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JV's Response To Letter From Elayna Kinley
looked on the Tiger Canyons site, and have been unable
to find a current list of tigers, let alone an
up-to-date family tree for the tigers. For instance, the
father of Panna's cubs, Khumba. Where did he come from?
Is he a tiger that is completely unrelated to the Panna,
or is he related to her? There should be no reason why
the only available data on the tigers, other than
mentions in newsletters, is over 4 years old. There's
nowhere to learn of births and deaths. And if I'm going
to get invested in an animal, I want to have regular
updates on them, without having to scour each and every
update on the off chance that tiger might be mentioned.
You have the time to write all those newsletters, but
you can't even do at least a yearly update on the major
events that have happened to each tiger? Why not have a
sub area where all the information for the tigers in
kept, with separate pages for each tiger. Have how old
the tiger is, their history, who their relatives are,
how big their territory is, how successful that are at
hunting, how shy they are, who their neighbors are and
if they're had any major fights with them. That way, if
someone saw a video about Panna, or Corbett, or so on
and wanted to know more about that tiger, they could
simply click on that tiger's page and find out all about
them. The idea that if I want to learn more about one of
the tigers I have to trawl through every single
newsletter ever released on their site for just a few
mentions of an individual tiger has completely turned me
off the idea of finding out anything about your tigers.
that you're focused on conservation, but without a
diverse gene-pool, you're dooming the tigers that will
be born in the future to having short, illness stricken
lives. Just looking at the current state white tigers
are will demonstrate that. All white in captivity that
come from a 'pure' line originate from four individuals
which were intensively inbred so that they could ensure
that all cubs born would be white. And the tigers have
suffered from it. It has happened time and time again
that when a gene pool narrows too much, defects will
show up. Just look at pedigree dogs. There isn't a
single breed of pedigree dog that doesn't have health
issues. If you're really serious about conserving
tigers, rather than just using them as an attraction to
bring visitors to your park, then you must ensure that
inbreeding is prevented. And inbreeding doesn't just
mean matings between siblings. It also means matings
between cousins and second cousins.
aren't native to Africa, unlike with lions you can't
simply exchange animals with another park. And as your
tigers aren't part of the tiger studbook used by zoos,
you can't bring in an unrelated individual from a zoo or
park to boost genetic diversity. As that is the case,
why not get together with conservationists and
scientists to see if your tigers can be used as a case
study for artificial insemination of wild tigers? Not
only would this allow the genes of completely unrelated
males to be introduced into the park, but it would also
be a major contribution to saving tigers world wild.
Most wild populations of tigers are fragmented and
isolated, meaning that to prevent inbreeding animals
have to be moved from park to park. This has a lot of
risks attached. But if conservationists could simply
collect sperm from say a captive male and use it to
inseminate a wild female in an area with a low tiger
population, it could very well save the species.
I hope that
you can read this email with an open mind and not see it
as me dumping on you, but in the spirit with which it is
intended, as constructive criticism. I do think the work
you're doing is important, but if even one aspect of it
isn't putting the tigers first, especially an aspect
that could so negatively affect them in the future, then
it needs a serious rethink.
Thank you for your Email.
I agree with your first
paragraph. Our web site needs updating, we will do
this soon. Thank you for all the good ideas.
trumpet that you are focused-on conservation, but
without a diverse gene pool, you’re dooming the
tigers that will be born in the future to having
short, illness stricken lives”
I wish I could play the trumpet,
I only play guitar & harmonica.
Any tiger that is inbred, is vasectomised or sterilized. We have a cub
introduction system whereby we introduce cubs not
related into the litter & thereby keep our genetics
diverse. In the case of Khumba, when the cub
introduction failed (I could not find Shadow’s den),
he was hand raised.
Khumba has fathered cubs with
Panna & Oria giving us excellent breeding stock.
