Environmental News.



Celebrating Elephants - World Elephant Day 2020


Speaking recently about my experiences with elephants, lions and the mysterious otang on the UK radio show, The Unexplained, with host, Howard Hughes. 


Thank you Howard for inviting me to be on the show.


Here is the link below, and I hope you find the interview interesting!



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Here is the link to my recent interview on Bigfoot and Beyond with Cliff and Bobo. I hope you enjoy listening to it!




Bigfoot and Beyond is a weekly podcast hosted by Cliff Barackman and James 'Bobo' Fay of Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot.


Thank you to Cliff and Bobo for having me on the show. It was great chatting with you both.



Here is the link to a recent newspaper article (The Herald - South Africa, 22nd June) about my research and current book. I hope you find it interesting.



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Recent review of my current book, Beyond the Secret Elephants, in the Relict Hominoid Inquiry (RHI). Review by the Editor of the RHI, Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at Idaho State University.


Here below is the link, and I hope you enjoy reading the book!




The objective of the RHI is to promote research and provide a refereed venue for the dissemination of scholarly peer-reviewed papers exploring and evaluating the possible existence and nature of relict hominoid species around the world.

Beyond the Secret Elephants is also available in Kindle Edition format on Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Secret-Elephants-elephants-discovery-ebook/dp/B083W4CS6T/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=GARETH+PATTERSON&qid=1586278824&sr=8-1

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Planet of the Mystery Apes, Chapter 1.

South Africa's Otang.


Matt Pruitt, researcher and host of Apes Among Us, recently interviewed

me about my work with lions, elephants, the mysterious otang, and about

my new book, Beyond the Secret Elephants. During this lock-down period,

I hope you really enjoy this hour long podcast interview


Many thanks Matt.

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Planet of the Mystery Apes, Chapter 1.

South Africa's Otang.


Matt Pruitt, researcher and host of Apes Among Us, recently interviewed me about my work with lions, elephants, the mysterious otang, and about my new book, Beyond the Secret Elephants.

During this lock-down period, I hope you really enjoy this hour long podcast interview - https://nawac.podbean.com/e/planet-of-the-mystery-apes-chapter-1-south-africa-s-otang/ 


Many thanks Matt.

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A great review of my new book, Beyond the Secret Elephants. Thank you Martin Hatchuel 


Also a video of an amazing and very moving eyewitness report of the existence of the relict hominoid, otang, as told in the new book.


Thank you Thembela. Brave of you my friend. This was at the recent launch of the book in Knysna.


Please see the link below for both:



Happy New Year Everyone!


A new year, and a new book - Beyond the Secret Elephants,

the sequel of The Secret Elephants.


Here is a preview of the cover!


Available in-store in southern Africa week of January 20.

For international orders from Amazon, the book will be available as an e.book.



Exciting news! The Kindle e.book version of my new book, Beyond the Secret Elephants (Tracey McDonald Publishers), is now up on Amazon (please see the link below).


The book will be available in-store in Southern Africa end of next week!



15/12/2019. The Secret Elephants Forest Experience. 


With the arrival of summer, and the completion of my new book, Beyond the Secret Elephants (sequel of The Secret Elephants), I am once again conducting with guests my Secret Elephants Forest Experience.


For enquiries/bookings, please email me at gpatterson@wispernet.co.za.


Thanks to my guests (repeat guests!) Dirk and Daniela for the use of your photos here from a recent forest experience. It was great to share the forest experience with you both again!

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I am very proud this week. The other day I learnt that my book about my rediscovery of the amazing Knysna Elephants, 'The Secret Elephants' (Penguin Books) has just gone into its fifth reprint. It was first published back in 2009 - a decade ago. The book has not made me a millionaire as I plow what I earn from books back into my wildlife work/research, but I am really thrilled about the awareness this book has created about these special elephants, and elephants in general. I am presently working on the sequel - 'Beyond the Secret Elephants'.


My thanks to everyone who have read this book over the past decade!


Those of you who might like to join me on The Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email me at gpatterson@wispernet.co.za for details.

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Scenes from one of my recent Secret Elephants Forest Experiences - with great guests, Dirk and Daniela.

