The Supermarket Shopper vs. the Hunter
For eighteen years, I
have been the buyer of food for Tiger Canyons. My system of
buying is not conventional. I get two assistants on the left
one the right both pushing trolleys.
Then I move down the
aisle at a rapid rate throwing food left & right. I can do a
full shop & be gone in less than 20 minutes.
When I started Tiger
Canyons, a full shop cost me R800. Now a full shop cost me
I buy what the guests
like to eat, not what I prefer to eat .
Compare this to a
hunter gatherer. Unlike me he doesn’t have a fossil fuel
burning vehicle to drive in, he walks to the food source.
The hunter gatherer
also has two assistants, these are his two wives who are
experts in plants which can be a source of food & medicine.
In addition his children are with him to carry the food. The
boys learn how to hunt and the girls learn which plant are
The hunter gatherer has
a bow & arrow & a spear & his wives have digging sticks. All
are made of raw materials.
I carry sundry credit
cards, most of which don’t work because of insufficient
funds, but hopefully one works.
All of my food is
carried in plastic bags which will eventually end up in the
veld or choking some local river or in the ocean.
The hunter gatherer’s
food is carried in bags made of animal skins or baskets made
of reeds. All of these are biodegradable.
In the supermarket, I
am confronted with a dazzling array of packaging all
designed to catch my eye. I don’t have the time or
inclination to read the small print on the packaging, but ninety
percent of what I buy will have refined sugar in some shape
The hunter gatherer is
not so fortunate, his food is scattered far & wide & his
protein is on the hoof, it runs away.
To get my food has
taken 20 minutes, to get the hunter gatherer’s food may take
more than 20 hours.
However, my impact on
the planet is far greater than that of the hunter gatherer.
My purchase has supported the monocultures of maize, rice,
wheat and others.
I have supported the
industrial farmers & perpetuated cruelty. The chickens I buy
are not free range. (The supermarket where I buy does not
have free range chickens) They come from massive batteries
where they lights are turned on & off at irregular times to
get the chickens to lay more eggs.
The number of diseases
that have broken out in the poultry industry in the last
decade, is horrendous. Chickens, ducks & ostriches have all
had breakouts of dangerous diseases. These diseases are
transported by wild birds who can fly & therefore spread
the disease fast.
The bacon which is
neatly packaged in plastic comes from pigs who live in
filthy pig sties or steel cages where there is no space to
The beef comes from
cattle which are fed in feedlots. Due to the fact that we
have overstocked the land to such an extent, the only way to
support the large numbers of cattle is to artificially feed
In 1986, Mad Cow
Disease broke out when it was revealed that people were
feeding mulched dead carcasses to the cows in the feed
To produce the lamb in
the supermarket, the farmers go to war with anything that
attacks their sheep.
When I bought 17 sheep
farms to create Tiger Moon, I removed 96 gin traps off the
land (A gin trap is a spring-loaded trap. When the animal
steps on the plate, the steel jaws clamp around its leg. The
problem with the gin trap is it is indiscriminate, it does
not only catch the animals that attack the sheep).
I have filmed the
following animals caught in gin traps: springbuck, kori
bustard, vervet monkey, baboon, caracal, jackal, cape fox,
aardwolf, cape hare, springhare & porcupine. (The porcupine
chewed off its leg where the gin trap had caught it.)
industrialized farming, cruelty plays out on a massive
I have seen governments
ban the use of a tigers in circus acts. I have yet to see a
government close down a chicken battery or a pig farm on the
grounds of cruelty.
The hunter gatherer
perpetuates cruelty on a minute scale compared to
industrialized farming. His poisoned arrow may not find the
mark & the animal will die a lingering death. The Kudu that
has impaled itself on a sharp stick in his drop pit may
escape wounded. The impala may struggle for hours as the
snare made from wild sisal tightens around its neck.
For the hunter gatherer,
the risk of getting his food is far higher than the supermarket shopper. (This is as long as Isis haven’t put a bomb
in the supermarket.)
The warthog may turn &
gore him, if his spear doesn’t kill it, as it comes out of his
burrow. If the puff adder bites his wife while she is
collecting herbs, medical assistance is non- existent. The
lions may attack him as he is carrying his kill home, force
him into a tree & take his meat.
Surviving & getting
enough food to feed himself & his family are realities in
the life of the hunter gather.
So, what was catalyst
that shifted from hunter gatherer to supermarket shopper.
