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Newsletter 138

The Trump Card

Hello Friends

My first thought on Donald Trump being elected as President of the USA was that it would affect the African lion and leopard greatly.

Under President Obama, it had become extremely difficult to get the trophies back to the USA.

Proof that the shooting of the lion had benefited conservation, had to be produced. Obviously, a lion shot in a canned lion hunt, does not benefit conservation.

Trump has the power to reinstate trophy hunting, canned lion hunting with a stroke of a pen.

This is what Paul Watson thinks of Donald Trump being elected President.

Tread Lightly on the Earth

Why Fighting Donald Trump on Climate Change is a Waste of Time and Actually Counter Productive 

Commentary by Captain Paul Watson 

Before everyone gets overly upset about Donald Trump and Climate Change consider this one thing.... 

Donald Trump’s denial of Climate Change is irrelevant. 

Climate change is a scientific reality and the denial of climate change as a problem does not make the threat go away. The reality cannot be changed by the personal beliefs of the President of the United States. This is akin to King Canute demanding that the tide cease to rise. When he failed to force the Ocean to his will, he proclaimed, “let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings.” 

Presidents like kings have no authority over nature. 

And when you really think about, just what is the difference between a President that denies climate change and a Prime Minister who acknowledges it, yet acts as if he is denying it? 

It is of course the politically correct thing to acknowledge climate change as a reality but none of these world leaders are actually doing the ecologically correct thing and doing something about it. 

Greenpeace sent me and thousands of others a message yesterday. They see Trump as an opportunity to raise funds. This was the Greenpeace message: 

[This week, so many people have reached out about how they can help — and there are many ways you can get involved, but one of the most direct ways for us to prepare for the threats to our climate, communities, and planet is by making a donation to Greenpeace today.  

The road ahead will not be easy. Trump’s upcoming presidency poses a direct and real danger to our climate, our environment, and our democracy. But, Greenpeace is not going anywhere. We’re not giving up — and we are ready for this fight.] 

And today I received this message from the Environmental Defense Fund:  

[Everything that we’ve fought so hard to accomplish in the past eight years is under attack, and we must not waste any time fighting back. 

Join the fight to protect our environmental legacy by making your first online gift to EDF this weekend.] 

And today a message from the Sierra Club: 

[The next four years will be decided by how hard we fight right now. We are launching an emergency campaign to stop Trump's efforts to derail everything we've achieved. Monthly giving is the best way to support our fight. Become a Wilderness Guardian today.] 

I’m not sure how making contributions to Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and EDF is going to stop Trump. Not much was accomplished over the last eight years outside of promises on paper and some nice speeches by some politicians. 

What will people receive in return for their donations? Certainly not any influence over Trump or the Republican Congress. 

My question is this. Just how is President-elect Donald Trump any different than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? 

There is this myth that Trudeau is doing something to address climate change. He’s not. His energy policies are not much different than former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Trudeau has not stopped development and extraction in the Tar Sands, he’s pro-pipeline, pro west coast tanker traffic and pretty much pro anything that is going to profit the energy corporations. He even denied that the devastating fires earlier this year in Alberta were linked to climate change and chastised Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May for suggesting that it was. 

But at COP 21 he said he was going to take real action on climate change…. like someday----maybe, or maybe not. 

What has the U.S. under Obama done? I mean really! Trump will not diminish the Obama, Bush and Clinton efforts. He would actually have to try hard to do less than they did.  

I very vividly remember that it was Al Gore who refused to sign the Kyoto Accord and I also remember everyone in Canada and Australia giving the Americans hell for not signing that accord, yet the Canadians and the Australians were creating more greenhouse gas emissions per capita than the Americans at the time and continued to do so. 

So it seems that signing a climate change agreement is more important than actually doing something about the problem and acknowledging climate change and doing nothing about it appears to be more significant than denying it and doing nothing about it. 

Many people will now throw their energies into fighting Trump on this issue and this will make leaders like Turnbull in Australia and Trudeau in Canada look relatively good while they do nothing more substantial than Trump in reality. 