For information on how you can also join me on The Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email - gpatterson@wispernet.co.za

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The Garden Route Wildfires and the Knysna Elephants - the worlds most southerly free roaming elephants.


With the news of the recent Garden Route wildfires, readers of my book The Secret Elephants, have over the past two weeks or so, contacted me enquiring about how the tiny Knysna elephant population (the world's most southerly free roaming elephants) might have been affected by the wildfires in the mountains (mountain fynbos comprises a large area of the Knysna elephants range, and fynbos species are a significant part of the elephants diet).


While the fires raged, I felt fairly confident that the Knysna elephants would have sought refuge from the mountain wildfires deep within the naturally protected indigenous forests - but I could not begin to determine this until this last Saturday (10/11/2018) when with the mopping up operations, I could begin to look for signs of the elephants.


Happily I can now confirm that from signs (spoor, droppings and feeding sign) I found in the forest between Diepwalle and Gouna, it seems that two of the elephants (one approximately 17 - 18 years old - age determined by hind foot track measurement, and the other being an older adult) moved together south into deep indigenous forest, and away from the mountain wildfires, approximately a week to ten days ago.


Should this be indicative (which I believe it could be) of the cautionary/intuitive reaction to the wildfires by other Knysna elephants, then I am fairly sure the elephants are safe. That said, of course, one cannot be entirely sure until overall assessments of the impact of the wildfires are completed. I am optimistic though.


Update 14/11/2018


While conducting one of my Secret Elephants Forest Experiences with guests yesterday, I found more signs of the two elephants that are moving together. Measurements of the hind foot track of the larger adult suggests that this elephant could be an adult bull. The two elephants had moved southwards then westwards into the central deep forest area. It seems, though I cannot confirm, that one other elephant is also in this part of the central forest area. Hopefully signs of the other elephants will be seen in other forest areas in the western portions of the elephants range.


Many thanks to Christa and Gilly for the use of photos taken last Saturday and yesterday - elephant footprints in mud puddle, Saturday, measuring hind foot tracks yesterday etc.


For information about the Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za

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Donate Today! Gareth Patterson's Beyond the Secret Elephants research and book project.


Through the BackaBuddy crowdfunding platform, I am raising much needed funds for my Beyond the Secret Elephants research and book project. Beyond the Secret Elephants, the sequel to my book, The Secret Elephants, will not only update the story of the Knysna elephants, but for the very first time will reveal extraordinary information about other mysterious beings that I have discovered are also inhabiting the Knysna elephants forest and mountain fynbos home...  


To know more about this exciting project and how you can contribute, please go the following BackaBuddy link - www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/gareth-pattersons-beyond-the-secret-eleph . 


Many thanks to those of you who have already donated. Much appreciated.

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Sustainable Jungle is a wonderful eco-awareness platform.

Here follows the link to Sustainable Jungle's podcast episode number 24 - www.sustainablejungle.com/podcast/episode-24-gareth-patterson/


My thanks to Joy and Lyall of Sustainable Jungle for producing this lovely episode.


I hope you all enjoy listening to it.


This interview is dedicated to my bush dog, Tuli, who passed away on July 26th 2018.

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Some very exciting news. I have just linked up with BackaBuddy (NPC) to fundraise for my Beyond the Secret Elephants research and book project. Here is the link for you to learn more and how to contribute -  www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/gareth-pattersons-beyond-the-secret-eleph 

Many thanks.

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Born to be Free and The Secret Elephants.


Signing copies of my newly released children's book, Born to be Free, at my local book shop, Bargain Books, in Knysna, South Africa. I was also signing copies of my book The Secret Elephants. This book is about my rediscovery of the amazing Knysna elephants, the world's most southerly elephants. I am very proud of The Secret Elephants. It was first published back in 2009, and recently has gone into its fifth reprint edition. Currently I am working on the sequel, Beyond the Secret Elephants.

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Garden Route Walking Festival 2018. Gareth Patterson's Secret Elephants Forest Experience.

Upcoming Garden Route Walking Festival 30th March - 2nd April 2018. Fantastic walks in the wilds. I will be doing my Secret Elephants Forest Experienceeach day over the Easter weekend. 


