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Newsletter 154


Tigress Jameez basking in morning light in front of Tigress Julie Lodge. Picture credit: Juta Jacobi


Hello Friends 

I have been privileged to have lived in two of the most productive eco-systems in Africa. 

For seventeen years I followed and filmed the great migration of bearded wildebeest from the Serengeti in Tanzania into the Masai Mara in Kenya. 

For 18 years I have lived in the Great Karoo of South Africa which once supported an incredible 200 million springbuck. 

Today the Serengeti - Masia Mara eco-system operates as it has done for thousands of years. The land through the grass, bushes and trees feeds the animals and the animals through their dung and urine, feed the land.

In short, this symbiotic relationship is a self-perpetuating system which has produced some of the most productive eco-systems the world has ever known. 

Sixty two million American buffalo in the prairies of North America, two to three hundred million springbuck in the Savannah grassland of South Africa, to name a few. 

Springbuck at Tiger Canyons. Picture credit: Lorna Drew

Sadly, in the Karoo of South Africa, at the turn of the previous century, man destroyed the symbiotic relationship between the land and the animals. 

The huge number of Buffalo in North America and the great herds of springbuck survived because of their mobility. In short, they grazed the grass, fertilized the soil and moved on, repeating the process over and over again. 

It is interesting that American Buffalo (Bison), Wildebeest and Springbuck are all designed to move long distances. However, in South Africa and the USA, the ability to move was destroyed with the advent of the wire fence. 

Once people were given title to the land, these great eco-systems that had been so productive were destroyed. Humans are extremely territorial animals. “This is my farm, this is my boundary and these are my animals” is the mantra of every farmer world wide. “Those who compete with me shall be destroyed with gun, trap and poison”, is another farmers mantra. 

Therefore the Lion, Leopard, Caracal, Jackal, Cheetah, Wild dog and Hyena in Africa, the Mountain Lion, Wolf and Coyote in the USA are all listed as vermin to be killed as soon as they pose a threat to livestock. 

However, when one alters an eco-system there is cause and effect. There are repercussions! 

Under the migratory system the animals impacted the land in a symbiotic relationship and moved on. In the farming regime, the indigenous animals have been replaced by exotic animals (animals that can be easily domesticated and which put on weight fast.) However, the exotic animals are not designed to move great distances. 

Even if they were mobile, there are fences in the way. Now the domestic animals have to survive for 365 days a year on the farm. The farmer provides water for the livestock in the form of windmills pumping out the boreholes. Every day the livestock move to the water, overgrazing and denuding  the land around the windmill. 

Now the rain falls and there is no grass to cushion the impact of the rain, so it cuts through the top soil, starting a process of gulley erosion. (Dr Ken Tinley has likened this to pulling the bath plug out of the bath.) 

The process is called “desertification” an ugly word for an ugly process. 

In the symbiotic migratory regime, the rain that fell remained in the system, under desertification, the rain is lost to the system, further impoverishing the land. 

However, worse news is to follow. Scientists have linked desertification (2/3 of the earth’s surface is affected by desertification) as one of the major causes of climate change. 

Some scientists believe that desertification is a bigger cause of climate change than indeed the burning of fossil fuels. 

In my previous Newsletter, I talked of the ecological blunder human beings have committed, in destroying the diversity of plants in the deforestation of the earth. Desertification could be an even greater miscalculation than deforestation, because like the forest destroyed, how do you reverse desertification. 

Scientists across the world are divided on the cure for desertification (Alan Savory has put forward an interesting theory on TED talk on desertification) 

One thing patently obvious, is that we had no understanding of the complex workings of the 62 million American Buffalo which moved across the North American prairies and we had no idea on how the land in the Karoo of South Africa supported over 200 million springbuck and other species. 

What is becoming clear is that our farming systems across the globe and hence our food supplies are going to be ruthlessly exposed by flood, fire, drought, disease and everything Goddess Gaia will throw at us under the guise of climate change. 

On a personal note, the Masai Mara where I spent 17 years of my life, has now given title deed to the Masai people who live in and around the Masia Mara. This is a blunder of tragic proportions, for like the fenced farms in the Karoo, they are setting themselves up for desertification on a massive scale. The disastrous mistakes made in the Karoo of South Africa have not been heeded. 

Tread lightly on the Earth

Hello Friends

Thank you for all your replies to "Response to letter from Elayna Kinley" and "Supermarket Shopper vs. Hunter Gatherer". Once again I apologize for not being able to answer them all personally.