We humans do love our illusions. 

Fighting Trump on this issue will also serve to send a message to all those who voted for him that he’s their man. Making the Libs, the Greenies and the Lefties angry is something that will endear him even more in their minds. They want him to be seen as the climate changer denying hero. Instead we need to ignore him because climate change deniers are irrelevant to reality. By challenging the deniers, we validate them, we engage them and thus they are taken even more seriously. 

Donald Trump is not really a stupid man, although he plays the role quite well. He knows damn well that climate change is real but he needs to tell his base what they want to hear and challenging him on this helps him to send that message even stronger. 

Trump is not a scientist and therefore does not need to score any points with science. He is a politician wooing people who he knew wanted to hear the message that climate change is a hoax and, as is his way, he embellished it with a silly explanation that the Chinese created it. Does he really believe that? Of course not, but he wanted the people who want to hear him deny climate change to think that he does. It’s called politics, also known as the ‘art of the possible’. 

Confronting Trump on climate change achieves less traction than ignoring him. Saying he is a dunce with the science does not hurt him, in fact it only makes him stronger with his base and his base has demonstrated that science pulls very little weight when it comes to their self interested priorities. 

What he and his climate change denying constituents will not be able to ignore is when mother nature continues to slap them in the face harder and harder than the year before. They can only ignore super-storms, floods, drought, rising sea levels, devastating fires, etc., for so long until the realization that something is not quite right sinks through their hard skulls into that area of their brain that can comprehend consequences 

Trying to get a politician, any politician, to actually withdraw from energy addiction is akin to trying to get a hardcore junkie to lay off the needle. 

The Greenpeace, Sierra Club and EDF message state that Trump poses a direct and real danger to our climate, our environment, and our democracy. 

But does he? The threats to our climate, our environment and our democracy have been the same threats for decades, well before Trump. He did not just jump out of the bushes to scare us with these threats. Are the Native Americans at Standing Rock being pepper sprayed and beaten because of Trump? Did the Deepwater Horizon disaster happen because of Trump? And what could be a greater threat to our environment than BP’s disaster in the Gulf and the fact that they were never really punished. If I deliberately or even accidently poured just one barrel of oil into the harbor I would be in jail. This double standard is not Trump’s creation. 

I think the oligarchs would love nothing better than to scapegoat Donald Trump for their sins. He is after all a loose cannon in their eyes. They would much rather replace him and most likely they will. Pence would be a better fit for them and they know it. Not as good as Hillary Clinton, but more manageable than Trump. 

And these COP conferences are accomplishing absolutely nothing but talk, talk, talk and more freaking talk. We’re up to COP 22 now with this recent meeting in Morocco and without the charisma and energy of a Nichola Hulot with COP 21, hardly anyone has even heard of COP 22. 

How many COP’S will there be before anything substantial is actually done. COP 33? COP 57? These charades are simply cop-outs from action. 

Not one of these COP gab-fests has shut down a single coal fired generating plant or a single pipeline. Not one. 

The only thing that excites any government appears to be the possibility of imposing a tax. Politicians love taxes and carbon taxes are just another scam to secure tax dollars. Carbon trading is yet another scam. 

There is not a single nation that is undertaking the effort to realistically and effectively address climate change. 

Is anyone shutting down fracking, drilling, open pit mining, deep water exploration? No. Is there a single nation cutting subsidies to energy companies or to the destructive fishing industries? No. Will we stop slaughtering 65 billion animals a year to reduce a carbon footprint that is even greater than that of transportation? Hell no, “I like my hamburger” is the answer. 

Is there a single world leader ready to make economic sacrifices for the environment? Absolutely not.  

“Oh but….,” say my critics, “there are great educational programs underway.” How’s that working? Not that great? 

And now some people want us to waste our energies battling Trump the climate change denier as if that’s going to accomplish anything. It won’t. When will we stop reacting to the circuses so we can actually focus on taking the initiative? 

