A queen is born

For more than twenty years now, conservationist Linda Tucker from South-Africa has been fighting for the survival of the white lion, an animal that plays an important role in the myths and legends of Africa. There are only 500 white lions in the world, and most of them are held in captivity. Over the last few years Tucker managed to bring 3 generations of white lions back to their native homelands: the Timbavati region in South-Africa. But her struggle for the freedom of these animals, chronicled in her book Saving the White Lions (North Atlantic Books), continues. Read an excerpt from her book here below, about the moment Tucker first meets Marah, the lion she eventually rescued from the trophy hunting industry. 
COMING UP: an online event with Linda Tucker, on July 1. Check back in on this website later to learn more about the details. Read an interview with Linda Tucker in our upcoming July/August issue.
A queen is born
Holding this tiny newborn White Lion cub against my chest, I’m moved by an overwhelming maternal sense of love and protectiveness. It is December 26, 2000, the first day after Christmas, in Bethlehem, South Africa.
I cup my palm around her rounded little belly, so soft and downy, and the pinkness of her tender paws. It feels like a revelation, the most overwhelming moment of my life. Absolutely nothing will ever be the same again. I’m filled with love, but at the same time torn in confusion. She isn’t my new born baby. This little lion-lamb was ripped from her own lioness mother only hours ago and will now be bottle-fed by callous humans in preparation for her future as a trophy animal.
From deep within a timeless place, from now to eternity, I make a pledge to this lion baby, future Queen of Lionesses.I promise youI will never rest, not for a single day, not until I’ve returned you to your ancestral kingdom of Timbavati. No matter the cost.
It’s the end of a long, excruciating day. 6:30 p.m. I’m sitting on one of the deckchairs on the veranda of the trophy hunter’s fortress-like house, sipping the cocktail he’s just offered me, numb and bewildered, watching the dying sun burn the horizon. All around me are caged animals, in a concentration camp of suffering and misery.
I’ve been invited to dine with this grim hunting operator and his wife. The owner of the farm is a self-styled Rambo and a publicly confirmed PH (professional hunter). He was friendly to begin with but left me a moment ago to fetch his rifle from behind the bar counter; something in the distance had annoyed him. His appearance was affable, beneath which I detected a powder keg of barely contained rage.
From our preliminary discussions, I’ve determined he has no qualms about taking cubs from their mothers at birth, hand-rearing them to frolic about the house with his own daughters, until such time as they grow unmanageable a couple of months later, put them in enclosures to grow up, and sell them to be shot as trophies. In fact, earlier today he produced an advertisement in the local papers that pictures one of these subadult cubs dining at the dinner table with his family, under the headline:
Shoot This Lion for $25,000
I dared not ask the canned hunter, but a staff member has since informed me that the tawny-colored lion in the ad—which was bottle-fed by his wife, slept in the beds of his daughters, and sat incongruously eating dinner out of a bowl together with the family—was duly shot as a trophy.
As his guest, I’m struggling with a surging range of confused emotions. Beside me on the coffee table is a brochure of this man’s pretty daughters, smiling as they hold up lion cubs, with the caption:
Trophy hunting is conducted in season
with excellent slaughtering facilities.
Beneath me on the floor is a spread-eagled skin of a lion as a rug, the head intact.
This is madness. Where am I?
Sitting on the veranda of the trophy hunter’s farmhouse, I’m hemmed in on all sides by cages housing rare endangered animals, looking desperate and demented and awaiting their fate. There are so many cages that they extend all the way from the back of the house to the front, where they form our view.
In 1997, the hard-nosed British investigative television program The Cook Report first exposed the atrocities taking place in these commercial hunting operations and gave them a name: “canned lion hunting.” The term “canned hunting” refers to the malpractice of raising endangered wild animals in cages to be shot as trophies. But while the concept of “lions in a can” does convey the grim notion of sensitive living creatures being turned into commodities, it conveys little of the real horror: Newborn cubs are wrenched from their mothers by the use of mechanical weed eaters. They are then handreared, bottle-fed, and made to be dependent upon and trusting of humans. Many are parceled out to be petted and cuddled by the public for money before finally being caged, baited, and mercilessly slain in their confined spaces.
I made a pilgrimage to this God-forsaken little town, acting on inside information that a magnificent White Lion is illegally being held captive here. Once I arrived, I discovered that Bethlehem, South Africa, is the black heart of this notorious canned-hunting industry.
