Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Lion, the Witch and the photo!

There will not be many people who have not yet seen the photo below. This is Melissa Bacham, a USA TV presenter and proud hunter of what appears to be of anything that breathes. A massive uproar has begun since she posted this photo of her killing a lion in South Africa; and rightly so. However, what I wanted to discuss was the issue of, firstly how anyone could do such a thing, but secondly looking at what message this sends out to the younger generations growing up about respecting the creatures we share this planet with.

Melissa Bacham smiles proudly over her kill of a majestic Lion in South Africa.
Lets get my views out the way. I think what Melissa has done is disgusting and no animal should be killed, especially in this way for sport. It is not for survival or food, just a glammed up idiot who thinks pulling the trigger on a machine is somehow a thrill. Well no you are wrong and I completely condemn this action and the abuse and killing of all animals around the world.

I simply cannot comprehend how anyone can simply point a gun at an animal and end its life like that. Also, I do not see a difference between the killing of any animal be that a cow, chicken, dog or lion, but I have a serious problem when it is for photo opportunities.

The message this sends out to people is terrible. It's OK to kill whatever we like because we can. What about showing respect for a creature that was here before we were and will be here after we go (as long as we don't shoot them all before we disappear). People then grow up with this disconnect from wildlife and see it as a commodity to exploit rather than live in harmony with.

The Arguments
I am honest enough to say I don't know enough about the issues around trophy hunting like this, but it seems like the main arguments for are:
  • Brings money into the country creating jobs and funding conservation efforts
  • Population control as too many top predators can cause a lack of prey
  • Saves more lions as males will fight other males and if they take over a pride will kill all the young
  • Link for pro arguments click here
The main arguments against are:
  • Only 30,000 left in the wild and this is pushing lions towards being critically endangered
  • Most Lions kept for canned "Trophy" hunting are reared on farms or private reserves especially for this
  • The Lion's pride is destabilised and another male will come in and kill all the young
  • Hardly any of the money made with canned hunting reaches the actual conservation projects
  • The total lack of respect for such a magnificent animal where the main purpose seems to be to pose and smile with your prize, and the message this sends out especially to children
  • Link for against arguments click here
Instead of asking you to sign a petition or donate to Lion Aid, I simply want you to make your own mind up. Please feel free to comment or send me a message and lets get talking.

But please if you shoot an animal may it only be with a camera and nothing else. I could have gone in with a joke about a cannon camera, but I thought best not to.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The only venomous Primate in the world

Have you heard of a Slow Loirs? Well you may not have heard of one, but quite possibly seen one on a famous youtube clip called 'Tickling the Slow Loris'. The clip shows a woman, who has one as a pet, tickling it and it looks like the Slow Loris is enjoying it. In fact it is in it's defence mode, which is where the Slow Loris freezes.

Unfortunately this video has cause a worldwide rush to want a Slow Loris as a pet and this is endangering its very survival.

Interestingly the Slow Loris has venom and this can kill, also the name Slow Loris is not that accurate. They can actually move very fast covering 8km in one night.

I was lucky enough to hear Dr Anna Nekaris talk at an evening lecture in Devon the other week on her work with the Slow Loris. Dr Nekaris has been working with nocturnal primates, especially the Slow Loris for 20 years. What she doesn't know about the Slow Loris is not worth knowing. It was a fabulous talk and so moving with the problems they face, and inspiring about the work she is doing with with her Little Fireface Project -

Myself with Dr Nekaris after her amazing talk on the plight of the Slow Loris.

Dr Nekaris made a wonderful BBC documentary about her work, but the most crucial bit was the last 7 minutes about the pet trade in the Slow Loris.