Tread Lightly on the Earth

Response to
"JV's response to letter from Elayna Kinley"

Hi JV,

I would like to thank you again for having Darren and myself at the Tiger Canyons and the incredible experience you gave us. It was the most incredible thing we have ever experienced and worth every penny.

With regards to this lady's email, I would like to make a few comments about it myself.

Firstly she seems to be very aggressive, almost abusive in her email, it's like she has absolutely no idea what is really going on at Tiger Canyons. Investing in an animal seems like her way of getting information out of you, using money to get it.

Updating the website is not a bad idea, I would also love to see a family tree of the Tigers as more are born.  However, having an updated list of each tiger and each of their characteristics is dangerous.  For example, Panna, she is shy, sweet tigress, now you go and advertise that on the website with how large her territory is, kills etc, and you are basically giving poachers a beautiful outline of her so making her easier to track down and poach. I would seriously err on the side of caution when giving information about the tigers.  Honestly, I think the emails are more than enough to get news on Tiger Canyons.  Maybe your website can have a search function, that if someone wants to look up a certain Tiger.  For example, we saw Tibo, Sunderban and Panna with her cubs, I would love to be able to search them on your website to see if there is any news on each of them and it just comes up with the newsletters where they are mentioned.  But I think more than that and a family tree is taking a risk.  Unfortunately in this day and age, we have to think of humanity as opportunists, and protect the animals in our care.

You can maybe have different ways that people can donate money of ways to help.  I don't know if you have a volunteer program?  Or if that is even possible.  Having a little curio shop with printed T-shirts, caps, key rings, etc, your usual paraphernalia you find in tourist places.  They fairly cheap to have done and can be sold at a decent price to bring more money into the Tiger Canyons.  I know I would buy a T-shirt with a photo of Panna and her cubs without a second thought.  Just some ideas that may help financially. 

Thank you for all you are doing

Best regards
Cindy Redant

Hello JV,

It would seem that Elayna Kinley does not know you like I do.

I have followed your work through television documentaries for many years and I can't believe that you would do what you do with out having done a lot of research into the breeds of big cats and therefore knowing all the risks of what inbreeding.

I hold my hands up and can honestly say I don't know al about your work, but I am sure that you would not do anything that would be detrimental to the well being of the cats in your charge.

I would like to know if you have any plans to relocate some of your tigers back to their home countries in India and Asia, as I am a member of the WWF and the Save the Tiger Campaign to help increase the number of tigers to double the current wild populations and I believe that you could help by relocating the related Cubs you have and rather make them sterile relocate to India and Asia.

I hope my email makes more sense to than the barrage of emails sent to you From Elayna Kinley

I await your response and reply sincerely
Brian Whitney-Marshall.

John, I love your response.  

I have never had the privilege of meeting you and would do anything to visit Tiger Canyon just once in my life.  

I support what you and other conservationist do to save our animal species from the hands of greedy ignorant human beings. I do sit behind my computer in the UK where I now live and watch live streams from the Greater Kruger National Park. I read many blogs and keep up with what is going on in SA. It’s what I can do to keep close to my home and close to something very dear to my heart. I have great respect for people like you who make it their life’s ambition to make sure that these beautiful creatures are around for many many years to come. I certainly want to be able to visit the bush and admire these amazing animals for the rest of my life and I want my children’s children and all the generations to come be able to experience what I have seen in my life.  

I would like to thank you and all who work with you for actually getting up and making an effort to conserving these beautiful animals. I know I can thank you on behalf of my whole family as well.

Jo McClintock

Response to
"The Supermarket Shopper vs. The Hunter Gatherer"

John, I am afraid you are too late. There is no going back from where we are now. There is simply at least 4 billion people too many. You can't cull them. Only war or natural disaster can do that. What will that bunch in New York called the United Nations do? Nothing of course which is pretty much what they have done for 70 years except soak up money. Mother Earth is in a bad place right now and we can only tinker around the edges and feed and shelter people living in war zones, famine affected countries and in areas where exotic diseases have broken out. where does leave our wildlife? it leaves them with a limited life span as a earthly species. Where does it leave us humans? In the same place as our beautiful wildlife.

Peter Hardy

Hi JV,

So why do you use plastic bags?? There are boxes, you can buy bags made by the locals etc.

So why do you buy this terrible meat? To please paying guests?? What about vegetarian food?