Having traveled during Christmas Day, I arrived in Bethlehem early this morning: Boxing Day. I then met up with Greg Mitchell, the game ranger running this place. Greg told me he signed up for this job thinking it was a genuine scientific breeding program, only to discover he was running a factory-farm-cum-killing-camp.
First Greg showed me the massive White Lion male, housed here illegally. I met this great presence face to face through a diamond-mesh fence—a monarch-in-hostage— and, in an instant, I recognized him: King of kings, a presence of majesty and high consciousness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. His authoritative presence seemed to maintain sanity for all the stricken animals in this merciless prison. Not surprisingly, the canned hunter had named him Rambo, but Greg renamed him Aslan, after the Christ-like lion in the Narnia series. This was a fitting name, particularly as I knew from ancestral guidance that as-lan means “starlion.”
Greg told me this magnificent White Lion was one of twenty-two cubs born in this breeding program, all tawny or golden in color. But, then yesterday, another cub suddenly appeared: snow white.
A baby lioness born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day!When Greg gave me this news on arrival, I suddenly realized: this sacred birth is the fulfillment of Maria’s prophecy!
Sacredness is present in Nature, no matter how humans try to destroy it. And now, for one rash moment as I sit in this ghoulish place surrounded by living animals waiting to become stuffed trophies, I consider sharing with this trophy hunter the knowledge I’ve gained about the White Lions—their role as angelic beings of pure light sent to save humanity at a time of crisis. If he could only see the signs Nature is gifting him, might he relent—and redeem himself?
From my deck chair, I observe this man, marching on his stout rugby-playing legs down to his fishpond on his front lawn—rifle in hand, raised skyward. He points it and lets off a couple of resounding shots. A flutter of brightly colored feathers, and two kingfishers drop from the skies. The symbology of the kingfisher is of Christ consciousness (the Fisher King) in Nature. Watching this senseless act reminds me that the task ahead is monumental.
Is this man the mastermind behind this horror, I wonder, or is there someone or something else controlling him? I feel shaken to the marrow of my bones—and lift my eyes again to find the trophy hunter’s wife, prancing toward me, past her cages of innocents, with a young cheetah cub on a black leather harness. The sensitive creature is shaking uncontrollably in shock and fear.
Greg Mitchell informed me earlier that this cheetah cub and its mother were removed from the wild just days ago. The mother died last night in her cage from shock. The thought of what will become of this cheetah cub in the grip of this pitiless animal-laundering industry wracks my body with helpless distress. I’m shaking like she is, and I need to muster every ounce of strength to control my emotions.
The hunter’s wife comes closer. She’s in a country-girl floral frock, with a broad-rimmed hat (Christmas being summer in South Africa), but her eyes are metallic and her grip of greeting is viselike. Having heard I’m doing an article on White Lions, she introduces herself, boasting:
“We got lucky over Christmas. You know how much that thing’s worth?”
She’s referring to the little downy cub I held in my arms only a few hours ago: the love of my life, the child I will fiercely protect like a mother lioness, come what may.
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh I will give to this little one, leaving them hidden under the straw of her box. But I will not make the naive error of sharing my belief with the robotic woman, staring me in the face at this moment, unblinking. She may have dollar signs in her eyes, but she must never ever know how much this little cub is worth to me.
Two months since my visit to Bethlehem. It gives me strength to remember Credo Mutwa’s first words when I informed him of this baby cub’s miraculous arrival on December 25, 2000. He announced,
“Ah! She has come. The one for whom the African elders have been waiting: Marah, mother of Ra, the sun god.”
Maria Khosa celebrated the news of Marah’s birth in a secret shamanic ceremony, the details of which I was not to share with others. However, she was insistent that I speak out about the White Lions and their urgent meaning for humanity at this time. Ever since Ingwavuma’s death, she’s been urging me that the secret knowledge I’ve uncovered in my studies over the past six years is ready to be published. Now she’s emphatic. According to her, it’s time the world knows the truth.
