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Newsletter 9
27/10/07

Expensive Cats


Julie   Pic: Sunette

In the last 28 days, Julie has caught 4 wildebeest, 3 red hartebeest, 1 blesbuck, 1 mountain reedbuck and 2 hares.

This amounts to more than R13 000 in less than a month.


Pic: JV

Although there are plenty of springbuck, the cheapest of the antelope, she has not managed to catch a single one.

From my field notes I record the following:

The springbuck don't run from the tiger like they do from a cheetah. They stay just ahead of her and are careful to stay in the open terrain.

As she accelerates towards them, they jump and stot. The stripes on their flanks appear like a zebra's stripes to create confusion to the attacking tiger.

As the tiger gets closer, they break the herd structure, each springbuck running in a different direction. This creates more confusion for the tiger.

It is said that a cheetah will select a single animal and will not deviate from that animal until it has caught it. Perhaps this is the cheetah's response to the "scatter techniques" used by the springbuck.

Will Julie learn to target an individual springbuck and does she have the speed across the open ground. Time will tell!

Compare the springbuck hunt to the blesbuck hunt.

Julie deliberately shows herself to the blesbuck. All the blesbuck run together, there is no break in the herd unit. Now Julie races unseen down a dry river bed. Anticipating the crossing point, she is waiting. In a cloud of dust she takes the blesbuck head on, an exceedingly risky maneuver.

The blesbuck have done two things which the springbuck have not done. The  blesbuck have fled the tiger and they have stayed together.

As I view historical leopard footage, I realize the very first leopard kill I ever filmed in 1984, the mother leopard used the identical technique to Julie. Deliberately showing herself to a herd of impala, she shot around in front of the fleeing herd to complete a dramatic kill.

Such was my excitement at the time, that I note the shot is exceedingly shaky. For a film maker your first leopard kill is like scoring your first century in a cricket game.

There is no substitute for experience.

After the unsuccessful springbuck hunt, Julie changes her tactics. She abandons the open grasslands and begins to coarse through thickets, rocks and tall grass.

The new style rewards her a hare and a mountain reedbuck are caught unawares in the grass.

I have seen lions in the Masai Mara do exactly the same. When the wildebeest herds disappear on their migration, the lions must turn to species like warthog to sustain themselves.

Adaptability is the key and the ability to learn the behaviors of the prey is essential.

At Londolozi and the Masai Mara a kill was a kill, for me prey had no value. At Tiger Canyons, it is different. I have added a calculator to my camera bag to add up the cost of the kills every time one is made.

To kill a tiger you need a gun and some bullets, a trap or some poison. These are all relatively cheap. To restore a tiger to the wilds you need land, fences, game and money, lots of money.

However what value does one put on a tiger that loves me, hunts with me, teaches and inspires me.

I can assure you there is no value. No money in the world can buy that.

Love Light & Peace
JV

 

Tread lightly on the Earth

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


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Newsletter 117
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An Open Letter to the President: Operation Wild Lion

Newsletter 116
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An Open Letter to Theo Bronkhorst

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Newsletter 112
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Newsletter 110
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Newsletter 109
09/03/15
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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
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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
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The Power of the Picture

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

Newsletter 96
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Corbett's Journey

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

Newsletter 94
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Open letter to Jani Allen: Oscar Pistorius

Newsletter 93
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John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

Newsletter 92
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Newsletter 91
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Newsletter 90
10/02/14
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Newsletter 89
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Newsletter 88
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Newsletter 87
16/01/14
Capture the Moment

Newsletter 86
07/12/13
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Newsletter 85
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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
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Tigress Calendar

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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

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08/08/11
The Body Parts Scam

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11/07/11
Tiger Subspecies

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01/05/11
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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
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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
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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