My point is that Donald Trump simply is no worse and no better than all the rest of these so called leaders whose agenda is to serve the corporations and to enrich themselves. 

He won’t do much but he will most likely do just as much meaning very little as Trudeau, Turnbull and May have done, or will do.  

Remember the North American Free Trade Deal, happened under Clinton. The Trans-Pacific Trade Deal was an Obama goal. Trump is against it. Fracking was initiated and supported by Obama and Clinton. The embarrassment of the Dakota Access Pipeline is happening under the Obama administration. Would Hillary Clinton have stopped it if elected, would she actually do a damn thing to address climate change if she had won? The evidence indicates that she would have done everything to maintain the status quo which has brought all these problems to us and will present much greater problems in the near future. 

I did not vote for Trump but I’m not going to pretend that on this issue i.e. climate change anyone else would mean anything different. 

I can see fighting Trump on women’s issues, LGBT+ issues, immigration issues and many more important social issues and I will support any such efforts with both passion and action BUT I have no intention of fighting Trump on Climate Change because to do so would simply be a distraction away from the fact that not one goddamn world leader is actually doing anything at all to address the problem and I have no intention of contributing to making them all look good compared to Trump. 

Because when it comes to climate change Trump is on par with Trudeau, Turnbull, May, Hollande, Abe, Putin, and the leaders of China, Brazil, Mexico and everyone else meaning that they all are pursuing agendas that are contrary to the reality of climate change. 

So where do we look for answers? 

People of passion, of imagination, courage and commitment. People like Elon Musk, Gildo Pastor, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Cameron, Ethan Brown, Cyrill Gutch, John Paul DiJoria, Chief Raoni, Dale Vince, Naomi Klein, Jasmine Thomas, Wangari Maathai and so many others. 

Individual passion. Individual imagination. Individual initiative. Individual courage. These are the keys to our survival. 

Depending on a politician to solve any of these problems is like depending on an oil executive to promote solar energy. It is simply not in their interest or as Bill Clinton once put it, “It’s the economy stupid.” 

And that is a fact. Politicians serve the economy. They do not serve the Environment. It’s like asking a high school history teacher to teach advanced math. They won’t do it because they can’t do it. 

We need to look beyond the limited horizons of elected officials because the answers are to be found well beyond their restricted and blinkered worldviews. 

To paraphrase Matthew in Matthew 22:21 "Render to the Donald the things that are the Donald’s.” 

Climate change is not one of his things and never will be. It is our thing, those of us who understand the consequences and thus it is our responsibility to explore and invent alternatives and to fight the technologies, not the hired mouthpieces of these destructive technologies.

Thank you to all who replied to my Newsletter: Most Admired People on the Planet. Here are some of the replies.

JV, perhaps you should fact check your stories before publishing them in your newsletters. A case in point is your declaration of Botswana's president, Ian Khama, being voted as the world's best president. See attached. There is no record kin the United Nations Social and Economic Office documents declaring this a fact. 

It also seems that Khama holds the lives of animals in higher regard than human beings and the rule of law (of his own country, no less). A case in point is his treatment of the Bushmen in the Central Kalahari area and the treatment they have been receiving at the hands of the government even to the extent of ignoring the judgements by the courts. See attached.  

I can understand your admiration of Khama in protecting wildlife against poachers as this is truly a tragedy. (I have heard you speak on this issue at your presentation to a group of photographers several years ago.) Nevertheless, I think that humanitarianism should come before greed as the latter is exemplified by Khama's actions. Perhaps the rest of the world should heed what  Survival International has to say on the matter as well as others speaking out on this issue. See attached. 

I hope that you are over your illnesses and feeling better and that Tiger Canyons and your animals are thriving.  

Luis Curran

Hello John, 

Long long time no chat. I think the last time we spoke to each other was during ‘Safari Live’ up at Singita Lebombo. Anyway I enjoy receiving your newsletters from Tiger Canyons so thank you for sending. 

