Thank you for your many
emails and messages on facebook in response to my newsletter, Tiger
Hunt. Once again, there are too many emails to respond to personally, but I
appreciate each and every one.
One person saw a green tiger
hunt as the same as renting a baby from a homeless person to obtain
money for food.
Others said they would never
again return to Tiger Canyons and that I was nothing less than a
The NSPCA had this to say:
"This form of hunting causes stress and possible injury to the animals
involved and the repetitive immobilization for recreational purposes
represents cruelty. It is precisely because it is non-lethal, that the
assumption is made that it is 'more ethical' and less cruel. In fact,
the animal lives to suffer the side effects - not once, but repeatedly".
Others pointed out to me that
green hunting has been done for some time with white rhino. Some rhino
have been darted repeatedly. This cannot be good
for their health.
It is possible that green hunting will shortly be
outlawed by the South African Government.
The majority of people who
replied to the newsletter, thought is was a good and legitimate way of
earning money for tiger conservation. All said that no tigers should be
hurt. Clearly green hunting of
tigers is a highly emotional subject.
My personal opinion is this:
When we started Londolozi
Game Reserve in 1974, the leopards which had been hunted, were
exceedingly shy and elusive. With my tracker and friend,
Elmon Mhlongo, I was able to habituate a female leopard called "The
Mother". She in turn produced 19 cubs.
I realize now that when a big
cat becomes habituated, you unknowingly enter into a silent and instinctive
agreement with that cat and vice versa.
I watched one day as "Mother
Leopard" took in her mouth small cubs from the den and placed them on a
rock so that 16 guests could photograph them.
After 20 minutes and
several hundred pictures later, she regarded the photo shoot as over and took them back into the
den and out of sight.
Recently, I watched Tigress
Julie and her cubs feeding out of sight in dense reeds. Unexpectedly,
she dragged the kill out of the reeds and into the full view of the
waiting photographers. I have seen it too many times for it to be a coincidence.
Shortly before her 17th
birthday, the famous leopard, "Manana", in a symbolic gesture, takes me
on a three hour hunt on foot, one of the most magical experiences of my life.
All these are ambassador
cats. Instinctively, they realize that their survival depends of their
relationships with human beings. They allow us to enter their secret lives and in turn, they provide
knowledge, photos and inspiration.
The new area at Tiger Canyons
is spectacular, but rugged. Many "tiger swimming pools" are accessible
only on foot. Could it be that in the future, guests can leave the vehicle
on foot and get close enough to wild ambassador tigers to photograph
them? Is it possible that guests in the future can stand eye to eye,
head to head with wild tigers? What a thrill that would be.
Remember Tiger Canyons is an
experiment and the tiger - human relationship is something we research
daily. How far can these boundaries be pushed? How close can the bonds
between tiger and humans be forged?
Dependant on all of this is
trust. Trust between tigers and human beings. It is this
trust that is compromised every time I do a green tiger hunt and it is
upon this breach of trust that I reject green tiger hunts as a form of
Thank you again for your
support and interest.
Tread lightly on the Earth