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Newsletter 25
17/08/09

To all photographers

Photographers    Tiger Photo Gallery    Shadow update   
Fear Factor in the Bush    Cubs on Ice    Death of a Legend

It has amazed me to see how many photographers, professional , semi professional, amateur and amateur enthusiast, have responded to the tiger opportunities at Tiger Canyons.
 
Millions of rands worth of equipment is on display on any one day at Tiger Canyons. Literally thousands and thousand of images are being captured, as the staccato sound of  four, five and sometimes six cameras, shoot at one time.
 
Tigers running, stalking and romping. Tigers lying in pools or swimming across streams. Tigers posing on rock formations in the late afternoon Karoo sun.

A white tiger cub hunts for crabs, her reflection clear as a mirror in the water. She ducks her head under the water, searching for frogs and crabs.

The images captured are endless, of the highest quality and truly world-class.

 
I often wonder to myself, what happens to all these images.
 
Is it our instinctive response to the fact that we know that "saving the tiger is a lost cause" and we are recording a historical record, or perhaps we are just compulsive photographers, searching endlessly for that one elusive, magical photograph.
 
The professionals are very clear, they sell the pictures for money. As the supply of tigers in the wild dwindles, the demand for good photos and hence the price goes up.
 
The amateur enthusiasts are not so clear about what they do with their pictures. Vaguely they say they are memories, mementos.
 
Recently I saw a magnificent documentary on the Tigers of Panna. Beautifully shot, the landscape and the tigers are breathtaking.
 
Sadly the tigers of Panna are no more. It is certain that the Panna documentary has become a historical record of days when tigers thrived in Panna.
 
Like the extinction of tigers in Sariska Park, it took the Indian Government a long time to acknowledge the tigers extinction from Panna. 
 
My belief in Governments capable of saving the tiger wanes daily, the only hope I believe, is in the hands of the private enterprise.
 
I would urge all photographers, professional or amateur to make their pictures speak.
 
Collectively, tiger photographers and tiger photos can made a difference. It's conceivable that Tigress Julie will have more pictures taken of her in her lifetime than even Princess Diana. Yet these pictures are worthless if they collect dust on some computer or are locked away in a cupboard.
 
You, the photographer, must find ways to make your photographs speak! A majestic species is slipping to extinction.

With this in mind, I have formed Tiger Photo Gallery and I am inviting all photographers who have visited Tiger Canyons or any Tiger Sanctuary, for that matter, to submit 6 of your most interesting pictures to Tiger Photo Gallery. I will place them on my website.

 
Don't tell me what camera or lenses you used, rather tell me the effect the tiger had on you, the influence, the inspiration. Give me ideas on how, together, we can use our pictures to create pressure.

We have the ability to communicate globally. We have websites, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, cell phones and email at our disposal, let's use them!


Tiger Photo Gallery

For the first photographer, Sunette Fourie go to Tiger Photo Gallery


YouTube Clips

Shine, the white tiger cub, Shunda and Zaria, the normal cubs, are playing on a frozen river at Tiger Canyons

JV fails to rescue a giraffe that slipped in the river. He wants to film lions and crocs feeding from the inside of the giraffe carcass using a dummy croc.


Update on Tigress Shadow

Shadow has returned to normal. She can walk, stalk, run, catch and kill as she did before. Her back right foot is slightly turned inwards, but otherwise she is perfect.

Shadow's three cubs are healthy and still extremely shy.


Death of a legend

It is with regret that I have to inform you that the famous Mother Leopard known as 3:4 has passed away at Londolozi. She was one month short of her 17th birthday.

As a young leopard with two young cubs, she and the cubs contracted sycoptic mange.

With the help of Dr Dewald Keet, we were able to dart her and her two cubs, effectively saving their lives and extending her life for more than 12 years.

Tributes to her have been pouring in from across the world. From guests, previous rangers and many who were privileged to know her.

I would like to share some of these tributes with you:

  • Dave Varty

Londolozi’s renowned family of leopards mourns the loss of the 3:4 female and the end of a seventeen year era. In 1979, the original ‘Mother’ leopard was the first to become relaxed in the presence of game viewing vehicles. Her story and those of her prominent offspring of nine litters have brought guests back year after year to view her extended family. Of the six generations of leopards that originate from the Mother, her last remaining granddaughter, the 3:4 female has come to the end of her 17 year life.

Londolozi’s general manager, Chris Kane Berman, remembers his first encounter with 3:4. She was ten days old with pale blue eyes staring out from the safety of a rocky outcrop where she was born. Stoff was twenty years old. “I have witnessed her decline over the past 18 months with nostalgia, sadness and great joy for a life well lived. She has touched so many lives including our staff and guests who have returned year on year to pay her homage” said Stoff. 

The response from our guests and staff to 3:4’s passing has been profound. Messages from past rangers, guests and other members of the extended Londolozi family expressing their memories and feelings about this magnificent leopard have been pouring in. This week the Londolozi rangers are wearing black ribbons pinned to their shirts – a Shangane tradition usually reserved for the passing of close family members and friends. At 11h20 on the 25 July 2009 all activities at Londolozi will cease for one minute of silence in her memory. Please join us wherever you are and share the moment. On the Southern Cross Koppies in the heart of the Londolozi traversing area, three small, leopard cubs were born last week - and the circle of life continues it’s endless journey.

