addressed to the hundreds of students, volunteers and young people
requesting work at Tiger Canyons. Many of you are wanting to
make careers in conservation. I say follow your dreams.
Let me explain - Tiger Canyons is a one man show,
it is an experiment. I have a tight band of local people who support
me. I live in an old ramshackle house. There is no accommodation for
volunteers. All my money is in the Tigers.
By e-mailing me, you have automatically joined
the global team to save the wild tiger, so I urge you to stay in
touch with me and keep me informed of your progress. Don't take my
failure to reply to your request as discouragement. Your e-mails and
requests are important to me and there is definitely a role that you
can play in the conservation of tigers.
Wild Tigers I believe, belong to the world, not
just to the Asian countries that inherited them. I believe that wild
tigers are a planetary treasure and each and everyone of us on this
planet and our children should have the right to see a tiger in the
The world's human population has just passed
through 7 billion and the wild tiger has declined to around 1000.
Many people now believe that the Asian countries
who inherited the wild tiger are incapable of saving them or
conserving them. This is where you, who are starting out on a
career in conservation, have opportunity.
Lakshmi Mittal the Indian tycoon, is the
fifth richest man in the world. He has acquired his wealth from
steel, yet not a single tiger park in India is fenced. How is this
At the same time there are dozens of examples of
parks in Africa which are fenced and successfully contain large cats
like lion, leopard and cheetah. At Tiger Canyons we have
successfully run tigers side by side with domestic stock by using
When I ask the Indian authorities why they don't
fence their parks, they say there is no budget. Yet India is
spending billions of dollar an developing nuclear weapons. How is it
that they can't find a budget to separate the human and the domestic
stock from the tigers? Is war more important than saving a
magnificent creature like the tiger?
Perhaps you in India know Lakshmi Mittal or other
wealthy influential businessmen. The future of the wild tiger is in
The tiger needs space which has suitable habitat,
it needs suitable prey and protection from poachers, and domestic
stock grazing into the unfenced parks. Therefore the first step is
to get as many of the parks electrically fenced with a 3.3 meter
barrier. Is it expensive? You bet it is!
The second step is to privatize the parks. Get
them into the hands of private enterprise. Take the conservation of
tigers out of the hands of the government. Follow the South African
model where the private enterprise owns more wildlife than the South
African government. It's the private enterprise that is expanding
land for wildlife by 300,000 hectares per years.
Therefore to all Indian people who correspond
with me, I say study successful models elsewhere and then create
pressure for change in India.
Hotel groups in India that rely on tourism,
should be encouraged to acquire land which is fenced and stocked
with suitable prey. Then the tigers can be introduced and controlled
ecotourism developed. Once again South Africa has good examples in
its private lodges.
Travel to Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa
and see how we allow only 3 jeeps at a time around the leopards
sightings. In Indian parks, if a tiger is located, as many as 22 jeeps
may crowd around the tiger. Tourism is then seen as a disadvantage
to wild tigers instead of a benefit.
For you conservation students that live outside
Asia you have an even bigger role to play. If the wild tiger is not going to be saved in
Asia where is it going to be saved?
Approach your local zoos and encourage them to
acquire land for wild tigers. There is an estimated 45,000 tigers in
captivity world wide. Encourage your zoos to do ex-situ conservation
projects with wild tigers. Putting a tiger in a cage is "old
think", encourage the zoos to go for wild populations of tigers.
In short, you create populations of wild tigers
in Australia, Africa, USA, Canada, anywhere where you can find space
and suitable prey. To the many USA people who correspond with me, I
say approach Ted Turner, he has vast tracts of land in New Mexico
and Montana. Ted gave a $1billion to the United Nations.
There are many millionaires in the USA, try and
influence them into investing in wild tiger populations. I have been
on big ranches in Texas, some are very suitable for tiger
In the world today, the rich people are getting
richer and poor people are getting poorer. This is not a recipe for
stability in the future. History has shown us that when war break
out, wildlife disappears rapidly. Mozambique Vietnam, Sri Lanka,
Cambodia, Korea, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Rwanda are all good examples
of wild life being decimated during war time.
If India and Pakistan end up at war with each
other, as seems inevitable, where will the tiger be? The tigers is a
big bodied predator that needs space, habitat, prey and protection
from human beings. When human beings start killing each other, the
chances of humans protecting the last tigers are nil. The tiger
already competes with 320 people per square kilometer in India, a
war scenario would be disastrous for the tiger and its habitat.
Therefore I say the more wild tiger populations
that are created outside Asia, the better. Tiger Canyons has done
much of the initial research. We have a road map to create these
ex-situ conservation sanctuaries. The information is freely
available and we have wild tigers ready for relocation.
Therefore to you students, conservationist,
dreamers, innovators, visionaries around the world, look to create
tiger sanctuaries for wild tigers in your own countries, this is the
most valuable role you can play.
Try to be the most effective where you can and
that is in your own countries. Use Tiger Canyons as the springboard
to launch your projects, I will travel to help you when you have a
suitable sites and resources to make it happen.
Never believe that you cannot achieve it. "First
dream, then communicate, then plan and finally execute. Vision,
attitude, tenacity, enthusiasm and youth are your biggest allies."
Good luck to you all.