up our environment in the most selfish ways ever.

I’m not a beachgoer, I don’t swim in the ocean but I do care, and not only about the penguins.

So on World Oceans Day I put a few lines up on Facebook. This post did not only honour the ocean but it also shifted the focus towards my incredible maternal instinct and it probably warned friends and family that they should never ask me to babysit. Ever.

“Today is World Oceans Day. Don’t be an arsehole or an asshole. Pick up your shit. Be a grown-up, suck it up and pick up the shit of others. Stop saying “yes” to plastic bags. Start saying “no” to straws (you are more than capable to bring the glass to your mouth). Give your child a high-five instead of a helium balloon and respect the ocean, that thing can swallow you whole if it really wanted too…”

High-five. Maternal. Nailed it.

Not only will I give your child a high-five, but your child will learn a few new words too.

I do apologise. Well not really. Okay fine, just a little, but sometimes you need to lose friends, alienate people and care for the environment.

Sometimes you have to bow your head in shame for all the times you’ve turned a blind eye and speak up. Sometimes it is necessary to take straws out of people’s hands and ask them “do you really need this?”.

Sometimes you need to pop a shocking video of elephant abuse in Thailand over to a friend’s inbox before their departure, just in case. Sometimes you need to give the Blood Lions DVD to someone before breakfast and say, “watch this, it is really good”. Sometimes you need to stand up to older people, screw respect and tell them they can’t litter.

Sometimes you need to forbid friends to take their children to a zoo and share the harsh truth behind that lion and cheetah experience. Sometimes you need to be called ugly words over social media because you’ve expressed your concerns. Sometimes you need to take the plastic bags out of your own hands and try again.

I still make a lot of mistakes; I don’t recycle everything, my carbon footprint is nasty and I really like sushi.

We only have one chance with this world.

If your kid is born today will he be able to see the African Penguin when he is 10 years old?

High-five. Maternal. Nailed it.

Sometimes you will lose friends and alienate people as you care for the environment. But don’t be the flipside of the arsehole; tone the superiority down, leave the arrogant attitude and close the condescending eye.

Allow your care to be bigger than your judgment

Fair Trade Volunteering Criteria Launched

Fair Trade Tourism has finalised an extensive review of criteria for tourism businesses with volunteer offerings, which are effective from June 1 2016.

Since the organisation’s initial review of its standard to include additional criteria on volunteering in 2009 there has been a significant upsurge in both the supply and demand for volunteer products in Africa, many focused on so-called conservation or orphanage programmes.

This upsurge brought with it concerns from various organisations regarding malpractices, which were especially evident in programmes dealing with vulnerable children and captive wildlife.

The launch of the hard-hitting documentary “Blood Lions” earlier this year and its accompanying global campaign against predator-breeding centres and interactions exposed the fraudulent practices around volunteer experiences with captive lions and other predators.

Although not an advocacy organisation, Fair Trade Tourism took the decision to work with prominent NGOs and tourism industry stakeholders to revise and implement new criteria focussed on “voluntourism” involving vulnerable people and wildlife interaction.

These criteria are now available for viewing on our website here.

“Our new criteria were not introduced to advocate for animal welfare or take an ethical position against volunteering with vulnerable people,” says Fair Trade Tourism MD Nivashnee Naidoo. “However, as an organisation that represents global best-practice in responsible tourism, it is our role and our interest to promote ethical, authentic and transparently marketed volunteer experiences,” she adds.

“Responsible voluntourism programmes should at the very least benefit host communities and have positive social, economic and environmental impacts. Sadly, at present many voluntourism experiences are actually detrimental to the people or animals they proclaim to be helping. Young travellers should strive instead to seek far more meaningful cultural and wildlife engagements than is currently the case.”

Fair Trade Tourism’s new criteria were informed by a range of expert sources including, amongst others, Better Volunteering, Tourism Watch, UNICEF, Endangered Wildlife Trust and Wildlife Act. A number of Southern African volunteer organisations also gave their input.

“We would like to thank all who aided in the consultation process leading up to the formulation of the new criteria,” says Naidoo.

The new Fair Trade Tourism criteria do not allow for any physical interaction by tourists or volunteers with a range of captive animals, including all large and medium sized carnivores, big cats, elephants, rhinos, large apes, hippos, ostrich, crocodiles and venomous snakes.

They also do not allow for tourists or volunteers to interact with any child or vulnerable person unless this takes place under continuous, qualified adult supervision.

“Given the growing body of evidence from orphanages that interaction with casual visitors can be deeply psychologically damaging to these children, Fair Trade Tourism will not certify any volunteer experience based on full-time work inside orphanages,” adds Naidoo.

