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Whenever a hunter posts a picture of his or herself
on Facebook, all the conservationists rise up in arms, calling the
hunter every name under the sun.
Recently Melissa Bachman, who shot a male lion in a
canned hunt in South Africa, was crucified by the social media.
The Australian cricketer Glen McGrath made the same
mistake by posing with an elephant he had shot in a hunting safari in
After his wife died of breast cancer, McGrath formed
the McGrath Foundation which raises money for breast cancer.
Somebody on Facebook asked McGrath what the
difference was between people dying of cancer and an elephant dying from
a bullet from his gun? McGrath has said he now regrets the hunting
However, a study in Cornell University in the USA,
has found that hunters are more likely to invest in wild land or
restoration projects than any other group of people.
Clearly the desire to hunt and kill animals for
trophies burns strongly in many people, especially those who live in big
cities detached from nature.
Safari Club International, the biggest hunting
organization in the USA, has no less than 180 chapters and over 50 000
When I tried to encourage investors to invest in an
expanded Tiger Canyons, I received no interest from the conservation or
photographic communities, none whatsoever!
However I did receive interest from the hunters. If
they invested in the land, could they hunt the surplus male tigers, was
the first question they asked? (Tigers are an Appendix I animal listed
in the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species i.e.
It would be illegal to hunt a tiger in South Africa
because South Africa has signed the CITES Convention.
However, tigers are hunted in South Africa illegally
and this industry is growing rapidly. (It is legal to hunt a male lion
in a canned hunt in South Africa)
Together with lions, tigers are hunted in the canned
lion and tiger industry. (This involves hunting a male lion or male
tiger with a gun or a crossbow in a confined area. The hunter stands on
the back of a truck and shoots the lion or tiger from close range. There
is no risk to the hunter and no fair chase involved).
With Botswana and Zambia banning the hunting of lions
and leopards, I expect the canned industry to start offering lion,
leopard, tiger and even cheetah.
Canned big cat hunting, coupled with the body parts
trade, is already a million rand industry. I expect it to grow
exponentially to a billion rand industry in the future.
I have lived in the Karoo of South Africa for 15
years. The Karoo once supported the greatest volume of wild animals this
planet has ever experienced (the minimum figure given for springbuck is
100 million). The majority of the Karoo is under sheep and goats. It is
an industry in decline, for the simple reason, it is not sustainable
Some of the greatest hunters lived in the Karoo, the
lion, the leopard, the cheetah and the bushman.
The South African Government doesn’t have the vision
to restore the Karoo to its former glory.
The conservationists don’t have the means and the
photographers don’t have the inclination.
The Cornell study showed that the hunters are high
net worth individuals, therefore they have the means and they have the
The South African Government intends introducing a
law that foreigners cannot own large tracts of land in South
Africa. Therefore the scenario of overseas hunting groups restoring
large areas of land in the Karoo, looks to be closing.
However the dilemma remains. If a hunting group is
prepared to buy up 100 000 hectares of land in the Karoo of South Africa
to extend Tiger Canyons, can I guarantee them to hunt 5 male tigers per
annum for 15 years?
This is their question to which they are awaiting an
Tread Lightly on the Earth
All the Girls
The Book "All the Girls" is soon to go to print. The
book features lionesses, tigresses, leopard and cheetah females I have
known over a period of 40 years.
It also features conservationists, scientists,
guides, singers, communicators and artists who have played a role in
So if you are female and would like to be in the
book, you should write to me urgently at
"In The Jaws of the Tiger - Musical"
The musical "In The Jaws of the Tiger" produced by
Bobby Johnson, is presently being released on YouTube.
Songs include "Shingalana in my Tent", "What price
must beauty pay", "Tigress Julie" and "In Cages around the World.
Catch these on YouTube:
What Price must Beauty Pay:
In Cages around the World:
Response to Hunters:
It’s Steven Thompson from Australia. We’ve spoken
before, a while ago now and via email, about how I could help create
funds to donate to Tiger Canyons and other worthwhile causes. The
potential to use this ‘system’ is still on offer and I’d love to
talk more with you about it.