I had to respond to the latest issue when I read about Tina Turner and the effect she had on your life. She also made a huge impression on me. The concert you refer to during the Apartheid years I remember well. It was at the Colosseum in Joburg and I went along with a couple of friends. We were huge fans of the Acid Queen (as she was then known), and we were mesmerised by her performance which was exhilarating. As you rightly mention there weren’t that many in the audience and those that were there, sat glum faced clapping politely in between sets. In contrast my mates and I went wild, standing on our seats rocking, singing, and clapping. We were asked to sit down and behave ourselves!  

Several years later, I went to Sun City to film Tina’s dancers for a programme called Front Row. They were rehearsing for the Wildest Dreams World Tour which was to kick off in SA and had agreed to give dance workshops to kids from the townships. We were in the Superbowl in the early afternoon, the dancers were working with the kids, when Tina suddenly appeared and watched from a distance. She was amazed at what she saw – the kids were in full stride rocking away in perfect synch with her highly accomplished dancers. Immediately she summoned the entire band, put everyone on the stage, invited me to join them, and went into a full rehearsal of the show with the kids in tow. It was electric – Tina Turner unplugged singing “ Never in your wildest dreams, did you ever get that feeling……” The look on the faces of the kids was priceless and they performed with energy and enthusiasm like there was no tomorrow. 

Several hours later, they finished the set and Tina was so bowled over with the kids that she invited several of them to join her on stage with her dancers for the opening night! One of them, David, impressed her so much that she sent him off to dance school in New York for a year, fully sponsored. He has since become one of SA’s finest dancer/choreographers. 

A remarkable person, so down to earth and compassionate ….. I was humbled and privileged to have been able to spend a little bit of time in her presence. What an inspiration! 

Treading lightly,
Tim Chevallier

On a documentary called lions documentary reality is quite hard. It shows how and why the people kill the lion. The residents say its because the lion kills their livestock. Then it shows a man who kills for a living because he says the head of a lion is worth a lot. ( and he already has another living taking tourists camel riding) so he does it for sport for pleasure. It seems like its a ongoing war between the people who love and appreciate animals and are trying to save them and those who are the opposite. It makes me so angry and I wish I could do something to terminate hunting. Animals kill for the plain reason to live and to feed their young. Whilst humans who have plenty of food to choose from I.e fruit and veg, carbs endless array would choose to kill animals and not to just eat them to sell and make profit out of it. Just plane cruel. Why can't man just live simply? Man thinks he needs the extra money to survive so he has to take the life of something else. What makes man have more of a right to live then the wildlife/animal? Man does not need all the luxury he thinks he needs. Humans are spoilt and a selfish species. Animals are not. They don't waste not a speck of meat of the animal and will risk their lives to steal so they don't have to make another kill. Humans waste loads of food and not just food. A world with out wildlife is like a dead body a body without soul with out passion. When a human kills a adult big cat then the whole family dies because they need their mother and protection of their father. If a human adult dies plenty of people will take care of there offspring. But animals have a harder life for survival. We have to look after them. If we lived more modest simple lives eating when we're hungry living in the space we need making use of what we have and using things well not killing for the plane reason to destroy all that we've got its just a few ways of how we can look after our earth.  

I'll send the poem as well this is just how I feel.  


Leopards dozing on branches,
Animals feeding their young
The moon lights up the darkness
Until out comes the hot sun 

Bears come out the dens
To explore the outdoors
An adventure in the world
That's very different to yours 

Some animals live in groups
While others on their own
But each is very special
They all need a home 

They all need trees and grass
Plenty of water to drink
Each animal runs fast
And are quick in the way they think 

Animals aren't cruel
They don't kill out of hate
They kill for food to eat
And share it with their mate 

Animals love to be in the open
In the wild running free
Not trapped in a cage with barbed wire
So people could come and see

Every animal makes a sound
Each one has beautiful skin
So why do people hunt?
They want control and to win 

We can learn from every animal
To the world so much they give
So please don't go around killing
They also have a right to live! 

Written by Chaya Stern

Once again many thanks for your always interesting Newsletters. I appreciate it bigtime... 

