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Newsletter 128
15/03/16

An Open Letter to Carte Blanche

I would like to congratulate you on your various programmers on the drought and especially the human spirit of the farmers trying to survive the drought, they are extremely moving. 

I am running an endangered species project involving saving the tiger in the district of Philippolis, so I am surrounded by sheep farmers. The drought has been severe in the Philippolis area and several farmers are facing bankruptcy. 

However there is a potential story which you have overlooked. 

If you go back to the 1820 Settlers trekking inland in their wagons, these pioneers would have encountered a landscape littered with millions and millions of wild animals. 

Indeed the springbuck alone in the great Karoo numbered between 100 million and 300 million animals. This is the greatest volume of wild animals in the history of the planet. (only the American Buffalo which numbered 62 million animals rivaled the springbuck numbers)

Into this garden of Eden came the farmer with his sheep, goats, cows and horses. Because the wild animals competed with his domestic stock for grass, he shot them.

 

The greatest overkill in the history of the world occurred in the veld of South Africa. Cornwallis Harris describes the kill: “I fired from my horse killing many. Many more were wounded. Eventually the barrel of my gun was so hot that it jammed and my horse collapsed from exhaustion.”  

Once the farmers had destroyed the wildlife they set about owning the land. 

In short they fenced off their farms, destroying the very thing that had made the ecosystem great in the first place, the mobility of the animals. Today the wire fences in the Karoo could wrap around the earth several times. 

Droughts are nothing new, they are nature’s way of culling the weak the sick and the old from the great herds. 

However in droughts, the wild animals simply moved away from the drought areas to the areas where it had rained. To areas where there was grass. 

The farmer goes contrary to nature. He does not allow his domestic stock to move. He maintains them on his farm for 12 months of the year. Because his domestic stock have to drink daily, he drills boreholes and constructs windmills to pump the water out. Everyday the domestic stock trample in to the water point, destroying the grass cover, exposing the land to trench erosion. Now what water falls, is lost down the gulley and is lost to the system. The whole process is called deserfication, an ugly word for an ugly process. 

The drought moves in. The isolated thunderstorms miss the farm. The farmer is overstocked, the grazing is finished, the market prices are down (because all farmers are in the same boat.) He tries to sell off stock but there is no market. The farmer prays for rain but no rain comes. 

Effectively the farmer is trapped in a situation where there is no way out. Bankruptcy stares him in the face.  

In short his father or his grandfather have disobeyed the laws of nature and now he is paying the price. 

If a Martian were to land on the farmers farm, he would wonder at the wisdom of destroying 300 million wild animals perfectly adapted to African conditions and replacing them with 9 million exotic animals, not adapted to the conditions and parasites of Africa. The Martian would wonder how ignorant to take away from the animals the very thing that made them successful, their mobility.  

What the Martian does not understand is the mentality of the farmer. The farmer hates anything he cannot control. Therefore herds of migrating springbuck are a no, no! The farmer wants animals that he can contain, manipulate, subjugate and control. Nothing and nobody can compete with the farmer. Therefore jackals, caracals, baboons and even bushmen are destroyed on sight. Lions, leopards, cheetah and hyenas were killed a long time ago! 

The farmer is God over all his farm, or is he? There are a few things of which he does not have control, namely fire, flood, rain, disease, locusts and drought to name a few. It is these natural forces which will expose the farmer ruthlessly 

Most South African children think that the indigenous animals in the great Karoo are sheep, goats, horses and cows. A good Carte Blanche program could enlighten them. Indeed it could enlighten us all. 

Tread lightly on the earth
JV


Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar Acceptance Speech

"And lastly, I just want to say this: Making The Revenant was about man's relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history. Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow. Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted. I do not take tonight for granted. Thank you so very much."


Tigress Julie Lodge

The lodge in the canyon is nearing completion. Two luxury rooms with bathroom en- suite combine with a spacious lounge over the spectacular Tiger Canyon.