There is NO excuse to buy and use those things, and every single person can change its own habit.

It is not enough to talk about it

ST from Berlin

Dear JV,

I am forwarding a copy of what the local government in Cape town is planning and about to do……. Lets push more local governments to do like wise. It’s a start. 

Tread the Earth Lightly.

Thanks for your update,



Western Cape DA passes motion to reduce plastic bag waste

by James Vos MP - Member of DA Western Cape Provincial Executive Committee and Shadow Minister of Tourism

Date: 09 October 2017

Release: Immediate

Type: Press Statement  

At the Western Cape DA’s Provincial Congress on Saturday, my motion regarding the reduction of plastic shopping bag waste in the province was passed.

Plastic bag wastage has a devastating effect on the environment, posing a danger to humans and wildlife.

We need to deal with environmental issues in the same way we deal with people's issues as you cannot disconnect the one from the other. This motion serves to highlight the importance of taking care of the environment because it is essential to human survival.

James Vos MP
Member of DA Western Cape Provincial Executive Committee and Shadow Minister of Tourism 076 277 3351

Siyabonga Sesant
DA Western Cape Communications Manager 064 179 5684

One Nation with One Future built on Freedom, Fairness and Opportunity for All

Lee Bestey

IDear JV

Just finished your piece on the Hunter-Gatherer versus the Supermarket Shopper and was very impressed. I've even heard it said that the development of "monoculture" crops was really the first Environmental insult visited on our Planet and I am now inclined to agree. 

On the subject of exploitation and conservation I am including a poem I wrote a couple of years ago. I hope you like it!


Anna McDougald. 

Dear JV

Ian and I are still in awe after our wondrous visit with you last week!!!!

It was just an unforgettable experience once again. Thank you for your time and for the way you shared your vast knowledge and love for these majestic animals with us. 

The work you do is unique in the world and I am proud to be a South African when I talk about you and my beloved Tiger Canyons.

The Tigress Julie Lodge is an unforgettable experience. 

The hours spent just being with and observing the different wild tigers, will live in our memories for the rest of our lives. 

God bless you and your crew for many years to come. 

I really hope that I would be able to visit TC again ---- for the third time….

Regards and thank you
Dalene and Ian Lorimer


Tread lightly on the Earth

Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


Newsletters 155
The Indian Connection

Newsletters 154

Newsletter 153
Supermarket Shopper vs. Hunter Gatherer

Newsletter 152
JV's response to Elayna Kinley letter

Newsletters 151
Running on empty

Newsletter 150
The Survivor

Newsletters 149
In pursuit of Alan Root

Newsletters 148
Open letter re schools plus Panna cubs

Newsletters 147
It's Finished

Newsletters 146

Newsletter 145
King Corbett

Newsletter 144
Hunting versus Non Hunting

Newsletter 143
If it Pays, it Stays

Newsletters 142
Best Photographs at
Tiger Canyons

Newsletters 141
Lady Hunters

Newsletter 140
Londolozi and Love

Newsletter 139
Life is Not Fair

Newsletter 138
The Trump Card

Newsletter 137
Most Admired People on the Planet

Newsletters 136
Captive vs Wild

Newsletter 135
To trade  or not To Trade

Newsletter 134
A Defining Moment

Newsletter 133
I Have Lost A Friend

Newsletter 132
The World is Changing

Newsletter 131
Icon Cats

Newsletter 130
Sylvester the Lion

Newsletter 129
An Open Letter to Head United Nations

Newsletter 128
An Open Letter to Carte Blanche

Newsletter 127
Satellite Tracking

Newsletter 126
Lightning strikes 3 times

Newsletter 125
The Break Out

Newsletter 124
Bad Tigers

Newsletter 123
Tiger Boy's Journey

Newsletter 122
Give it a Name

Newsletter 121
Driven Hunts

Newsletter 120
Creative Conservation

Newsletter 119
Sariska from birth till death

Newsletter 118
Real Hunters

Newsletter 117
An Open Letter to the President: Operation Wild Lion

Newsletter 116
An Open Letter to Theo Bronkhorst

Newsletter 115
Cruel Nations

Newsletter 114
Subspecies or no subspecies

Newsletter 113
Tigers Moving Forward

Newsletter 112
Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Newsletter 111
Don't Shoot the Messenger

Newsletter 110
The Hunters

Newsletter 109
Gaia or God?