I’d like nothing more than to see Tiger Canyons
create and preserve 100,000Ha of Karoo without the need to support,
in any way whatsoever, people who are, as you rightly observe,
disconnected with nature. Hunters are the scourge of the earth in my
opinion and these majestic animals should have no price to pay for
their existence and cohabitation.
There are many people wanting to contribute and
make a positive difference in the world. Many of those have strong
commitment but find themselves unable to contribute due to financial
The ‘system’ I’ve mentioned earlier, and above,
I’ve developed to empower anyone to be able to donate.
Let me show you how it works and there’s
significant potential tha we could buy that land outright in a few
I look forward to hearing from you.
bullshit John. WTF are you saying here
Having just read your recent “The Hunters” I
felt sick. The Hunters are not interested in saving the Tigers and
I would be devastated to learn that you would allow them to hunt on
your property even if they were interested in expanding your
property. At WHAT cost?
When we visited Tiger Canyons with our
granddaughter, New Year before last, she loved it so much she still
talks of the tigers by name and she is only 6 now!
It is a sad commentary on conservation that only
a hunting federation has offered to invest in Tiger Canyons. In my
opinion, if you accept the offer as it stands, you would lose more
than you stand to gain. Tiger Canyons would be viewed as a place
where tigers are hunted.
The federation is asking to take more tigers than
you can provide, in view of your goal to help tigers increase their
numbers outside Asia. They need to be reminded that every LIVE tiger
at Tiger Canyons increases the chances that tiger species will
ultimately survive in the world. Extinction = no more tigers to
Since they have money in hand, why don’t you make
a counter-proposal? In exchange for their financial participation,
offer them a bundle of ten exclusive visitor packages for two, the
same number of packages to be given each year for ten (?) years.
Once a year, the federation could sell to their members, chances at
winning these packages. Raffle completed, they could send you a
list of names and contact details for the winners.
For example, the package could be five days – and
nights – at Tiger Canyons (airfare not included). Although at
present you have no visitor accommodation, you could build, equip
and reserve a rustic 2-bedroom suite as Tiger Lodge, solely for
these special visitors. You would need to pay a housekeeper, but for
a guest suite that is only occupied 50 nights a year, that’s a
minimal expense. If security is a concern, you could separate Tiger
Lodge (by fences and locked gates) from any possible access to the
tigers. Hopefully then it would not be an insurance nightmare to
It could be an added selling point if you could
guarantee each federation visitor a handsome set of three photos
showing them in (safe) proximity to a tiger. After all, it would be
the only trophy that the hunters would take away. "Bragging rights"
are extremely important to hunters.
Maybe you shouldn’t assume that the hunting
federation will refuse a deal that excludes tiger kills. Their
members might be enthusiastic about a chance to visit Tiger Canyons
– especially with exclusive on-site accommodation.
You could offer a “no-kill” counter-proposal,
whatever you think is appropriate, and see what they say. If they
agree, it should be excellent public relations for them (and for
you, of course). In America, where I was born, hunters are widely
seen as “Bambi-killers”. If the federation is willing to work with
you to help tigers to survive, it should improve their image in the
public eye. It might inspire other hunting interests to invest in
conservation, as well.
Mrs. Yvonne Miranthis, Cyprus
How about a sport, like “Hunting The Hunter”
while they are on hunt ?
I don’t mind paying a fortune to hunt down
and shoot Hunters who want to shoot wild animals under
controlled circumstances or otherwise….
John,I understand where you are coming from
on this issue. I personally don't agree with this industry as it
is neither sport nor challenge. However you know better than
most what is required to save the tiger specis and so be it.
Agree that land is the biggest issue for long
term conservation of wild life.
I reckon it would be reasonable to allow
hunters one tiger a year for 10 years if they are willing to
give 100,000 hectares.