Therefore, your comment about short, illness
stricken lives, is incorrect. Julie lived to 14,
Shadow is 12, Ron was 12, Seatao was 10, Sunderban is
9, Panna is 9. So, our tigers are living a long
time. We have had no illnesses, only a bite from a
Cape Cobra claimed Seatao’s life.
looking at the current state of white tigers I will
demonstrate that all white tigers in captivity that come
from a 'pure' line, originate from four individuals
which were intensively inbred so that they could
ensure that all cubs born would be white. And the
tigers have suffered from it. It has happened time
and time again that when a gene pool narrows too
much, defects will show up"
All white tigers came from a
white male tiger called Mohan who traveled from
India to USA in the 50’s.
We have bred two white tigers
from carriers Seatao & Julie. (A carrier has one
white gene and one normal gene)
The first white tiger was Shine,
who was killed by hunters trying to steal her for a
canned tiger hunt.
The second white tigress is Tibo
who is still alive & has produced three cubs that
Tibo is a very fine specimen & is
quite aggressive. She has killed a young female
called Aurora and recently she killed her sister Indira. (Her son Bird helped her kill both Indira &
Our policy at Tiger Canyons is to
preserve the rarity of the White tiger & therefore,
we are concentrating on wild born, wild raised,
self-sustaining, normal tigers.
tigers aren’t native to Africa, unlike with lions,
you can’t simply exchange animals with another park”
A group of scientists at Wits
University believe the Tiger was in Africa & went
extinct. These scientists believe that in time with
fossil evidence, they will prove the Tiger
was in Africa.
The Wits scientists hypotheses is
that the Tiger after being widely spread, crashed &
small population survived in Asia. It is from this
population that the modern tiger evolved. This would
explain why there are no Tigers on the island of Sri
Lanka. The land had split from the mainland by the
time the remnant population radiated outwards.
This would also explain why
Tigers have such a narrow genetic base, because it
came from one remnant population. (Cheetah are also
very genetically narrow)
is the case, why not get together with
conservationists and scientist to see if your tigers
can be used as a case study for artificial
insemination of wild tigers”
insemination has been tried before by others, with
disappointing results. It is expensive, difficult &
Because of canned tiger hunting
in South Africa, (Lion canned hunting is legal; Tiger
canned hunting is illegal) there is a wide genetic
variety of Tigers in South Africa. Therefore,
natural mating and cub relocation as explained, is a
far better option.
wild population of tigers are fragmented and
isolated meaning that to prevent inbreeding animals
have to be moved from park to park”
India is a perfect example of
where the island scenario is emerging. Tigers have
recently gone extinct in Sariska & Panna & no cross
pollination of genes between parks like Rhanthambore,
Kanha & Bandhavgarh exists.
Indian conservationists would do
well to examine cub relocation. A non-related cub
can be sourced & the Tigress can be darted & the
non- related cub introduced into the litters. I have
had success with both lion & tiger using cub
However, my fear is with India’s
huge human population (India is through 1.4 billion)
and it’s notorious bureaucracy, this kind of forward
creative thinking will never materialize in India.
Several senior Indian government
officials and conservationists will be visiting
Tiger Canyons in the near future & I will certainly
be showing them how cub relocation works. However,
I’ m not holding my breath.
think the work you are doing is important, but if
even one aspect of it isn’t putting the tigers
first, especially an aspect that could so negatively
affect them in the future, then it needs a serious
I don’t quite
understand this remark. Have you ever been to Tiger
Canyons? Have you ever sat down with me & discussed
my management policies?
I have spent the last eighteen
years of my life living in a dilapidated house.
Every cent I have earned has gone into land, fencing
& prey for the tigers. I could quite easily stay at
Londolozi & live in luxury.
My reward is a spiritual one. I
get to interact with this magnificent cat on a daily
basis. I get to see young cubs mature, disperse,
mate & have cubs of their own. I also have the
sorrow when one of the tigers dies.
So let me ask you, apart from
sitting behind your computer, what have you done for
Thank you for your Email, you
make some constructive points.
Tread lightly on the Earth