Once Safari Club International banned canned
lion hunting to its members, the writing was on the wall,
hundreds and thousands of lions were going to die as lion
breeders cashed in on the body parts trade.
A month ago over a 100 lions were slaughtered
in the Free State. Now the Department of Environment has issued
a permit for 1,500 lions to be killed for the body parts.
These body parts are shipped legally to China
and will then be relabeled Tiger Bones and sold for medicinal
purposes in the Chinese markets.
The ramifications for the wild tiger are huge
and only time will tell the full impact on the wild populations
The Politicians who took this decision
obviously did not take the impact this would have on wild tigers
and indeed any wild cats into accounts. I can only think there
are other motivating factors behind this decision.
The canned lion industry started by the
Apartheid Government, expanded by the ANC Government, is a sad
reflection of South Africa's attitude to wild animals, “If they
pay, they stay, if they don’t, then slaughter them for profit”.
If the United Nations introduces a "cruelty
rating", South Africa will be very high on that list.
I saw Botswana move many white rhinos from
South Africa to Botswana. I marveled at Malawi who relocated 500
elephant to a new park. Surely we could have got 200 lions back
into the wild from the 7000 in captivity.
However in the case of Botswana and Malawi,
they had political will and leadership, we had none!
Cultural Exchange and Story Telling:
I have added the activity of cultural
exchange and story telling to my safaris. Apart from
photographing big cats, guests will meet with Glad Khoza who
will explain the complex workings of the Shangaan Lobola
Elmon Mhlongo will tell guests how when the
helicopter was falling to the ground in 1995 in Luangwa Valley,
he decided to jump and roll clear of the crash. Only Willlie
Sibuya’s quick thinking changed Elmon's mind at the last
Riekie Pieterse will tell guests how in the
floods of 2011, the aggressive male Tiger Corbett, charged him
through the water. Riekie’s ability to chuff Corbett and calm
him down, undoubtedly saved Riekie's life. It remains an
incredible piece of “interspecies communication”.
Phindi Mathebula will tell guests how her and
her friend Lilian, went to the Sabi River to get water. As
Lilian bent down to draw the water, the croc grabbed her and
pulled her into the water, drowning her in the river.
These stories from Africa, told by Africans
will greatly enrich your safari.
I have been involved in three campaigns where
social media has greatly affected the outcome. When Cecil, the
biggest lion in Africa, was wounded by an arrow and then shot
with a rifle by an American hunter, the story went global across
The debate whether the Timbavati Reserve had
the right to sell a 100lbs tusk elephant bull to a hunter, raged
for a good two weeks. Some regarded the elephant bull which
spent the majority of his time in Kruger, as a national asset to
be protected at all cost. The hunters regarded the elephant bull
as fair game to be sold to the hunter who paid the most money.
The third campaign is an attempt to uncover
the truth about who shot the territorial male lion Skye in the
Umbabat Reserve. This debate is still raging, but I have no
doubt, in time, the truth will be revealed.
To all who contributed positively to these
campaigns, I say thank you. To the mud slingers who got personal
and tried to deflect the argument away from the real issues,
they did not succeed.
To those who got emotional and called the
hunters all sorts of names, it doesn’t help the cause. Just
bring facts and the evidence. Remain focused and achieve your
To those who had evidence and information,
but did not bring it forward, it is unacceptable. To remain
silent, is apathy at its worst. (I still do not understand why
the eco-lodges in the Umbabat Reserve remained silent when Skye
was taken, they had the most to lose)
If anyone would like me to co-ordinate a
campaign for them, I will do it gladly.
Whatsapp +27 83 651 1600
At Tiger Canyons, four litter of cubs are
providing us with the finest photo opportunities in our history.
What is even more fascinating, is to compare the skills of the 4
different mothers, Panna, Oria, Tibo and Ussuri. Each one is a
caring, intelligent mother and special in her own right!
The fact that all 12 cubs are males will pose
some difficult management problems for us in the future.
However, Rodney and Kevin Drew have designed
a magnificent new area of several thousand hectares into which
the new cubs will disperse.
The area is beautiful, wild and rugged, but
it is superb tiger habitat and will greatly enhance the wild
beauty of Tiger Canyons.
The fence will be completed and the area
stocked by the end of 2018.
Tread Lightly on the Earth