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An open letter to the Minister of Defense and
Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula and copied
to President Jacob Zuma and Minister Edna Molewa
My name is John Varty, I am co-owner of
Londolozi Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand Reserve alongside Kruger
I am founder of Tiger Canyons in the Free
State of South Africa. I am fourth generation South African and
have spent a lifetime in the conservation business.
In the 70's I was involved in the anti
poaching movement in Kenya attempting to protect their rhino.
The effort ultimately failed, because the then president Jomo
Kenyatta failed to put the Kenyan army behind the National Parks
and private organizations trying to fight the poaching.
Lessons weren't learnt and in the 80's,
Zambia lost all its rhino when President Kenneth Kaunda and
Chiluba again failed to support the men on the ground with the
South Africa is now making the same mistake.
History has taught us nothing!
The rhino war is shifting into the private
game reserves alongside the Kruger National Park. We are in the
tourist business not the anti poaching business. We do not have
the finance or expertise to fight this war. Our lodges are
internationally known and we are huge employers of people, even
more than the mines.
My question is why is the South African
Defense Force not deployed to help us? Why are senior members of
the Defense Force not strategizing with us daily?
I believe that in the controversial multi
billion rand arms deal, you have helicopters sitting on the
ground. We are in desperate need of air support.
My information is that you have forces
fighting in the Central African Republic while daily Mozambicans
raid into our game reserves, killing our rhino.
With due respect, President Ian Khama of
Botswana, is setting an example. His entire army is aiding the
conservationists and he has a "shoot to kill" policy.
Ian Khama is communicating with Botswana
citizens daily, he is hands on and showing incredible
leadership. We need the same!
I wrote to President Zuma in September 2011
imploring him to take charge of the rhino crisis. I have heard
I would like to see you as Minister of
Defense on television, in the press leading us through this
crisis, communicating, strategizing and inspiring us.
I implore you to make available troops
immediately and treat this as a full scale invasion of our
When bandits from Tanzania invaded the Masai
Mara in Kenya attacking tourists, President Daniel Arap Moi, put
the full force of the Kenyan army against them.
Within months the problem was solved. We need
this approach and we need it now!
I would please like a reply to my request
Tread Lightly on the Earth
I congratulate you on this powerful letter that you
have written. I just hope that it will reach ears who are
prepared to wake up , sit up , and take some decisive action.
Keep up the great work you are doing to conserve our nature.
My wife Fiona , brother Mike and I really enjoyed the day
spent with you at Tiger Canyons in September – we truly had a
wonderful and enlightening tour.
Is there a way you can make a video as well
pleading for international aid, especially from America? If I
understand correctly, funds from poaching has been used to fund
terrorism. If this is true it is an angle to get help from the
United States. The Clintons are gearing up for a Hillary run and
they have actually spoken about an international effort needed to be
taken to curtail this poaching. I think President Obama and Mr.
Secretary Kerry would also listen because by bringing up their names
you could get attention and perhaps if you can reach out to Anderson
Cooper of CNN, you might get attention on the issue, which is
certainly a dire need at this point.
Publicly ask Al gore for help too. If he is a true
conservationist, he'll be forced to answer.
On the 1st of October, I posted this news
article on my Facebook group page:
The story reported the arrest of 5 would
be rhino poachers, aftattempting
to get into the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria. I
followed this story with interest as Rievlei is literally on
my doorstep and I remember how shocked I was when the first
rhino was poached there a few years ago, resulting in all
the rhinos in the reserve having their horns removed.
One of the suspects arrested was already
out on bail after being charged with rhino poaching in
Potchefstroom earlier this year. This morning it was
reported that all 5 have been released on bail. If this is
the case, one of the suspects have now been released on bail
for the second time and for the same offence. This is an
absolute travesty of justice and demonstrates how
ineffective our justice system is, and the lack of will of
the authorities to clamp down on rhino poaching.
Your letter to the deaf minister of
defence, minister of environmental affairs and inept
president of the country, should be copied onto both the
minister and commissioner of police and the minister of
justice. However - you will probably get the same response
from the former crowd. What to do?