Please watch the video (contains scenes of a distressing nature) of why we must stand up for the Slow Loris and not allow people to have them as pets -

What can you do to save the Slow Loris:

  1. Sign the petition asking YouTube to remove videos of them as pets -
  2. Follow the work of the Little Fireface Project
    1. Facebook -
    2. Twitter - @littlefireface or Dr Nekaris @queenfireface
    3. Donate to the Little Fireface Project -
    4. Buy some of they great Merchandise -
My new glow in the dark Little Fireface T-shirt

Mini Slow Loris, personally hand knitted by Dr  Nekaris herself

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Primates are not Pets

You may think that the UK is a nation of animal lovers. Well with 6.6 million dogs & 7.7 million cats (1) you may be right, however the laws we have in this country simply do not match that saying. For instances did you know you can (and people do) LEGALLY keep the following primates as pets in the UK:

  • Marmosets
  • Lemurs
  • Squirrel Monkeys
  • Capuchins
  • Spider Monkeys
  • Macaque
  • Vervet Monkeys
  • Tamarins
  • And many more

You don't even need a license to have some of these species as pets & there is an estimated 5,000 primates kept as pets in the UK, although this number could even be as high as 20,000 as there is a high non compliance rate with the licenses (2).

You might think after reading this that owning a primate as a pet would be great as they are cute. You would be wrong. Primates are wild, intelligent animals that live in large social groups and apart from it being wrong to take them away from their family and home, they are also very dangerous. They develop sharp teeth and are immensely strong and will not think twice about biting you.

Unfortunately people do keep them as pets and no idea about their welfare, you just have to see the story about Joey (now living at Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary) to understand how much pain they suffer; during their time as a pet and even after they are rescues as a result of the years of captivity.

Watch Joey's story narrated by Stephen Fry here - Joey's Story

Primates are not pets and we need to lay down the laws to protect them and educate people about animals not being there simply for our use. Animals live on this planet with us, were here before us and will be here after we are gone. We cannot live on this planet without animals and its about time we start showing them the respect they deserve.

What you can do:

  • Sign the petition to end the LEGAL primate pet trade for good - sign here
  • Adopt a monkey from Wild Futures and support a fabulous charity, can be done for individuals/couples/families - adoptamonkey or for schools and businesses please send an email to -
  • Volunteer at the monkey sanctuary and have a great experience while helping an amazing charity
  • Become a Wild Futures Ambassador and help raise awareness and money for primates worldwide
  • Support Wild Futures by signing up to their newsletter & follow them on Facebook & Twitter
  • Most importantly tell everyone you know about the fact Primates are not Pets!

2 -

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

My Journey Up Kilimanjaro

In September 2013 I climbed the tallest free standing mountain in the world at 5,895m, it really is 'The Roof of Africa'.

I did this Climb for two reasons, firstly to raise money for Wild Futures and secondly to raise awareness of the strength of a Vegan diet. I am passionate about both of these and about how our diet is undoubtedly linked with the extinction and survival of our rain forests.

Please enjoy my video below of my trip and I am still taking donations please give what you can, click here.

Please follow me on twitter @lukeberman, like my facebook page or subscribe to this blog.

Ask me any questions you may have.

Big thanks goes to my cousin Joel Goldberg for making this video!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Remember them all for the ultimate sacrifice, "They had no choice".

I thought it be fitting to start my blog on remembrance day with a post to remember all that were lost.

I attended the Animal War Memorial at Brookes Gate (Marble Arch) on Sunday 10th November. Some might say 'why are you showing more respect to animals than your fellow man', I say 'I don't, I have them as equal'. Without one we do not have the other, we live in harmony and without animals millions of men & women would not be alive today.

It was a deeply moving service and the memorial itself is an incredible site. The £2 million monument unveiled in 2004 depicts animals struggling on one side and free on the other. It is a truly impressive scene and I would urge anyone to visit this and not be moved by what you see and read. The 100 or so people that were there honouring the fallen were from all walks of life including current and ex-servicemen.

One soldier at the service was remembering the dog he had by his side while serving in Afghanistan. He knew he would probably not be alive if that dog was not by his side, sniffing out mines, alerting of danger and most importantly being his best friend. He wanted to pay his respects to all that served with him.

Let me say that I have the up most respect for every member of our armed service, but we must not forget the role that animals have played and continue to play. The horses that carried the wounded from the battlefield, the dogs that sniffed out mines, the camels that carried equipment over the deserts, the mice that were sent down tunnels to check if it was safe, the mules dragging artillery around the trenches. The list goes on, but one thing is for sure, millions would not be alive today if not for the sacrifice animals gave, and remember - "They Had No Choice".

So next year why not wear a purple poppy next to your red poppy and show respect for all.

More about the Animals in War memorial -
Animal Aids campaign on remembering fallen animals -