From Saving the White Lions: One Woman’s Battle for Africa’s Most Sacred Animal by Linda Tucker, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2013 by Linda Tucker. Reprinted by permission of publisher. Now available in print and ebook wherever books are sold.
photo: Jason Turner

Solution News Source

A queen is born

For more than twenty years now, conservationist Linda Tucker from South-Africa has been fighting for the survival of the white lion, an animal that plays an important role in the myths and legends of Africa. There are only 500 white lions in the world, and most of them are held in captivity. Over the last few years Tucker managed to bring 3 generations of white lions back to their native homelands: the Timbavati region in South-Africa. But her struggle for the freedom of these animals, chronicled in her book Saving the White Lions (North Atlantic Books), continues. Read an excerpt from her book here below, about the moment Tucker first meets Marah, the lion she eventually rescued from the trophy hunting industry. 
COMING UP: an online event with Linda Tucker, on July 1. Check back in on this website later to learn more about the details. Read an interview with Linda Tucker in our upcoming July/August issue.
A queen is born
Holding this tiny newborn White Lion cub against my chest, I’m moved by an overwhelming maternal sense of love and protectiveness. It is December 26, 2000, the first day after Christmas, in Bethlehem, South Africa.
I cup my palm around her rounded little belly, so soft and downy, and the pinkness of her tender paws. It feels like a revelation, the most overwhelming moment of my life. Absolutely nothing will ever be the same again. I’m filled with love, but at the same time torn in confusion. She isn’t my new born baby. This little lion-lamb was ripped from her own lioness mother only hours ago and will now be bottle-fed by callous humans in preparation for her future as a trophy animal.
From deep within a timeless place, from now to eternity, I make a pledge to this lion baby, future Queen of Lionesses.I promise youI will never rest, not for a single day, not until I’ve returned you to your ancestral kingdom of Timbavati. No matter the cost.
It’s the end of a long, excruciating day. 6:30 p.m. I’m sitting on one of the deckchairs on the veranda of the trophy hunter’s fortress-like house, sipping the cocktail he’s just offered me, numb and bewildered, watching the dying sun burn the horizon. All around me are caged animals, in a concentration camp of suffering and misery.
I’ve been invited to dine with this grim hunting operator and his wife. The owner of the farm is a self-styled Rambo and a publicly confirmed PH (professional hunter). He was friendly to begin with but left me a moment ago to fetch his rifle from behind the bar counter; something in the distance had annoyed him. His appearance was affable, beneath which I detected a powder keg of barely contained rage.
From our preliminary discussions, I’ve determined he has no qualms about taking cubs from their mothers at birth, hand-rearing them to frolic about the house with his own daughters, until such time as they grow unmanageable a couple of months later, put them in enclosures to grow up, and sell them to be shot as trophies. In fact, earlier today he produced an advertisement in the local papers that pictures one of these subadult cubs dining at the dinner table with his family, under the headline:
Shoot This Lion for $25,000
I dared not ask the canned hunter, but a staff member has since informed me that the tawny-colored lion in the ad—which was bottle-fed by his wife, slept in the beds of his daughters, and sat incongruously eating dinner out of a bowl together with the family—was duly shot as a trophy.
As his guest, I’m struggling with a surging range of confused emotions. Beside me on the coffee table is a brochure of this man’s pretty daughters, smiling as they hold up lion cubs, with the caption:
Trophy hunting is conducted in season
with excellent slaughtering facilities.
Beneath me on the floor is a spread-eagled skin of a lion as a rug, the head intact.
This is madness. Where am I?
Sitting on the veranda of the trophy hunter’s farmhouse, I’m hemmed in on all sides by cages housing rare endangered animals, looking desperate and demented and awaiting their fate. There are so many cages that they extend all the way from the back of the house to the front, where they form our view.
In 1997, the hard-nosed British investigative television program The Cook Report first exposed the atrocities taking place in these commercial hunting operations and gave them a name: “canned lion hunting.” The term “canned hunting” refers to the malpractice of raising endangered wild animals in cages to be shot as trophies. But while the concept of “lions in a can” does convey the grim notion of sensitive living creatures being turned into commodities, it conveys little of the real horror: Newborn cubs are wrenched from their mothers by the use of mechanical weed eaters. They are then handreared, bottle-fed, and made to be dependent upon and trusting of humans. Many are parceled out to be petted and cuddled by the public for money before finally being caged, baited, and mercilessly slain in their confined spaces.
I made a pilgrimage to this God-forsaken little town, acting on inside information that a magnificent White Lion is illegally being held captive here. Once I arrived, I discovered that Bethlehem, South Africa, is the black heart of this notorious canned-hunting industry.