  • Gillian van Houten:

I am with you in spirit, shed tears with you and  empathise with your sense of loss. A relationship with a wild creature is beyond expression. It belongs in another realm, one which we yearn  for but have only rare glimpses of. Everyone who knew 3/4 has been blessed with this insight...feel gratitude and it'll come around again...wait and see..

  • Maxime:

Farewell my Old Friend 

The words come hard and the tears flow easily, but each tear shed is filled to the brim with memories of a life privileged to have shared with the ThreeFour female.

She was my mother, she was my teacher, she was my friend, she was my daughter, she is my soul mate. 

My heart swells with joy as we find her. I came here to see her again not knowing how close it was to her final hours in this physical world and was told she hadn’t been seen for a while, and that I shouldn’t raise my hopes of seeing her. I replied that to see just a track would be enough.

A dear friend drove me out to her territory, and there she was, right next to the road, waiting patiently for me. So close to the place where I first followed her tracks on foot and found her with her first son, trying to persuade him to go off on his own and take his rightful place in the world as his sister had already done. The circle is almost complete. 

I look into her eyes now – as she nears the end of this life and approaches the next, and the light in them has not dimmed. It shines as brightly, if not more so, as the first day I was privileged enough to witness its pure beauty. 

I see a coat faded with time and remember how gold and lustrous it was in her youth. Her beauty is something seldom seen in the physical world. I have not seen it’s likeness before or since.

But the graying of her coat is not something for us fickle humans to regret. It adds dimensions to her beauty rather than detract from it. It tells a story of a life lived longer, happier and fuller than the golden coat of youth ever could – free under the golden rays of the Londolozi sun. 

I marvel still at how she tolerates our presence – at how she allows us this window into her secret life. Even in these final days – she still lets us find her. I know that if she wanted to remain hidden, the best trackers at Londolozi, for all their brilliance, they are some of the best in the world, would not be able to find her -  such is the way with leopards. But ThreeFour allowed us to find her time and time again. She gave us the rare opportunity to witness her life unfold – she shared her joys, of a simple rainfall after a long dry winter, of those first golden rays of morning on her coat after a cold winter night, of a full belly gracefully draped over the branch of a Jackalberry after a successful kill.

She shared her sorrows with us – cubs lost, her mourning to touching to bear. 

She shared her hunts with us, over and over and over again, even though our presence there, as sensitive to her needs as we always could be, must have impacted negatively on her success. She bore no grudge, showed no sign of anger, just tolerance and forbearance.  

Every mark on her body adds to the incredible inner beauty that this leopard radiates.

Each nick in her ear tells a story.

The kink in her tail tells a story.

The scars on her face tell of a desperate and fierce fight with a male leopard almost twice her size, to try and save her young. 

When I think of her territory, I cannot think of an empty one, waiting to be filled with some other. Her spirit compels me to think of the rocks in the Tugwaan that radiate with the warmth of the memory of her body, basking on them in the morning sun. Her energy and warmth will be part of those rocks forever.

I am compelled to think of the many trees that bear the imprint of her claws as she climbed their branches to survey what was hers, or to drag a kill away from other predators. I have placed my fingers into those same sacred marks many times in the past and drawn energy from them.

Those imprints remain to tell her story, for those who care to look for them. 

And the sands of the Tugwaan – No longer will they be pressed down with the imprint of her four feet, but so many grains have been touched by her over the years, her energy lingers in the spin of their atoms still. Each one carries a part of her inside them forever – just as they carry a part of her mother, who touched them before her. Her daughter walks the same paths now and touches those same grains of sand. They are all a part of ThreeFour’s story. It is a story that continues still, through the lives of her cubs and their cubs. 

And so though the tears pour down my cheeks now, and I can barely see to write, I cannot say goodbye, but simply - Fare Well my friend.

May your passing to what lies beyond be a peaceful one. We will meet again in that place that you travel to – my soul is bound to yours. 

I end with the words of the poet Stephen Cummings – ThreeFour would have liked them. 

“Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there I do not sleep.
I am the thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle Autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush,
Of quiet birds I circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there, I did not die.”  

  •  JV:

At Londolozi Game Reserve, I am sitting with an 16 year old leopard who I call "Manana", the mother.

She is probably the most famous and photographed leopard in the world and is the last remaining granddaughter of the original mother leopard which Elmon and I habituated way back in the early eighties.

The rangers at Londolozi call Manana 3:4 because of her spot pattern above the whisker line. It is by this method that all the leopards at Londolozi are identified......read more

Tread lightly on the earth.
JV

 


Tread lightly on the Earth

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


Newsletters


Newsletters 148
09/08/17
Open letter re schools plus Panna cubs

Newsletters 147
17/07/17
It's Finished

Newsletters 146
31/05/17
Hunters

Newsletter 145
20/05/17
King Corbett

Newsletter 144
08/05/17
Hunting versus Non Hunting

Newsletter 143
14/03/17
If it Pays, it Stays

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