Please see the following website for details -  http://walkingfestival.co.za/events/the-secret-elephants-forest-experience/ . For bookings for my forest experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za


The Secret Elephant Forest Experience takes place most weekends, but can usually also be arranged for during the week.

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Excellent day of adventure yesterday with three great guests on my Secret Elephants Forest Experience. Knysna elephants x 2 (possibly 3) had been very busy pulling trees across the forest trail. Circumference of dung indicates age of elephant. At 42 cm, this suggests one of the elephants is approximately 16 years old. Elephants ripped a research trail camera from a tree. The elusive Knysna elephants are the world's most southerly elephants. Many thanks Heloise for the great photos. Should you like to know more about the Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za 



My bush dog Tuli yesterday looking over 'her' domain, and that of the elusive Knysna elephants!


The wild surrounds are now looking green again, and I am taking bookings for my Secret Elephants Forest Experience.


For more information about the Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za

22/7/2017. After the Knysna wildfires.


Photo of my bush dog, Tuli, in a long cooled off burnt area. After much patrolling on the southern edge of the Knysna forest, thankfully, I have not come across any wildlife fatalities because of the fires. 


Leopard, bushbuck, porcupine, baboon, mongoose and other creatures are now venturing back into the area.


I am busy back doing my Secret Elephants Forest Experience - for more information about the forest experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za

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Knysna fires. Scenes from the edge of the Knysna Forest.

The large range of the Knysna elephants - comprising of hundreds of square kilometers of indigenous forest and mountain fynbos - was unaffected by the recent devastating Knysna wildfires. I am confident that the elephants are fine. This morning I was walking on hills on the edge of the southern Knysna forests, in areas of former (felled) pine plantations. Looking north over the elephants range, it was uplifting to see the vista was unchanged, unlike the areas where I was walking. Here are a few scenes from the hills. I saw a forest buzzard launch itself from a solitary tree. There were the footprints of small creatures such as genet and other animals, and in the north the elephants range looked magnificent.
Nearby, where I live, our resident family of vervet monkeys reappeared after the fires - they had made it too. As did our francolin and guineafowl families. And it was even reported that a leopard was seen nearby the other morning.

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Forest, fynbos and mountains. The amazing range and home of the world's most southerly (and most secretive) elephants. The Knysna elephants.


And one elephant mangled gate!


So blessed to live here, and to have studied these amazing elephants.


Last week while doing one of my The Secret Elephant Forest Experiences with Trish Carter of Knysna Stays Guest House (http://www.knysnastays.co.za/) and guests, we heard one of these elusive elephants feeding less than fifty meters away from where we were walking in the forest.


For information about The Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za

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The Secret Elephants Forest Experience with Gareth Patterson.


Lovely photos from a Secret Elephants Forest Experience last week with Hermien van Schalkwyk and friends.


With us was excellent professional guide, Pete Collins of Venture Beyond Tours and Trails (note the tiny Knysna dwarf chameleon on Pete's hand - a forest dweller, and is endemic to this area. This little one was picked up from the track and put back into the safety of the forest).


For information about my Secret Elephants Forest Experience trips into the magical forest and fynbos home of the elusive Knysna Elephants, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za .


Thank you Hermien for the photos, and it was great meeting you all. 



Gareth Patterson, winner of the SAB Environmentalist of the Year Award 2016 .




Forest Legends article by Martin Hatchuel. Garden Route Guide.

Knysna elephants and Gareth Patterson's Secret Elephants Forest Experience.








Gareth's recent Sky World News interview about the ADI rescue and airlift of the 33 lions to South Africa - https://youtu.be/39MPUlZ58sg




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With certain relevance to the heartfelt events concerning elephants and lions this last weekend (30/4/2016), here below is an interview Gareth did for the May edition of the spiritual magazine, Aneis de Vida.






Recently Gareth gave talks and had discussions about the Knysna elephants, with young pupils of the Oakhill School in Knysna. It was a great morning.