Having traveled during Christmas Day, I arrived in Bethlehem early this morning: Boxing Day. I then met up with Greg Mitchell, the game ranger running this place. Greg told me he signed up for this job thinking it was a genuine scientific breeding program, only to discover he was running a factory-farm-cum-killing-camp.
First Greg showed me the massive White Lion male, housed here illegally. I met this great presence face to face through a diamond-mesh fence—a monarch-in-hostage— and, in an instant, I recognized him: King of kings, a presence of majesty and high consciousness beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. His authoritative presence seemed to maintain sanity for all the stricken animals in this merciless prison. Not surprisingly, the canned hunter had named him Rambo, but Greg renamed him Aslan, after the Christ-like lion in the Narnia series. This was a fitting name, particularly as I knew from ancestral guidance that as-lan means “starlion.”
Greg told me this magnificent White Lion was one of twenty-two cubs born in this breeding program, all tawny or golden in color. But, then yesterday, another cub suddenly appeared: snow white.
A baby lioness born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day!When Greg gave me this news on arrival, I suddenly realized: this sacred birth is the fulfillment of Maria’s prophecy!
Sacredness is present in Nature, no matter how humans try to destroy it. And now, for one rash moment as I sit in this ghoulish place surrounded by living animals waiting to become stuffed trophies, I consider sharing with this trophy hunter the knowledge I’ve gained about the White Lions—their role as angelic beings of pure light sent to save humanity at a time of crisis. If he could only see the signs Nature is gifting him, might he relent—and redeem himself?
From my deck chair, I observe this man, marching on his stout rugby-playing legs down to his fishpond on his front lawn—rifle in hand, raised skyward. He points it and lets off a couple of resounding shots. A flutter of brightly colored feathers, and two kingfishers drop from the skies. The symbology of the kingfisher is of Christ consciousness (the Fisher King) in Nature. Watching this senseless act reminds me that the task ahead is monumental.
Is this man the mastermind behind this horror, I wonder, or is there someone or something else controlling him? I feel shaken to the marrow of my bones—and lift my eyes again to find the trophy hunter’s wife, prancing toward me, past her cages of innocents, with a young cheetah cub on a black leather harness. The sensitive creature is shaking uncontrollably in shock and fear.
Greg Mitchell informed me earlier that this cheetah cub and its mother were removed from the wild just days ago. The mother died last night in her cage from shock. The thought of what will become of this cheetah cub in the grip of this pitiless animal-laundering industry wracks my body with helpless distress. I’m shaking like she is, and I need to muster every ounce of strength to control my emotions.
The hunter’s wife comes closer. She’s in a country-girl floral frock, with a broad-rimmed hat (Christmas being summer in South Africa), but her eyes are metallic and her grip of greeting is viselike. Having heard I’m doing an article on White Lions, she introduces herself, boasting:
“We got lucky over Christmas. You know how much that thing’s worth?”
She’s referring to the little downy cub I held in my arms only a few hours ago: the love of my life, the child I will fiercely protect like a mother lioness, come what may.
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh I will give to this little one, leaving them hidden under the straw of her box. But I will not make the naive error of sharing my belief with the robotic woman, staring me in the face at this moment, unblinking. She may have dollar signs in her eyes, but she must never ever know how much this little cub is worth to me.
Two months since my visit to Bethlehem. It gives me strength to remember Credo Mutwa’s first words when I informed him of this baby cub’s miraculous arrival on December 25, 2000. He announced,
“Ah! She has come. The one for whom the African elders have been waiting: Marah, mother of Ra, the sun god.”
Maria Khosa celebrated the news of Marah’s birth in a secret shamanic ceremony, the details of which I was not to share with others. However, she was insistent that I speak out about the White Lions and their urgent meaning for humanity at this time. Ever since Ingwavuma’s death, she’s been urging me that the secret knowledge I’ve uncovered in my studies over the past six years is ready to be published. Now she’s emphatic. According to her, it’s time the world knows the truth.
From Saving the White Lions: One Woman’s Battle for Africa’s Most Sacred Animal by Linda Tucker, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2013 by Linda Tucker. Reprinted by permission of publisher. Now available in print and ebook wherever books are sold.
photo: Jason Turner

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