A private creative room with state of the art downloading facilities for photographers is adjacent to the bedrooms.

In front of the lodge, a small waterfall and swimming pool for tigers, has been created.

I was determined to make the lodge environmentally friendly, not dependant on burning fossil fuels. To achieve this, it took the cost over the budget by R1 million. However, in 7 years time, the saving from not burning fossil fuels, breaks even with the initial cost of the solar energy.

I would like to thank Margaret Pang who is the main financier of the lodge for her incredible generosity and support at all times. In addition, Jos and Yvette van Bommel, Emma Wypkema, Rodney and Lorna Drew for giving me excellent advice. To the builders Ian Stark, Jan Kruizenga and Bennie, my sincere thanks. My thanks to Sheldon Nyce for costing the solar component. My thanks to Daryl and Sharna Balfour for producing the book "Simply Safari". This became my bible during construction of the lodge.


Environmentally Friendly Game Vehicles

Some 5 years ago, I set myself a target of converting the entire Tiger Canyons fleet to electrical motor vehicles. In this project, I have failed dismally!

There is not a single motor car manufacturer in South Africa that produces an environmentally friendly motor car. Only Toyota produces a hybrid and they are few and far between.

If we the consumer doesn't demand environmentally friendly cars, there is no incentive for the car manufacturer to make them. I urge everyone to move their houses, cars and lifestyles to a lighter footprint on the planet.

The South Africa Government is to be congratulated for creating the first solar powered airport in the world outside the city of George. We the public should embrace this achievement and push for legislation in the direction of electrical cars.

If we save the tiger from extinction, but at the same time we are burning fossil fuels, are we really achieving anything at all?

The planet experienced the hottest year in recorded history. The drought around Tiger Canyons was crippling. Climate change is here to stay.

"If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem"

Tread lightly
JV


Invitation to Leonardo DiCaprio

Hello Leonardo 

Congratulations on winning your recent Oscar and especially your acceptance speech. 

Your presentation to the United Nations was powerful and accurate. I hope that some ears in the room heard your words. 

The various organization that your Foundation has donated to, are worthy causes. I thank you on their behalf and the wild animals they represent. 

For sixteen years I have founded and run an ex-situ conservation project in South Africa to save the endangered tiger. The project is run on Tiger Canyons (www.jvbigcats.co.za) and presently supports the only wild population of tigers outside Asia. The area converted from sheep farms to wild life is 65,000 hectares. 

Two films “Living with Tigers” and “Tiger Man of Africa” have run for many years on Discovery Channel and National Geographic Wild respectively. 

For the first time in sixteen years, some money has gone into building a 4 bed lodge on a dramatic canyon. The lodge is called “The Tigress Julie Lodge” after my founding Tigress. 

On the 28th of May 2016 we will open the lodge in a moving ceremony and a tribute to wild tigers. I would be most honored if you could attend the opening of the lodge. 

Tread Lightly on The Earth
John Varty

Founder and co-owner Londolozi Game Reserve- South Africa
Founder: Londolozi Productions (made 42 wildlife documentaries)
Founder: Tiger Canyons South Africa –2000
Founder: JV Images -2010


