The year of the tiger has not
started well for tigers. The world media has exposed the
horrendous tiger farms in China. Some of these
farms have more than a thousand tigers crowded
into them. Clearly these farms are
financed by selling the tiger body parts to the
Chinese medicinal market. Skin, claws, teeth,
bones, fat, urine, all have medicinal properties
according to the Chinese. Even the whiskers have
value, as an apparent cure for rheumatism.
Whole skeletons are taken from
the tiger farms and made into wine. The tiger
wine which has a ready market, is sold with the
stamp of approval of the Chinese Government.
In India, the annual census has
produced a figure of 1411 tigers in the wild.
Although there is a large publicity campaign to
save the last 1411 tigers, there remains in
India no realistic management plan to save the
tiger. The sad facts today in Asia is a
tiger is worth more dead than alive.
In April of 2010, Tiger Canyons
was hit by
devastating floods. Fortunately,
the hinged flood gate system designed by Neil MacLaughlin, worked well and none of the
perimeter fence was lost. Internal holding bomas
were completely washed away, causing tens of
thousands of rands worth of damage.
hinged flood gates
A new area of 400 hectares has
been planned for tigers. This area encompasses 5
kilometers of the gorge and has many spectacular
swimming pools for tigers. The area will be
stocked with a good diversity of prey species
before releasing Julie, her cubs and Seatao into
the area. My thanks to Jos and Yvette von
Bommel, who have helped me to finance the new
At Tiger Canyons, the tigers continue to thrive
and Julie's four cubs are growing rapidly. We
have observed interesting behavior from Seatao,
the father of the cubs.
Initially he avoided the
cubs, now he has become quite friendly towards
them and many fine images have been captured of
the cubs jumping onto his head and biting his
Seatao and cub
Sadly, our walking and swimming
with Shine, Sunda and Zaria, has come to an end.
They are too big and rough in the rugged terrain
of the gorge.
Jos and Yvette van Bommel
Jos and Yvette van Bommel
Spectacular images of cubs,
swimming and romping in the water have been shot
by Daryl and Sharna Balfour, Jos and Yvette van
Bommel, Lorna Drew and Sunette Fourie.
My thanks to Yossi and Ellen
Joseph who accompanied Daryl and Sharna Balfour
to Tiger Canyons on a Tiger Safari. They were so
inspired by the tigers that they gave a sizeable
donation to tiger conservation. The donation
will go to new swimming pools and water holes for tigers.
Ellen and Shine
Ellen decided to name Julie's
white cub "Tiger Bomb" which is her nickname.
In a Big Cat Safari with Bob and Mary-Beth Wheeler, 9 leopards, 13 lions and 10 tigers
were seen in the space of 6 days.
With the air lines flying on
time, Bob and Mary-Beth had the unique
experience of viewing a leopard in the morning
at Londolozi and a tigress and cubs in the
afternoon at Tiger Canyons.
My thanks go to Richard Ferrier and Oxide
for sharing their unique knowledge with us and
for giving us a memorable Big Cat Safari at
My long awaited book, "Nine
Lives - Memoirs of a Maverick Film Maker",
published by Random Struik, is finally complete
and is due in October 2010.
My thanks to Dominique le Roux, Lesley Hay-Whitton and Marlene Fryer, who
have helped me produce this book. "Names and
addresses in the book have for obvious reasons
been changed to protect the innocent".
Limited editions are being
printed - I will keep you informed.