We thought about this a lot. Lucie was not
really in favor of it but the lack of response from
conservationists and photographers suggests that they don't
really care about starting as many conservation projects as
possible, especially if it's not one of their own. I (Bob), on
the other hand, am far more pragmatic. I believe that you will
manage to build your tiger stock faster than 5 tigers a year
will reduce it but I would like to see you find some other
hunting approach other than from backs of trucks. I would
imagine you could impose your own hunting rules. (Just for fun
tell them they must be on foot and armed with only a spear -Masai
We both believe funding in sufficient
quantity would give Tiger Canyons a real opportunity to add more
land, better tourist facilities, an airfield and a
conscientious plan to build good tiger stock. Tiger Canyons
reputation as a conservation-only project will take a "hit"
unless you set the new venture up as a separate entity which
shares tourist facilities but I do believe that this will result
in a new "Londolozi" years sooner than expected.
Bottom line: we begrudgingly agree that
their offer should be seriously considered. Are you sure YOU
would be willing to let 5 of your family be shot each year??? I
think this plan will be toughest on you.
This is such an interesting letter. As a
photographer I can tell you I tried very hard to raise some
money for your tigers by selling my mother's jewelry. I could
not get enough to make it worthwhile selling. It would have come
to US $1000 and I did not get much interest from your end so I
thought that perhaps it was a pittance given the size of your
Can you tell me what the plans are for the
continuation of Tiger Canyons into the future? I remember your
telling me that your boys would take over, but if it's possible,
if you have a written plan for possible contributors I'd love
to see it. Part of the problem for contributors here relates to
whether or not your have a 501c3 status in the USA. That makes
you a charitable organization and easier for us to contribute.
I have made a commitment to the Nature
Conservancy and the Snow Leopard Trust, monthly and in my will.
Have you considered starting a public program for everyone to
see, so that we can make monthly contributions? Or can you make
yourself part of the conservancy or WWF?
I know you are a very independent person and
probably do not have the patience to deal with bureaucracy.
If you have a moment do let me know.
I have rescued 8600ha from goat and sheep
farming, introduced wild animals many of which were extinct from
the area and have started restoring the vegetation and soil so
it can support wild animals so I and others can hunt them. That
includes buffalo which were obliterated from the region since
This has involved millions of Rand invested
in conservation of biodiversity which I can ill afford relative
to my income. I would also be ranching rhino and lion and
leopard and expanding range to accommodate them if they could be
made economically sustainable. So would many others.
The critics of hunting, animal rightists and
misguided animal welfarists contribute to the degradation of
biodiversity by eating battery fed chickens, feedlot beef,
chewing up water in sewage and showers, living in concrete and
tar, using coal-produced electricity, indulging in
anthropomorphic emotional sentiments with no shred of logic...
You can tread heavily on the earth when
you’re certain you’re contributing to the conservation of
biodiversity because even the dung beetles are safe under your
feet when you know where to put them. If you tread too lightly
you may be whisked away..! J
Hope you are well. We support sustainable
utilization and ethical hunting, so I think it's a good idea to
get investment from hunters.
I also DISLIKE cowardly " hunters" ! The only
hunt one can class as a proper hunt is when you go on foot and
hunt with a weapon that does not have all the extras- that is -
the same conditions apply to the hunter and the hunted. Give
them a fair chance to also hunt you . See who comes off second
Thank u...great newsletter...do u ever visit
No, don't do it...JV in the canned hunting
game....say you aren't even considering it!!!?
Sounds like you are considering lining your
pockets, nothing more.
Was a PH, still like to hunt, crazy for
nature, can never see myself hunting any cat. Raised a rooikat
one's, who is enemy number one in the karoo. The answer to your
question, sometimes you need to pic the lesser evil to survive.
I feel its selling your soul
It undermines the very core of conservation
and glorifies the worst in people
There is no end to these peoples
Also , Once hunting is viewed as acceptable,
people cannot differentiate
Hunters need to be viewed with the disgust
And what have you answered????
Don’t do it Mr Varty! Hunting is a total
anachronism and hunters are wealthy scum. Can you guarantee
that their investment in Tiger Canyons would outweigh the
loss of 75 tigers over 15 years?