Grade 4 Experiential Learning By ADMIN | Published: MARCH 9, 2016


Grade 4 students were engaged and intrigued by three local animal experts – Gareth Patterson (author ‘Secret Elephants’), Louw Claasens (Knysna Basin Project) and Terry Kallis (Steenbok Nature Reserve) during a visit to the school’s Learning Commons last week. Through Project Based Learning the children experienced the joy of interviewing these experts and also engaging other sources of information; using the school’s iPad bank, video media and reference books to create digital books on the Knysna Elephant, Knysna Seahorse and Knysna Dwarf Chameleon. A huge thank you to these experts for their willingness and expertise!    




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A Special Earth Day Interview with Gareth Patterson, by Lisa Wogan, The Story by Kindle.

The Writer who Roared. In Recognition of Earth Day 2016. http://thestorybykindle.tumblr.com/post/143029709670/the-writer-who-roared-in-recognition-of-earth-day  




4/2/2016 - The Trial.


For several weeks I have been working with the wonderful artist, Karin Saks, on the concept of this painting, The Trial. Now complete, I think this powerful artwork sums up the global collective efforts for lion preservation during 2015, and our hopes for 2016.

After the staggering public response to this artwork, Karin and I have decided to make The Trial available to buyers and collectors

Description: Oil and acrylic. Width 90 cm x 75 cm, mounted, unframed.


For more information, please contact : gpatterson@wispernet.co.za    





Africa Geographic. New story about The Secret Elephants Forest Experience, hosted by Gareth Patterson, and an update on the Knysna elephants. 




Inquiries and bookings for the forest experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za

18/11/ 2015. Fantastic recent Secret Elephants Forest Experience!


While exploring the amazing Knysna forest with guests last week, we were very privileged to come across the very fresh tracks (and much feeding sign) of a Knysna female elephant and her large calf!


Inquiries and bookings for The Secret Elephants Forest Experience, please email gpatterson@wispernet.co.za .


Our documentary, The Search for the Knysna Elephants, screens again on Animal Planet, 28th November.



Gareth's recent US radio interview about Cecil the Lion.




Also here is the link to Gareth's recent article on the global public response to Cecil's death, and trophy hunting. 




Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism.


Science for Sale by Gareth Patterson.


In the wake of the killing of Cecil the lion by trophy hunter Walter Palmer and the global reaction to the lion's death, Gareth Patterson investigated how and why the US trophy-hunting industry has been funding scientific field research on lions, and a myriad of other species.




Huffington Post 4/9/2015


The Pastime of Psychopaths.


Serial killing and trophy hunting are terrifyingly similar. As wildlife researcher and author Gareth Patterson points out, both kinds of killers often immerse themselves in violent imagery.








Sky News Interview. Cecil and Batian.

After Cecil the lion was killed by an American trophy hunter, the Zimbabwean government has suspended hunting activities for certain animals. Lion expert Gareth Patterson talks about the facts and figures of trophy hunting along with the impact it has on the lions themselves. 



The Parallels of the Deaths of Two Well-loved Lions - Twenty-Four Years Apart.

Twenty-four years ago, Adamson male lion, Batian, who I had rehabilitated back into the wilds with his two sisters, Furaha and Rafiki, was shot dead.

These are the parallels of his death, and Cecil's.

Both lions were well-known, and well-loved by people worldwide.
Both lions were lured to their deaths.
Both lions were killed by US trophy hunters.
Both lions died under illegal circumstances.
Both lions died during the month of July - but twenty-four years apart.

Thank you everyone for the outpouring of emotion for Batian all those long years ago, and thank you everyone today for the outpouring of emotion for Cecil.

Let us collectively channel our thoughts and actions towards the final ending of lion trophy hunting.

Gareth Patterson

© Karien Eigner

Update on some of Gareth's Projects and Activities - January to July 2015.


Lion Awareness Speaking Engagements.


Over the past few weeks I have given several talks. Firstly to students of the Franklin University. I then undertook three speaking events at the recent Franschhoek Literary Festival, and last week, presented a sold out talk for charity in Johannesburg (see news report on this event at http://germistoncitynews.co.za/91476/lion-man-roars-into-germiston ). All events were capacity audiences. In total, I have spoken to over 1,600 people recently.