Tread lightly on the Earth

info@jvbigcats.co.za
Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


Newsletters


Newsletters 142
14/02/17
Best Photographs at
Tiger Canyons

Newsletters 141
16/01/17
Lady Hunters

Newsletter 140
10/12/16
Londolozi and Love

Newsletter 139
23/11/16
Life is Not Fair

Newsletter 138
17/11/16
The Trump Card

Newsletter 137
22/10/16
Most Admired People on the Planet

Newsletters 136
13/10/16
Captive vs Wild

Newsletter 135
08/10/16
To trade  or not To Trade

Newsletter 134
08/08/16
A Defining Moment

Newsletter 133
08/07/16
I Have Lost A Friend

Newsletter 132
13/05/16
The World is Changing

Newsletter 131
08/04/16
Icon Cats

Newsletter 130
31/03/16
Sylvester the Lion

Newsletter 129
22/03/16
An Open Letter to Head United Nations

Newsletter 128
15/03/16
An Open Letter to Carte Blanche

Newsletter 127
28/11/15
Satellite Tracking

Newsletter 126
12/11/15
Lightning strikes 3 times

Newsletter 125
28/10/15
The Break Out

Newsletter 124
05/10/15
Bad Tigers

Newsletter 123
01/10/15
Tiger Boy's Journey

Newsletter 122
13/09/15
Give it a Name

Newsletter 121
10/09/15
Driven Hunts

Newsletter 120
01/09/15
Creative Conservation

Newsletter 119
12/08/15
Sariska from birth till death

Newsletter 118
11/08/15
Real Hunters

Newsletter 117
07/08/15
An Open Letter to the President: Operation Wild Lion

Newsletter 116
03/08/15
An Open Letter to Theo Bronkhorst

Newsletter 115
28/07/15
Cruel Nations

Newsletter 114
08/07/15
Subspecies or no subspecies

Newsletter 113
11/06/15
Tigers Moving Forward

Newsletter 112
13/04/15
Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Newsletter 111
26/03/15
Don't Shoot the Messenger

Newsletter 110
22/03/15
The Hunters

Newsletter 109
09/03/15
Gaia or God?

Newsletter 108
26/02/15
The Healing Power of Cats

Newsletter 107
18/02/15
Goddess Gaia

Newsletter 106
03/02/15
Ambassador Cats

Newsletter 105
24/01/15
Blondes have more fun

Invitation
09/01/15
Gaining ground for tigers

Newsletter 103
14/12/14
Tibo's Dilemma

Newsletter 102
05/12/14
Wilderness Man

Newsletter 101
25/11/14
Sariska fathers cubs with white Tigress Tibo

Newsletter 100
20/11/14
Cheetah Survival

Newsletter 99
30/09/14
Extract from JV's speech on Corbett's Freedom Day

Newsletter 98
15/08/14
The Power of the Picture

Newsletter 97
18/07/14
Tiger Corbett's Release

Newsletter 96
11/07/14
Corbett's Journey

Newsletter 95
18/06/14
Bush School: Where are they now?

Newsletter 94
12/05/14
Open letter to Jani Allen: Oscar Pistorius

Newsletter 93
07/05/14
John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

Newsletter 92
20/04/14
Marion's Big Cat Safari

Newsletter 91
24/02/14
Full energy flow

Newsletter 90
10/02/14
Investing in wild tigers

Newsletter 89
05/02/14
Where are the Champions?

Newsletter 88
27/01/14
Managing the Genes

Newsletter 87
16/01/14
Capture the Moment

Newsletter 86
07/12/13
The Princess Diana of Tigers - Julie:
 Sept 1999 - 5 Des 2013

Newsletter 85
26/11/13
The Communicators

Newsletter 84
26/11/13
A Letter to All Conservationists in SA 
Sparked by the whole Melissa Bachman Debacle
by Maxine Gaines

Newsletter 83
16/11/13
Tell me what happened

Newsletter 82
04/11/13
Profit is the Name of Your Game

Newsletter 81
30/10/13

Big Cat Cub Safari


Newsletter 80
18/10/13
In the Jaws of the Tiger

Newsletter 79
11/10/13
Open letter to Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa about rhino crisis

Newsletter 78
06/10/13
Open letter to Min of Defense, South Africa about rhino crisis

Newsletter 77
30/09/13
Digital Photography

Newsletter 76
06/09/13
Zoochosis

Newsletter 75
20/07/13
Rhino Horn Trade - Response

Newsletter 74
09/07/13
Raw Power

Newsletter 73
02/07/13
The Evolution of the Tracker

Newsletter 72
02/07/13
An Open Letter to the Honourable Edna Molewa, Minister of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs

Newsletter 71
06/06/13
Using flash or spotlight on cats at night

Newsletter 70
14/05/13
Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the best eyesight of them all?

