Antarctica Awaits – A White Christmas With Dr Anne and Leona

 In Dr Anne Small

The breathtaking beauty of the Antarctic is where Dr Anne Small from Moonee Ponds MindBody Health Centre is headed for this travel blog, followed by the spectacular sights of South America.

She’ll be exploring the vast icy wonderland to wild waterfalls and all their wonderful animal inhabitants living on land, in the sea and the skies.

Yet, amongst the gorgeous scenery will be the sober reality that wildlife across our incredible planet is under great danger, and Dr Anne will be highlighting their plight by taking along a rather special little travel partner … Leona the lion, who is  spreading the message of an inspirational organisation called For The Love Of Wildlife (FLOW).

Founded in 2014 by Dr Anne’s friend Donalea Patman, FLOW has established itself as a significant force in the fight for wildlife under threat throughout the world, including working with the Federal Government on the unregulated domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia, resulting in a Parliamentary Inquiry which resulted in recommending a full domestic trade ban. With the UK just announcing their ban on ivory, with Royal Assent, it is hoped that Australia will enact the ban in 2019.

Dr Anne has thrown her full support behind FLOW in all its campaigns, and hopes that by taking Leona with her as a symbol of the love people can have for wildlife, that they can both share a special journey to spread awareness about valuing and saving our wildlife for everyone’s future on Earth, no matter what continent, country or city.

This weekend Dr Anne has arrived in Punta Arenas in Chile, awaiting for fog to clear before jetting off south to King George Island where they will board their ship towards the bottom of the world.

Whilst out and about to show Leona some of the sites in preparation for the journey south, Dr Anne took the opportunity to meet some locals and got chatting to a friendly waiter over lunch who explained some local lingo in broken English:

  1. Punta Arenas – ‘punta’ means point, ‘arenas’ means sand, hence it means ‘Sandy Point’.
  2. Gringo – ‘grin’ is a shortened form of ‘greasy’ which is what they called Caucasion people. ‘Go’ means ‘go away!’. Hence ‘Gringo’ means ‘greasy people go!’

Below are some images from Dr Anne, out and about with Leona the lion in Punta Arenas ahead of their epic voyage towards the polar regions in the south. We’re sure there’ll be a lot more photos and stories to come very soon.

About For The Love Of Wildlife …

Here is a sample of the inspirational efforts of FLOW: For the Love of Wildlife has worked with a number of politicians but mostly with Federal Member Jason Wood, who championed the issue of captive breeding and canned hunting of Africa’s lions with then Environment Minister, Greg Hunt.  This resulted in the Federal Government banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts, a global first and followed by France and the Netherlands with the US implementing strict import laws.

FLOW’s current focus is the unregulated domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia which is allowing the opportunity for illegal and recently poached items to be sold throughout markets. All trade creates demand and the decimation of elephants and rhinos requires global political will. Again this work is a focus for Jason Wood MP, who has been instrumental in the formation of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the trade.

For more information on the incredible work FLOW is doing for the world’s wildlife, visit their website here and also a reminder that donations over $2 are tax deductible.

What a tale this story will be! Dr Anne and Leona waiting for departure into the southern ocean.


Plenty of art and colour about the place, and no, this isn’t the ship we will be travelling on haha!


Monument to the crew of The Goleta Ancud, a schooner and warship built in Ancud, north of the Isla Grande de Chiloé, in Chile in 1843.


Many buildings in the township have large and vivid murals adorning the exterior. This one is of the vet who checked out Leona and advised that she was well enough to travel to the Antarctic!


Meeting new friends.


Inspecting some of the gear needed to traverse to Antarctica.


A tsunami in Punta Arenas?


Leona rubbing the foot for good luck, at the Hernando de Magallanes monument in the centre of town.


The statue is a commemoration of the fourth centenary of the discovery of the Strait of Magellan by Western navigators. Sculpted by Guillermo Córdova at the request of the Spanish businessman José Menéndez, the 10-metre high sculpture represents the Portuguese explorer Fernando de Magallanes, who sailed from the port of Seville on August 10, 1519, commanding five ships that undertook the circumnavigation of the planet: the Trinidad, the Concepción, the San Antonio, the Victoria and the Santiago.


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