Hunters do not tread lightly on the
Good Morning Tiger Canyon Staff,
How do I feel.........The atrocities in
Africa and other places in our world of killing our animals
and in some cases the animals they hunted are extinct and
what they have done to the African Wild Life as to how many
of on the Endangered Species list or completely gone for me,
I think that the Hunters should be HUNTED for trollies and
hung on the walls of peoples homes including the South
Africans that believe in not killing the animals in there
countries should be able to hunt the people that desecrate
our world of the animals that are left! These are my
feelings due to what has happened in Africa and other places
like India and other places that have destroyed the animals
in there countries
Nooooo, never let hunters take over more
land and more animals! Please dont let them John!!! Its a
Best regards Louise Larsson
Every so often I read one of your
newsletters that actually shocks me to the core.
The first one was when you suggested that
Corbett be put down after his attack on you. That was a
very unfortunate incident which we all regret but Corbett
was only doing what comes naturally to his nature and you
have specifically raised your tigers to remain as wild as
possible and to live in a habitat close to their natural
Thank goodness for tigers like Corbett.
Now the suggestion or question about
whether or not to sign the death warrant on 75 TIGERS YES I
WILL REPEAT THAT – 75 TIGERS !!!! is utterly and totally
incomprehensible and unjustified. So you will be able to
extend your capacity in the Karoo. But all the tigers will
By the way I think that the picture of
the female hunter with the lion is the ugliest picture I
have ever seen. Second only to Janey Allen.
A very concerned Tiger supporter
After much deliberation, my opinion is
that the benefits to conservation of the tiger population
far outweighs the 5 X 15 = 75 male tigers that would have to
be sacrificed, therefore I would say that it would be an
emphatic YES to the hunting group. I am not a hunter , but I
accompany friends who are.
Thank you for your great vision and
insight , I’m always inspired by reading your articles.
I continue to Tread Lightly on the
How on earth would anyone allow killing
such magnificent cats JV..
Judy Miller-Rogers I'd rather see her bloody half
eaten body under a lion.
Randall Evans What he's saying is that the rest
of us need to step our game up and put our money where our mouths
are. WE, those against canned hunting, should be funding the
expansion of Tiger Canyons, not some fucking trophy hunters who want
to purchase the right to murder these big cats.
Geraldine Schoeman Unfortunately for those who
react so violently to the well thought through statements (and
questions posed) by John Varty, pragmatism and crystal clear
Socratic logic are inaliable links to ensuring sustainability of the
species. There are clear and logical ways to extend mechanisms for
conservation, including of the rhino and tiger. John Varty has
actively and passionately invested himself in conservation and has
done wonders. The statements he makes are absolutely correct. The
alternative is that the people who stand so strongly against
sustainable utilisation step forward and provide the money for
making it happen. And that means you and you and you .......
लिंडा लिंडा And that's a dilemma for you?
Cam Steele We destroy their homelands for our
needs - our farming, our mining, our factories, our homes, highways,
shopping centers and theme parks. We do it for money and fun. Then
those species that have existed on this planet for thousands of
years, now hanging on by a thread for their existence in fragmented
areas of their once vast former range, or in sanctuaries, now have
the option - pay your way or?? This is after we have exploited,
destroyed and taken so much. We then cater the remnants of whats
left to people who will show their dollar only for death and that is
to be the future? Says a lot about how far man kind has
progressed/regressed - We have taken everything we can from you and
you desperate few hang on. Now, for you to exist we are going to
commercialize you in death to pay your way in the name of
conservation... I am not a closeted city dweller, but a career
farmer, an ex hunter and devout conservationist. I have seen and
visited some of our worlds business driven hunting / conservation
business. I have seen the production run trophy breeding operations
where science is brought in to breed a superior trophy, so often
disregarding other important specie traits. with little interest in
conservation and a huge interest in a better trophy. I have seen the
bastardization of species to create a great trophy, but an animal
that is no longer a true original representation of its species and
have talked one on one with SCI. I stopped hunting soon after, as I
realized we in the name of ego will commercialize in death
everything until there is but 1 left and then fight over the trophy
value of the last one, the sole survivor. Well until the hammer
falls to the highest bidder... SCI and others want to show their
conservation commitment? How about instead of auctioning off an
endangered animal for $50 000, $100 000, $200 000 Or $300 000+ to be
a wall hanging in death, donate the money to protecting it and
sending it onto further wild breeding and restocking programs. Now
that would show conservation commitment and would impress the hell
out of me.... ps: I always find if funny how we talk of animals that
existed in the hundreds of thousands in number and more a generation
or two ago and did so for tens of thousands of years. Now number
4-5000 0r 10-20000 and we have a surplus and need to hunt the
surplus??? That one just never gels for me!