Newsletter 69
12/04/13
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fastest of them all?

Newsletter 68
25/03/13
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best fighter of them all?

Newsletters 67
07/03/13
Wild Cheetah return to the Free State after 100 years

Newsletter 66
28/02/13
Seeking the genes

Newsletters 65
06/02/13
Corbett's Journey

Newsletters 64
22/01/13
In Search of a Mate

Newsletters 63
11/01/13
Rumble in the Jungle

Newsletters 62
30/10/12
Voronin Big Cat Safari Breaks All Records

Newsletters 61
09/12/12
A Journey to Nowhere

Newsletter 60
03/10/12
The John Hume Approach

Newsletter 59
28/09/12
Response to Rhino Horn Auction

Newsletters 58
24/09/12
A Letter to John Hume, SA biggest Rhino Breeder

Newsletters 57
05/09/12
Newsletters 56
01/08/12
Indian Government -
the wrong decision

Newsletter 55
11/07/12
What price must beauty pay?

Newsletter 54
21/04/12
Corbett's Freedom

Newsletter 53
15/04/12
Lethal injection or Freedom

Newsletters 52
04/04/12
The anatomy of an aggressive tiger

Newsletters 51
14/02/12
Majestic, breathtaking pictures

Newsletters 50
04/11/11
Tigress Calendar

Newsletters 49
19/11/11

Let your pictures do the talking

Newsletters 48
26/09/11

Rhino Wars

Newsletters 47
06/09/11
A Letter to the President

Newsletters 46
08/08/11
The Body Parts Scam

Newsletters 45
11/07/11
Tiger Subspecies

Newsletters 43
01/05/11
Your future and the Tiger

Newsletter 42
08/05/11
Talk to Me

Newsletter 41
26/01/11
Gaian Reminder

Newsletter 40
18/11/10
Ron's Journey

Newsletter 39
20/10/10
"Descreprimate"

Newsletter 38
06/09/10
Beauty comes at a price

Newsletter 37
18/08/10

The Light Has Gone Out


Newsletter 36
08/07/10
The Beautiful Game

Newsletter 35
05/07/10
The Ethics of
Tiger Green Hunting

Newsletter 34
21/06/10
Tiger Hunt

Newsletter 33
26/05/10
The Year of the Tiger

Newsletter 32
11/02/10

Riding the Tiger


Newsletter 31
24/01/10

Runti's Journey


Newsletter 30
12/01/10

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

Newsletter 29
07/12/09

Lion - Tiger - Human Communication


Newsletter 28
12/11/09

Emotional humans, emotional cats


Newsletter 27
03/11/09

Julie gives birth to 5 tiger cubs


Newsletter 26
24/09/09

International Tiger Day


Newsletter 25
17/08/09

To all Photographers


Newsletter 24
16/07/09

A Shot in Anger


Newsletter 22
24/04/09


Newsletter 21
24/03/09


Newsletter 19
14/01/09

Tiger Birth
at Tiger Canyons


Newsletter 16
10/10/08

Tiger Courting


Newsletter 11
29/01/08

Privatizing the Tiger


Newsletter 9
27/10/07

Newsletter 8
28/09/07

Newsletter 7
14/09/07

Water Cats


Newsletter 6
14/08/07

Tiger Intelligence


Newsletter 5
16/05/07

Tiger language
Tiger Boma


Newsletter 3
09/03/07

Interspecies communication


Newsletter 2
06/02/07

Cub relocation


Londolozi
Newsletters

Death of a Legend
17/08/09


Newsletter 20
10/02/09

Newsletter 15
17/08/08

Painted Wolves


Newsletter 13
11/04/08

Response to Elephant Trust
by Daryl Balfour


Newsletter 12
09/04/08

Elephant Trust