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Gareth Patterson News



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.





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.




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





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





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 Elephant Forests Experience trips into the magical forest and fynbos home of the elusive Knysna Elephants, please email .


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 .




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


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



To launch My Lion's Heart, Gareth will be the guest speaker at the Knysna Literary Festival’s Literary Liaison event, happening on Thursday evening, the 16th of October. 


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.

Purchase from these retailers:


The Secret Elephants is available from the following Amazon sites (Canada) (Japan)


Released by Penguin Books Australia


The Search of the Knysna Elephants, a beautifully filmed documentary, tells of the work of Gareth Patterson and forest guards Wilfred Oraai and Karel Maswatie in their quest to learn about and protect the Knysna elephants, the world's most southerly elephants.


The Search for the Knysna Elephants, recently screened on Animal Planet UK, is now avalible on DVD.

DVD copies of the (57 minute) documentary can be ordered from 



Gareth collaborates with celebrated singer- song writer/guitarist Anouschka with the lion song, "Dying to be Free."






























"Anouschka is a master of versatility... she is at the same level of Norah Jones and Shania Twain and Ms. Joan Osbourne.... A wonderful voice, with the ability to phrase in the way normal pop stars can't....pop as well as jazz and blues, all unobtrusive, with a dose of self-irony..." Home of Rock, Germany (02/08/2011)



Message from Gareth:


I have dedicated the past 25 years of my life to the preservation of the African lion. Shockingly, in those past 25 years, Africa has lost 90% of its lion population. Today it is estimated that only 20,000 lions grace the entire African continent. The lion is now very endangered. Despite this, international trophy hunters come to Africa to kill lions for so-called "sport." In South Africa lions are bred in captivity to be shot in enclosed spaces by these trophy hunters. This sordid practice is known as "canned lion hunting." This song is about the story of one lioness, the Dark Lioness, who was killed under these horrible circumstances. We must act now to save the African lion. Anouschka and I have collaborated to produce this song in an attempted to created new awareness to a new audience about the plight of the lion. Thank you very much for your support.


Forest Legends article by Martin Hatchuel. Garden Route Guide.

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





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.





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.    




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 :    





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!    






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


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 .


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


The Secret Elephants Forest Experience.


Gareth Patterson, award-winning wildlife expert, and author of the acclaimed books, My Lion’s Heart and The Secret Elephants, (which tells of Gareth's rediscovery of the Knysna elephants) will be hosting once again a unique experience in the Knysna forest. Each forest experience is limited to a maximum of six people, and explores the magical and mystical world of the Knysna elephants, the world's most southerly elephants. Limited availability. 


For more information, please email: .


Forest Experience video clip -





Gareth's latest story exposing the trophy hunting industry.


Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism.


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.



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.


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


Lion Man’ roars into Germiston

Gareth Patterson shares his story.  June 9, 2015



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.


Franklin University Switzerland



DAY 1 : friday 15 May 2015

16:00 - 17:00

Church Hall

[38] Animals’ Lives Matter

with: Justin Fox, John Hanks, Gareth Patterson, Don Pinnock


DAY 2 : saturday 16 May 2015

13:00 - 14:00

Church Hall

[67] Born Free

with: GG Alcock, Justin Fox, Gareth Patterson


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

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.     

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

23/10/14: 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 and on Radio Today! Radio that delivers!


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

Animal Talk Channel - May 30, 2014

Lions - Bred for the Bullet


Gareth interviewed on Nancy Richards SAfm Enviro Show

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

Read about the latest Knysna elephant sighting: Published April 18th 2013


Read Gareth’s latest interview with Juno Cristi of SoulSpeak:



For as long as most of us can remember a shroud of mystery has surrounded the Knysna forest elephants. The general belief for many years was that only a lone female, the Matriarch, survived. But thanks to a new approach to research and monitoring, five or more of these elusive giants are believed to exist, making it essential that proper conservation and management plans be put in place to protect the last free roaming elephants in South Africa.






New project by 'elephant man' 27 November 2013

1st June 2013. Release of New Updated Third Edition of The Secret Elephants.


The new updated paperback edition of The Secret Elephants was released on the 1st June and is in book shops nationwide. The book has a beautiful new cover, an added map of my study area, and there is a new updated final chapter which I wrote to bring the whole story to the present.

Amazing Sighting by Local Hikers of Two Knysna Elephants Together


Recently local hikers were privileged to having a chance sighting of two Knysna elephants feeding together. The elephants were clearly visible across a valley on a ridge in the central portion of the Garden Route National Park (Contrary to popular belief, the Knysna elephants are not confined to the forest, and utilize edge and range across the mountain fynbos).


The sighting attracted much local, regional, and national media attention, with stories appearing in CXPress, Knysna- Plettt Herald, Eastern Cape Herald, The Times, Cape Times, and The Star. Cape Talk radio also interviewed me about the sighting.


This chance sighting of the elephants is fantastic. We must though, leave the elephants undisturbed, and people should not attempt to deliberately seek the elephants out. These remarkable elephant survivors must be left in peace.



Launch of The Legends of the Forest Museum- Garden Route National Park


On May 27 I attended the launch of The Legends of the Forest  museum at the Diepwalle Forest Station in the Garden Route National Park. The museum is a SANParks initiative to honour and recognise the history of the Knysna forest, its early indigenous people, its wildlife and is a celebration of the forest’s recorded history and mysteries. There is also a Elephant Room that celebrates and tells the history of the Knysna elephant. The museum is charming and informative, and I recommend that if you are visiting the Garden Route National Park, the museum should not to be missed.


A story relating to these findings, titled “Chasing Phantoms” by Gareth Patterson, was published in the June 2010 issue of Africa Geographic.

(to read the article, please click on the photo).




1st June 2013. Release of New Updated Third Edition of The Secret Elephants.


The Secret Elephants Gareth Patterson
Gareth Patterson’s rediscovery of the world’s most southerly elephants. A remarkable story of how these animals fought their way back from the brink of extinction without any help from humankind.


A very special radio interview. Gareth speaking with veteran broadcaster, Kate Turkington. Radio 702.


Gareth talking about Knysna elephants, the African lion, books and The Secret Elephants Forest Experience with Motion Mag’s Martin Hatchuel

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