लिंडा लिंडा Canned hunting is disgusting and only
for cowards with big egos and no love of animal life. I'm sorry - I
thought you were a protector of these beautiful animals. I was
Emma Wypkema Isn't it strange that the high
net-worth individuals are so keen on hunting... One would think that
they were better educated...
Ellie Smith The life of an animal is not a humans
to give or take. This is why the planet is going to shit.
Christopher Le Port You are joking right, it is a
complete conflict of conservation interest, lets sustain them to
kill them - Are you mental? This world and its means of sustaining
itself so you and I can survive is not up for question? You and I
are up for question. Daily! And not just for conservation. Canned
hunting for conservation is a contradiction. We shouldn't be messing
or changing or questioning Mother Earth... Why would any sane person
wish to kill an animal for a trophy, what possible reward is there?
Those people who participate are not masters of all they survey, to
do what ever they think or want so destructively and then have the
audacity to even mention it's productive! The trophy hunter took a
picture and that picture should be publicly displayed to show how
wrong and sick that individual is until all those who hunt (within
in this confine) are stopped. Hunting for necessity is an all
together different thing. This sick woman posing with her gun,
didn't take the skin to keep her warm or eat the flesh to stay alive
or use its bones to make tools! She cowardly took a gun and shot it
in the head from close range of the back of a car. In that case, I
would deem you as the wild animal threatening my survival and shot
you! Because retards like this are messing with mother nature, and
she'll bite us all in the arse accordingly without remorse or fair
selection, like you so stupidly argue in your rediculous comments...
Dilip Kongot Bloody zuma is a shame for all
mankind,imagine these are the goons succeeding legendary madiba
Noella Aubé frown emoticon
Lynne Short this woman is a f***ing bitch for
what she did to this gorgeous animal, and i hope and pray that she
dies the same way that she killed this lion with a bullet to her
Lynne Hill Is this where the franking was
supposed to take place?
Melanie Milliner I'm very surprised JV would even
consider it, very.
Hilde Vanhove Stuped bitch:burn in hell !!!
Mohieranjan Patel If adequate finance facing the
conservation of Tigers is funding, could you not treat canned
hunting a bit like natural selection where only the weakest animals
are offered to the trophy hunters?
Susanne Diaz Makes me sick!
Maria K. Fotopoulos John - Thanks for sharing
"the reality on the ground." I think there are many of us who
understand that more habitat, dollars (rand) and active
caretaking/protection are what's needed to save biodiversity and
fend off the avarice of Homo sapiens. Unfortunately, perhaps those
many of us don't have the $s to make the difference.
The "choice" between aligning with high net worth
hunters and continuing to fight for conservation dollars which don't
seem to be forthcoming definitely puts you between the proverbial
"rock and a hard place." That said, I'd hope you'd stay the course
on trying to bring in more conservation dollars to purchase the land
needed and that everyone who reads this post spreads the word and
encourages friends, family and colleagues to support this effort.
Cocks John how does she manage to hit such a
small target with just telescopic sights on high powered gun
Louise Larsson Nooo dont let the hunters take
over the land and wild animals !!!
Leslea Bullis 50,000 members is a lot of dead
animals if they all want to hunt ? Well your damned if you do and
damned if you don't John.
Marie Procházková human freaks