The Body Parts Scam
Shadow in the snow
A sign at the entrance of Tiger Canyons now reads
"For their own safety, all tigers at Tiger Canyons have satellite
Another sign reads "Abandoned at birth, raised by
human beings, rare and beautiful, taken by greed"
Shine: 9 January 2009
- 15 August 2010
The death of Shine (Newsletter 37) still haunts me,
but today things have become a lot clearer.
On the day that she was killed, a rhino was killed
near Tiger Canyons and the horn hacked off.
I have always suspected but could never prove that
the men that killed Shine were connected to the rhino poaching.
Recently, on Carte Blanche, Taiwanese citizens were
arrested for trading in rhino horn and "lion body parts".
In 2010, an International Wildlife Agency monitoring
the trafficking of illegal products, had contacted me and asked me if I
knew of a trade in tiger body parts from South Africa. My reply was that
I didn't think there were enough tigers to sustain the trade. I was
In South Africa there are over 5,000 captive lions
providing the lucrative canned lion industry with trophies for overseas
In the Free State alone, 100 male lions can be shot
in a single season. Normally the hunter takes the trophy, but not the
In addition, from a population of 5,000 lions, there
will be natural mortalities from sick and old lions. etc.
Let's say 5% natural mortality. This would be around
250 dead lions per year. Add another 300 hunted for trophies and it's
conceivable that the body parts of 550 lions would become available.
A lion is not a Cites Appendix 1 animal and therefore
the Taiwanese men can legally ship all the lion body parts to China.
Once the body parts are in China, guess what, the "lion body parts"
become "tiger body parts" and no one is any the wiser except the price
of tiger body parts is so much higher.
I have been given a price of $15,000 for the body
parts of an average size tiger. Therefore, 550 lions at $15,000 amounts
to $8,250,000 or around R58 million.
So the ball game for the tigers at Tiger Canyons has
changed. I must now accept that like owners of rhino's, I will now be a
target for unscrupulous people who would attempt to steal a tiger for
the canned tiger industry or kill a tiger for the body parts. The money
is big, the trade is lucrative and the greed is higher than ever.
if the Taiwanese men go to jail, you can be sure there will be others
exploiting the "lion body parts" loophole.
Thank you to Lane Batot and others who responded to my newsletter,
The responses are on my website and are outstanding.
When the Florida panther was so low in numbers, where
did they go for panthers? To Canada! I hope they weren't "mixing
Another excellent example is where wolves and coyotes
have crossbred naturally in the wilds. So it seems that nature too has
its methods of cross breeding to keep species strong and to invent new
species as well.
Mahindra in snow
Back at Tiger Canyons, many photographers have
written to me wishing they could have filmed and photographed the tigers
in the snow.
If it is any comfort to you, no one could get into
the sanctuary, it was totally waterlogged.
In addition, the weight of
the frozen snow and gale force winds had collapsed the perimeter fence
in three places, so we were back to repairing fences.
Sariska inspects the damage
I decided to walk, cameras in hand into the tiger
area, a pretty stupid thing to do. For my trouble, I got knocked down by
the tigress Shadow, who was invigorated by the snow. I did manage to get
these pictures captioned "Shadow charging from the snow"
Some truly breathtaking pictures have been entered
for the photo competition. Because of the interest and all the setbacks,
we have moved the closing date for pictures to 15th of November.
We have decided to split the photo-shopped pictures
from the straight pictures and have prizes for both, so send any type of
picture you like. Only three pictures per photographer please. Children's
photographs welcome, put your age on entry.
I was fortunate and privileged to film Zaria's first
kill, a springbuck. (Zaria was hand raised and is now 30 months old)
After she had caught the springbuck, she had no idea how to kill it,
proving that the suffocating throat grip is learnt and not instinctive.
The new area is complete and fully stocked with
suitable prey and is awaiting inspection by Nature Conservation.
A prize is being offered for the first photographer
to capture a picture of a tiger swimming in the pools below the
Tread lightly on the earth