Volunteer organisations and wildlife sanctuaries who strive for best-practice in their operations are invited to apply for certification from June 1 2016.

For more information visit

Don’t Pet Cubs – Ban Cub Petting

Let’s put an end to cub petting and canned hunting!

A canned hunt is a trophy hunt in which an animal is kept in a confined area, such as in a fenced-in area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. According to one dictionary, a canned hunt is a “hunt for animals that have been raised on game ranches until they are mature enough to be killed for trophy collections.

The documentary Blood Lions™ has been shown worldwide and has opened the eye of those who originally were not aware this horrific industry existed.

Now is the time to stop petting cubs, cubs that are bred for the bullet and will ultimately become a trophy on a wall.

Here’s the link to the #LionsBetrayed #BanCannedHunting event page:…

Please share and invite everyone you know.
Thank you!!

#LionsBetrayed #BanCubPetting #BanCannedHunting

#ShockWildlifeTruths: Captive bred lions will forever be victims of the hunting industry

ShockWildlifeTruths: Captive bred lions will forever be victims of the hunting industry

Cape Town – South African has had over two decades to stem the controversial issue of canned lion hunting but instead the industry has thrived – that is until the controversial documentary Blood Lions put the issue back into the spotlight – setting in motions a few small victories in SA.

It’s been almost 20 years since the highly controversial and shocking Cook report exposed the cruelty associated with South Africa’s canned lion hunting industry.

The report, a British current affairs television programme aired in 1998 also featured in the globally-acclaimed Blood Lions documentary, featured footage of a lioness being shot several times within a small enclosed area, right next to a fence which separated the animal from her cubs. Conservationists and the general public were up in arms.

But, despite its obvious revelations, captive lion breeding was able to thrive and develop into a billion rand industry over the past decade in South Africa, while the ethical and conservationist red alerts have been shoved to the background.

This while associations meant for lion protection have continued to run parallel with canned breeding associations.

Now, South Africa’s ethical hunting authority PHASA, the Professional Hunter’s Association of South Africa, have distanced themselves from canned hunting and breeding completely.

In November last year, at the 38th annual general PHASA meeting held in Polokwane, the majority of PHASA members voted to distance the association from captive-bred lion hunting until such time as the South African Predators’ Association (SAPA) could prove the conservation value of this practice to both PHASA and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Any PHASA member is now prohibited to take part in canned lion hunts.

The move was considered a victory on South African soil but was seen as a rather intentionally delayed response – 20 years after the initial Cook Report.

One cannot help to think that PHASA’s move was a direct result of the US’s largest airline, Delta Airlines’ move to ban of the importation of lion trophies – an announcement made in August 2015.

The US ban had the first major impact on the lion hunting and breeding industry in SA. And in January this year, the US Government as a whole banned the import of all lion trophies from Africa, unless it could be proven that the specific hunt makes a positive contribution to the overall conservation of lions in the wild.

Since the announcement, the local industry is facing total collapse as 70% of the lion hunting clientele hail from the US.

According to Pieter Potgieter from the South African Predator Association (SAPA), a group regulating the canned breeding and hunting industry in SA, the lion hunting industry’s cashflow has been affected tremendously.

Because of the ban, “the lion farmers now have no income”, Potgieter told Carte Blanche. And still, they need to feed their lion stocks on a daily basis… an expensive practice for no remuneration.

“This forces the lion farmers to make all sorts of other plans,” Potgieter says… plans which include offering cheap lion hunting packages for locals, and the euthanasia of older animals.

Despite the victory for the future of lion hunting in South Africa, the existing captive bred lions remain victims to the canned breeding industry.

They cannot be released into the wild, and no US hunters are able to pay the big bucks to have its head mounted in their surgeries in Minnesota.
Want to help? If you’d like to make a positive contribution towards the conservation and well-being of lions, you can: 

– Support Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary. This haven was opened by Savannah Heuser in 2012 and it has no breeding policy, nor is it open to the public.

– Canned hunting and exploitation of captive lions has gained unparalleled support and awareness through Blood Lions documentary – bringing to the world’s attention to the horrors of predator breeding and activities using lions and other species.

As a result, Blood Lions says tourism industry leaders have collaborated to initiate a worldwide ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge against the predator breeding and canned hunting industry –  presenting a united front that includes the most significant tourism organisations and travel companies around the world.

Travel and Tourism operators who want to join the Born to Live Wild” pledge can click here. Public citizens can join the movement by watching Blood Lions, and pledging your support to their work.