I sent it on to Irmelin DiCaprio.

Irmelin is Leonardo's mother and as I might have mentioned in the past, she is my wife's cousin. 

Quick note re Gary Player; my mother once while shopping needed an extra 1 rand for payment and seeing Gary behind her asked him for it. With his hands full in the queue said to her: "Just put your hand in my pocket and take one." 

Jaaa hey, a super oke indeed...spent some time with him shooting a doccie on him many years ago..awesum dude. 

All the very best to you and yours an much peace and tranquility over the holls and into the 'nuwe jaar'... 

Best regards, tai

Dear John, 

Thank you for sharing. I love your choices.

Gary is right about embracing adversity (within or outside of ourselves). This is where the opportunity for healing abides.

Love Ian Player. It is due to him I could walk in Imfolozi (walking trail with Anna Breytenbach and Peter).

LOVE Ian Khama.

LOVE Paul Watson. Talk about balls. His strength, integrity, and actions bring me to tears almost immediately. 

The others are fabulous leaders too of course.

Thank you and bless you for sharing ideas with your audience and caring for the big cats.

I hope to visit your place one day. 

Jacky Churcher
Vancouver, Canada  


Tread lightly on the Earth

Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


Newsletters 158
Open letter to Cyril Ramaphosa

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SCI bans canned lion hunting

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The Indian Connection

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JV's response to Elayna Kinley letter

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The Break Out

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Tiger Corbett's Release

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Corbett's Journey

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Bush School: Where are they now?

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John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

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Marion's Big Cat Safari

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Full energy flow

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Investing in wild tigers

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Where are the Champions?

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Managing the Genes

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Capture the Moment

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The Princess Diana of Tigers - Julie:
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The Communicators

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A Letter to All Conservationists in SA 
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Profit is the Name of Your Game

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Big Cat Cub Safari

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In the Jaws of the Tiger

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Open letter to Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa about rhino crisis

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Open letter to Min of Defense, South Africa about rhino crisis

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Digital Photography

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Rhino Horn Trade - Response

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Raw Power

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The Evolution of the Tracker

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An Open Letter to the Honourable Edna Molewa, Minister of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs

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Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the best eyesight of them all?

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fastest of them all?

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best fighter of them all?

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Seeking the genes

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Corbett's Journey

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In Search of a Mate

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Rumble in the Jungle

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Voronin Big Cat Safari Breaks All Records

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A Journey to Nowhere

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The John Hume Approach

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Response to Rhino Horn Auction

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A Letter to John Hume, SA biggest Rhino Breeder

Newsletters 57
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Indian Government -
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Newsletter 55
What price must beauty pay?

Newsletter 54
Corbett's Freedom

Newsletter 53
Lethal injection or Freedom

Newsletters 52
The anatomy of an aggressive tiger

Newsletters 51
Majestic, breathtaking pictures

Newsletters 50
Tigress Calendar

Newsletters 49

Let your pictures do the talking

Newsletters 48

Rhino Wars

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A Letter to the President

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The Body Parts Scam

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Tiger Subspecies

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Your future and the Tiger

Newsletter 42
Talk to Me

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Gaian Reminder

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Ron's Journey

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Beauty comes at a price

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The Light Has Gone Out

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The Beautiful Game

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The Ethics of
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Tiger Hunt

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The Year of the Tiger

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Riding the Tiger

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Runti's Journey

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To intervene or not to intervene -
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Lion - Tiger - Human Communication

Newsletter 28

Emotional humans, emotional cats

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Julie gives birth to 5 tiger cubs

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International Tiger Day

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To all Photographers

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A Shot in Anger

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Newsletter 21

Newsletter 19

Tiger Birth
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Tiger Courting

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Privatizing the Tiger

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Newsletter 8

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Water Cats

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Tiger Intelligence

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Tiger language
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Interspecies communication

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Cub relocation


Death of a Legend

Newsletter 20

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Painted Wolves

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Response to Elephant Trust
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Elephant Trust