Newsletter 108
The Healing Power of Cats

Newsletter 107
Goddess Gaia

Newsletter 106
Ambassador Cats

Newsletter 105
Blondes have more fun

Gaining ground for tigers

Newsletter 103
Tibo's Dilemma

Newsletter 102
Wilderness Man

Newsletter 101
Sariska fathers cubs with white Tigress Tibo

Newsletter 100
Cheetah Survival

Newsletter 99
Extract from JV's speech on Corbett's Freedom Day

Newsletter 98
The Power of the Picture

Newsletter 97
Tiger Corbett's Release

Newsletter 96
Corbett's Journey

Newsletter 95
Bush School: Where are they now?

Newsletter 94
Open letter to Jani Allen: Oscar Pistorius

Newsletter 93
John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

Newsletter 92
Marion's Big Cat Safari

Newsletter 91
Full energy flow

Newsletter 90
Investing in wild tigers

Newsletter 89
Where are the Champions?

Newsletter 88
Managing the Genes

Newsletter 87
Capture the Moment

Newsletter 86
The Princess Diana of Tigers - Julie:
 Sept 1999 - 5 Des 2013

Newsletter 85
The Communicators

Newsletter 84
A Letter to All Conservationists in SA 
Sparked by the whole Melissa Bachman Debacle
by Maxine Gaines

Newsletter 83
Tell me what happened

Newsletter 82
Profit is the Name of Your Game

Newsletter 81

Big Cat Cub Safari

Newsletter 80
In the Jaws of the Tiger

Newsletter 79
Open letter to Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa about rhino crisis

Newsletter 78
Open letter to Min of Defense, South Africa about rhino crisis

Newsletter 77
Digital Photography

Newsletter 76

Newsletter 75
Rhino Horn Trade - Response

Newsletter 74
Raw Power

Newsletter 73
The Evolution of the Tracker

Newsletter 72
An Open Letter to the Honourable Edna Molewa, Minister of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs

Newsletter 71
Using flash or spotlight on cats at night

Newsletter 70
Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the best eyesight of them all?

Newsletter 69
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fastest of them all?

Newsletter 68
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best fighter of them all?

Newsletters 67
Wild Cheetah return to the Free State after 100 years

Newsletter 66
Seeking the genes

Newsletters 65
Corbett's Journey

Newsletters 64
In Search of a Mate

Newsletters 63
Rumble in the Jungle

Newsletters 62
Voronin Big Cat Safari Breaks All Records

Newsletters 61
A Journey to Nowhere

Newsletter 60
The John Hume Approach

Newsletter 59
Response to Rhino Horn Auction

Newsletters 58
A Letter to John Hume, SA biggest Rhino Breeder

Newsletters 57
Newsletters 56
Indian Government -
the wrong decision

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

Newsletters 47
A Letter to the President

Newsletters 46
The Body Parts Scam

Newsletters 45
Tiger Subspecies

Newsletters 43
Your future and the Tiger

Newsletter 42
Talk to Me

Newsletter 41
Gaian Reminder

Newsletter 40
Ron's Journey

Newsletter 39

Newsletter 38
Beauty comes at a price

Newsletter 37

The Light Has Gone Out

Newsletter 36
The Beautiful Game

Newsletter 35
The Ethics of
Tiger Green Hunting

Newsletter 34
Tiger Hunt

Newsletter 33
The Year of the Tiger

Newsletter 32

Riding the Tiger

Newsletter 31

Runti's Journey

Newsletter 30

To intervene or not to intervene -
that is the question...

Newsletter 29

Lion - Tiger - Human Communication

Newsletter 28

Emotional humans, emotional cats

Newsletter 27

Julie gives birth to 5 tiger cubs

Newsletter 26

International Tiger Day

Newsletter 25

To all Photographers

Newsletter 24

A Shot in Anger

Newsletter 22

Newsletter 21

Newsletter 19

Tiger Birth
at Tiger Canyons

Newsletter 16

Tiger Courting

Newsletter 11

Privatizing the Tiger

Newsletter 9

Newsletter 8

Newsletter 7

Water Cats

Newsletter 6

Tiger Intelligence

Newsletter 5

Tiger language
Tiger Boma

Newsletter 3

Interspecies communication

Newsletter 2

Cub relocation


Death of a Legend

Newsletter 20

Newsletter 15

Painted Wolves

Newsletter 13

Response to Elephant Trust
by Daryl Balfour

Newsletter 12

Elephant Trust