The two new books. New memoir, The Stories Untold. Sekai African Environmentalism book for the African youth.


Good progress has been made since I started writing my new book in March, The Stories Untold ( the first three chapters and the synopsis now completed). The Stories Untold, like my current book, My Lion's Heart, www.mylionsheart.com , is also an memoir, and comprises of entirely new material, and as the title suggests, are previously untold stories!


Important Sekai (www.sekaiafrica.com) book project. With academic journalist and Sekai colleague, Louise de Bruin, we have recently identified that it is vital that awareness about African Environmentalism must be created for the African youth/learners through a book. We are planning the contents and format of this book.


Knysna elephants and African lion issues.


All appears well with the Knysna elephants. Recently one night a log-loader was upturned, and two tyre's punctured by presumably the oldest bull (annual occurrence when in musth). Local Knysna transport company, Stander and Sons, took the incident really well, describing the damage as 'lekker damage' ( see news report,  http://showme.co.za/knysna/news/proof-of-elephants-in-knysna/ ). These elephants are so well-loved locally, nationally and internationally.


On this subject, I heard that our documentary on the elephants, The Search for the Knysna Elephants, was screened once again, about three weeks ago, on Animal Planet.


Recently I submitted to South African Environmental Minister, Edna Molewa, my comments and objections to the Ministry's draft plan for the 'management' of lions in South Africa. Unbelievably, the draft management plan was pro-use of captive lions (canned hunting), and pro-trade in lion body parts to the East. 


I have been attempting to deter trophy hunting of lions by a company investing in Mozambique, and who might acquire a concession of a vast tract of land bordering the Kruger National Park in neighboring South Africa. 


A major international documentary exposing canned lion hunting, Blood Lions (www.bloodlions.org) which I was interviewed, and supplied information for, has now been completed. It will be screened very soon.


Other lion issues.


I have been trying to determine what caused the recent attack of a tourist at the Lion Park by a lioness. I now feel she had experienced some past extreme trauma, related to visitor vehicles, and related to the prohibited lowering of car windows. My thoughts and comments on this tragic incident will be published in a forthcoming edition of Animaltalk magazine (http://animalchannel.co.za/). 


I was very concerned for a missing male lion that recently moved out of the Karoo National Park, and I monitored the situation closely. I was also in touch with South African National Parks, and offered to assist with the search and rescue.  

Fortunately, after almost a month, he was located, rescued and returned to the safety of the Karoo National Park (see my comments in media http://www.pressreader.com/southafrica/dailynews6671/20150630/281517929775858/TextView


Other activities in the past months.


I was commissioned to write the script (lion section) for a German audio book about Africa's 'Big Five'. 

I was consulted about a possible Jaguar rehabilitation project in Brazil.

I mentored a student on aspects concerning the Knysna elephants for his research project.

I was asked to commented on issues related to the endangered Florida Panther.



13/4/2015. Fine Music Radio. Cape Town, South Africa.


Gareth Patterson interviewed by Gorry Bowes-Taylor about his new book, My Lion's Heart.




Knysna. March 14 2015. Day after the Global March for Lions. 
Gareth gave a lecture on his life with lions to international students of Franklin University, Switzerland. Happy faces after hearing about Australia's total ban on the importation of lion trophies! Well done Australia, and may the EU and USA follow soon. 
(Photo : Conservation Global).

Book review: My Lion’s Heart by Gareth Patterson - November 18, 2014



🐾  30/10/2014. Gareth Patterson Video Interview on Polity, with Shannon de Ryhove .

My Lion’s Heart is Gareth’s tenth book, and is probably the most important book he has written. It tells his life story, a story of tears and smiles, about his attempts to greater protect the iconic animal symbol of this continent, the African lion.


My Lion’s Heart – A life for the lions of Africa: click here


🐾 23 October 2014 - 1:35 PM


The author of : My lion's heart, Gareth Patterson joins JCW for a conversation about his love for elephants and lions, and his work to protect these wild animals.