Keep up the good work John. We will always remember the day we
spent with you and Sunette ( The gate Girl ) The tigers at the
canyon and a meal in the evening. What a day. !!! It was
Sunday 6/3/2011 At 4pm. Thanks for your time and I wish you all
the best in the future. Cheers Sylvia and Geoff Laws. Ps your
book was great.
I really loved your letter to the Prime Minister in regards to South
Africa's Rhino's. I hope you have a positive response to your
letter. How is Julie and the rest of the pride? Are there any new
cubs this year? I use to write to you about Tiger Canyon when
Julie's cub had gotten stepped on the ending up losing her life.
Since then I know Ron had passed away, how is Julie doing these
days? Well I enjoy your newsletters and photos of Tiger Canyon and
other conservation projects. Take care and blessings to all the cats
and your family.
Flagstaff, Arizona 86004 USA
You are such an example to all of us!! Thank you
for being the voice to articulate our frustration too! You
clearly have the experience and knowledge to raise these issues
with the authorities.
Be sure of the fact that there are many who support your
efforts to save and preserve our precious heritage.
Nice one JV!!
We are forwarding your letter to all our mail list
All the best
Alain Houalet ( Owner)
Right on!!! Keep up the nagging until something
Thank you, Mr Varty, for your
effort. It is appreciated by ordinary citizens. In
May this year, we took our three small children, all
under the age of six years old, to Kruger National
Park. What a privilege to see so many Rhino's.
However, we did make our children aware that these
magnificant creatures are under threat. We were
accutely aware that with a next visit to Kruger we
may not see Rhino's again. We are thankful that
individuals like yourself put in an effort to
address the problem. It is indeed a source of hope.
Kind regards from Bloemfontein.
150% SUPPORT TO YOU! WELL DONE!!
PLEASE, PLEASE LET THEM SEE THE DIRE EMERGENCY TO
PROTECTING OUR RHINO!!
thank you for this excellent letter. I'll do
what i can to move it onto my social media
Thank you for your very informative and well
In short, if the Kruger and
our rhino were sprinkled with diamonds and
precious minerals, our entire Defence Force and
more would be deployed and we would not find our
precious wildlife in this situation.
Thankfully, Nkandla is well protected in the
event of …….not sure what.
Appreciate all your hard work and efforts.
Good luck with this initiative JV. We are
going to need every available soldier to fight
off the elephant poaching war that is coming.
Dd you see the Mail & Gardian articles on
the weekend? Frightening how readily
available ivory and rhino horn are in China
Town markets in JHB
Were you aware that a global march was
organized by the David Sheldrick Wildlife
Trust on Friday ….?
Hi John ,Good letter ,I have heard the
SANDF ,121 Battalion is or is going to
be deployed in Tembe Elephant Park to
help with the Rhino crisis ,I hope your
message is heard ,it seems that things
are moving this way .
I support this stance by Mr. Varty:
where a country’s assets are at
stake, that country should be moved
to defend it. SA has 80% of the
world’s rhino (wild) population, the
Game Lodges are renowned and so were
the most of our National Parks.
Problem, however, is when a
country’s leadership shifts its
priorities from protecting what
belongs to it and trying to be the
best it can by contracting the best,
to where it must continually fight
in-fighting and not promoting the
Tiger Canyon’s, continue to do
I know that you are a key player
in the Anti Rhino Poaching
Initiative and consequently I
thought that you may be
interested in the open letter
from John Varty,
I have copied John in order that
you can connect
See you at the SUMMIT next week
Thanks for your
I hope that your
letter gets the
response it deserves
and does not fall on
I am going to forward
your email to a friend
of mine who I hope can
You probably don't
remember me but you
kindly looked at some
paw prints I sent
you verified as being
from a leopard, back in
Well put ... Really
makes one wonder why
- Please keep us
updated on the
All the best,
Tread lightly on the
Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats All rights reserved
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