Instead of searching
for the food which took time & energy, what if he could
bring the plants home & plant them. And so the birth of
the mono cultures appeared, maize, rice and wheat etc.
What if instead, of
chasing after animals, we could catch them & put them in
enclosures. The wild boar, the mountain goat, the wild sheep
& the wild cattle could all be captured & domesticated. This
was the birth of industrialized farming as we know it today.
Now with our food
supply secured, we could lower our death rate & increase our
birth rate. The result is the human population has gone
through 7 billion people.
The problem is to
support our rising human population, we have sacrificed our
natural habitat & all its diversity.
Inside those forests
were other types of foods & medicines which we destroyed
before we could research them.
Now we find to our
horror, (only Donald Trump is not perturbed) that our mono
cultures are vulnerable to increased heat, fire, flood &
Human beings have
committed a basic error of ecology. We have destroyed our
Cattle replaced 63
million American buffalo in the North American prairies.
Sheep replaced 200
million springbuck in the veld of South Africa.
Ninety one indigenous
ungulate species on the African continent are replaced by
sheep, goats, cows, pigs & horses.
Planet Earth is a
self-regulating eco system where wind, rain, snow, rivers &
oceans balance her temperature. This is assisted by rain
forest, mountain ranges, deserts & savannah grass lands
which further regulate her.
If the agents for
balance are disturbed the planet will rectify. If the
patient is running a temperature, the doctor will take steps
to reduce the temperature.
If disease breaks out
in the wildebeest, the other 91 ungulate species are not
affected. Diversity of species protects the other 90
If disease breaks out
in sheep, it runs through the entire population. Species that
are crowded together are more vulnerable, hence, ducks,
crowded in pens are “a sitting duck” to disease, excuse the
To defend our mono
cultures & hence our food source we are forced to go to war
with nature. Pesticides poison the insects that attack our
crops, but they also poison the bees that pollinate the
We move to genetic
engineering to try to produce crops that are more resistant
i.e. more diverse.
But those diverse crops
are already with us but unfortunately, they are in the
indigenous forest, which we destroyed before we could
I once brought a hunter
gatherer into a garden of a big house in an upmarket suburb
of Johannesburg. He asked “if he could eat the roses". When
I replied, “they are not for eating" he asked me “why did
you plant them?"
The hunter gatherer
will not die of cancer or heart disease, he will succumb to
malaria, be struck by lightning, killed by snake bite or die
in the jaws of a big cat or crocodile.
Even if the hunter
gatherer has medical aid it would be of no use. If the mamba
bites, he is miles from nowhere.
Modern medicine has
increased the longevity of the supermarket shopper, but if
rising temperatures destroy his mono cultures, he does not
have the knowledge to find his food if indeed, the food
Jane Goodall is urging
us to grow our own food and our own diversity of food,
please listen to her
Tread lightly on the Earth
The Edward de Bono Approach
Inspired by Jane
Goodall, this is my 5 point plan to become independent of
the super markets and become more environmentally friendly:
1. Invite people in Philippolis with gardens to grow
indigenous trees and vegetables which they sell to Tiger
Canyons (Using perma culture, this system was successful at
Londolozi 20 years ago)
2. Hire all the fisherman in Philippolis, equip them with
fishing rods and transport them to van der Kloof Lake (The
fisherman get paid for every fish they catch and sell to
the warthog market with the surrounding farmers (Farmers
traditionally shoot the warthogs because they damage their
fences). Instead of industrialized pork from the
supermarket, I serve warthog to the guests.
4. The scouts follow the cheetah and when they catch
springbuck and blesbuck, the scouts move in and take 1/3 of
the carcass. The rest is left for the cheetah. (Healthy,
lean springbuck meat is served to the guests instead of
feedlot beef. Please don't report me to the authorities as I
am not sure this method complies with the South African
Within 5 years, turn the Tiger Canyons motor fleet to
electric cars. (It is my hope that a 4x4 Tesla will be in
South Africa within the next 5 years.
JV is running a guiding course from 29th
November to 8th December (leaving morning of the 9th)
Tiger Canyons, District Philippolis
1. Guests techniques
2. Big Cat Rehabilitation
3. Habitat Manipulation
4. Predator Prey Dynamics
5. Movie Camera Instruction
6. Still Photography Instruction
7. Rifle Management
8. Story Telling
9. Camp Fire Singing
10. Interspecies Communication
11. The Spiritual Return
cell: +27 82 89 24680
R10 000 per person. Food and accommodation included