  • Guest: Gareth Patterson
  • Position: Environmentalist and Author
  • Archive: Click to listen

🐾 23/10/14: Gareth Patterson with @SueGrantMarshal on Reading Matters: #MyLionsHeart (@T_iLOVEbooks)

Gareth Patterson discusses his autobiography "My Lion's Heart: A Life for the Lions of Africa".

Reading Matters hosted by Sue Grant-Marshall is broadcast on Thursdays from 10h00 to 10h30 (GMT+2) and repeated on Sundays at 16h00 (GMT+2). Radio Today broadcasts on 1485AM in Johannesburg and country-wide on #DStv Audio Channel 869. Radio Today also streams on its website www.1485.org.za and on 1485.mobi. Radio Today! Radio that delivers! 





🐾 The Pride and Patterson

28 October 2014 at 11:21 by Bronwyn Hardick

Father, mother and custodian of the lion and elephant – Gareth Patterson shares his remarkable story of courage and conservation. Listen to the full interview here!


 The man who walks with the king of the jungle

28 October 2014 at 06:30 by Bronwyn Hardick - 

Wildlife researcher Gareth Patterson joins The Complimentary Breakfast to talk about his new book "A Life for the Lions of Africa" and the seriousness of future for African lion. You need to watch this video to truly understand what he does.


🐾 Gareth Patterson in studio chatting about his autobiography - My Lion's Heart. 14 October 2o04






23/10/2014 -  Gareth Patterson.

Tracy McDonald Publishers invites to you the launch Gareth Patterson's autobiography


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16/10/2014 -  Gareth Patterson.

An evening with Gareth Patterson


20/09/2014 -  My Lion's Heart.

For readers living in Africa, the e.book of My Lion’s Heart is now available for download from Amazon.


I’m going to live forever In the brightest spot of your heart

I’ll find the place you’ve kept for me

I’ll lay my head and go to rest

Merge with your heartbeat

Bleed to keep it strong

And when all of me is finally at peace

I’ll be content knowing

I died for love in your heart.


The book ends with the poem,

My Lion’s Heart,by Cameroonian poet, Bernice Angoh.



23/7/2014. Book Trailer Video of My Lion's Heart.

The book trailer video of Gareth's new book, My Lion's Heart. The book will be released in October 2014.



Animal Talk Channel - May 30, 2014 - Gareth Patterson - working for lions http://cat.animalchannel.co.za/2014/05/30/gareth-patterson-working-lions/


Animal Talk Channel - May 30, 2014 - Lions - Bred for the Bullet



Gareth interviewed on Nancy Richards SAfm Enviro Show



28/2/2014 TRACEY McDONALD PUBLISHERS ACQUIRES GARETH PATTERSON’S AUTOBIOGRAPHY Patterson says:“My Lion's Heart is my tenth book, and is probably the most important book I have written. It tells my life story, a story of tears and smiles, about my attempts to greater protect the iconic animal symbol of this continent, the African lion. I am absolutely delighted that Tracey McDonald Publishers will be publishing My Lion's Heart.” For more information about My Lion's Heart, please visit the book’s page on www.traceymcdonaldpublishers.com.


Pieter Cloete – The truth about the Knysna Elephants with Gareth Patterson



London conference 2014: The world wakes up at elephants' eleventh hourMichael McCarthy, The IndependentFebruary 9, 2014



Alarm as illegal bush meat trade hits all-time high



Elusive Knysna elephant caught on camera 9 January 2014



Logging has allowed poachers to pick off the African forest elephant at their will The Independent 

December 20, 2013



Elephant Declines Vastly Underestimated
By Trevor Jones and Katarzyna Nowak, A Voice for Elephants, National Geographic 

December 16, 2013



New project by 'elephant man' - The Herald  27 November 2013



Ivory stockpile to be publicly destroyed as Obama seeks to end illegal trade



Poaching Peace and Security By J. Peter Pham for Atlantic Council ISN. November 4, 2013



Boost for war on lion bone trade 3 November 2013



Avaaz lion bones adverts were censored, finds ConCourt



Rhino horn trade thrives in Jo'burg



Mystic Forest Giants



Learners spot Knysna elephant