JV and THE BIG CATS


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Newsletter 93
07/05/14

John Varty Interview with Sizie Modise

SM: How long have you been doing Tiger Conservation?
JV: 14 years

SM: What is your overall objective?
JV: To get a population of over 50 wild Tigers and create a park where Lions, Leopards, Cheetah and Tigers all coexist.

SM: Your recent expansion invested 1000 Hectares for Cheetah?
JV: Like Tigers, Cheetah suffer from loss of home range to humans and they are more vulnerable to being out competed by Lions, Leopard and Spotted Hyena. Cheetah lose kills and cubs to these rival predators. Cheetah are listed as a threatened species. Before we introduced Cheetah, there were no wild Cheetah in the Free State.

SM: Do you ever see Cheetah and Tiger co-existing?
JV: I would need a lot more land, more than 60 000 Hectares.

SM: What does it cost you to run Tiger Canyons per day?
JV: I have no idea, a lot of money.

SM: What does it cost to support and adult Tiger per year?
JV: R100 000

SM: Can I sponsor a Tiger?
JV: Yes you can, through the Tigress Julie Foundation.

SM: Have you had any big corporations sponsor a Tiger?
JV: No, only individuals.

SM: Does the South African Government give you any support?
JV: None. I have called for the government to create a full national park for Tigers, but I doubt it will ever happen.

SM: Has Tigress Ussuri replaced Julie as your favourite Tiger?
JV: They are different relationships. Julie was hand raised, while Ussuri is wild born and wild raised. Both are incredible ambassador Tigers. All the Tigers are my favourite, even Corbett.

SM: Do you bear any grudge against Corbett?
JV: None whatsoever, I am counting the days to when he walks free - it should be in 8 weeks time.

SM: How many pictures have already been taken of Ussuri?
JV: Hundreds of thousands. Ussuri is a very accessible Tigress and she chooses very picturesque den sites. Ussuri interacts with her cubs all the time so the photographic potential is huge. The afternoon light at Tiger Canyons is the best I have ever filmed in, Ussuri and her cubs literally glow in the afternoon light.

SM: What would it cost me to rename Ussuri?
JV: $100 000

SM: What will it cost to name one of her cubs?
JV: $10 000

SM: Why did you vasectomise Seatao?
JV: Seatao fathered Julies second and third litters. He is also the father of Shadow's two cubs. His son Mahindra is a very fine male, is well bred and carries his genes.

SM: Why has Shundarban never impregnated a Tigress?
JV: Shundarban suffers from a condition called Kryptorchen. This means his testicles are inside his body. The result is that the temperature of his sperm, is too high.

SM: How do you control who Tibo mates with?
JV: I have no control who she mates with, especially when all the internal fences are removed and all the Tigers are co-existing. Our policy is not to produce white Tigers but rather preserve the rarity of the white Tiger. I am DNA profiling every Tiger at the moment, but once the big area is operational, I have no control.

SM: Why do you use Mahindra vehicles
JV: They are cheaper than Landrovers

SM: Your motto is "Tread lightly on the Earth" – why?
JV: The truth is, the human population is now at more than 7 billion. Everyday we are burning fossil fuels. We are heating the planet and our footprint is heavy. Tread lightly is an objective I would love to achieve in the future….for now it remains marketing.

SM: What is your major environmental contribution?
JV: We are creating a wild population of Tigers outside Asia, this is valuable, extremely valuable. We are creating huge awareness through our films, newsletters and the website. Apart from this, perhaps our biggest contribution is that we have changed the land use system from destructive domestic stock to indigenous wildlife on a large piece of land. We are creating jobs as well.

SM: How many jobs have you created in Philippolis?
JV: I have created as many as 109 jobs. Presently 50 guys are fencing the last 14km of fence.

SM: How strong is your tourism?
JV: Very strong. The Big Cat Safari puts Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Tiger together in one safari. There is nowhere else in the world you can achieve this. 52 Nationalities have visited Tiger Canyons.

SM: What kind of guest is visiting Tiger Canyons?
JV: Professional photographers, international film crews, knowledgeable, concerned people….. a pleasure to be with.

SM: When will you build a Lodge?
JV: When the bank lends me the money.

SM: Will your children go into conservation?
JV: I hope so, it's their journey.

SM: What succession planning do you have in place?
JV: Rodney and Lorna Drew have invested heavily in wild Tigers and Cheetahs. This helps me shoulder the responsibility. If Corbett had killed me, it would have been all over.

SM: What kind of return can an investor get from an investment in wild Tigers?
JV: A small financial return - a bigger environmental return and an even greater spiritual return.

SM: What is the spiritual return?
JV: I get to swim with tiger cubs, go hunting with Cheetah, film and photograph wild tigers in an area with no noise, no pollution and no crime. That’s a pretty spiritual lifestyle. 

SM: One of your recent newsletters called for a champion for Tigers. Have you had any luck?
JV: There are many wealthy individuals interested in investing in the project. There are a few likeminded.

SM: You are working on your first musical, tell us about it.
JV: It’s a DVD with some of the songs which I have written 20 years ago. Now I have professional musicians recording for me. What’s exciting is that it’s a live show, I put microphones and drums in the audience and the lyrics are written on a big screen so the audience can sing along. It’s story telling at its best and a giant ‘sing song’.

SM: Who influences you musically?
JV: I have been influenced by musicians who have used their music to protest a situation. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez protested the Vietnam war. Barry McGuire’s "Eve of Destruction" had a big impact on me. Rodriguez's anti-establishment "Cold Fact" was a favourite of mine, Rodriguez, because he was half Native American, never got the recognition he deserved in America. Johnny Clegg’s anti-apartheid cross-over music was perfect in the liberation struggle. Bob Marley brought the opposing politicians together in one of his concerts in Jamaica.

SM: Do you have any protest songs in the musical?
JV: The song "In Cages Around the World", is a protest song against the use of tigers and indeed all wild animals in circus acts. 

"in cages around the world you pace
60 000 in a never-ending futile race
In circuses you perform
But your teeth are pulled
And your claws are all gone…" 

SM: Who helped you with this production?
JV: I would like to thank the many artists who performed in the show. Bobby Johnson of Rebirth Music did a fantastic job of professionalizing the music and Tidi Modise edited the production. The show will go out on DVD and on YouTube. All proceeds of the show will go to Tiger conservation. The concert is dedicated to Nelson Mandela and Tigress Julie. If you would like to order the DVD and a signed booklet with lyrics it costs R750 plus postage. The limited edition leather bound DVD and signed booklet with lyrics is R1500 plus postage. You can order through jv@jvbigcats.co.za . Delivery will be in 90 days. All proceeds go to Tiger Conservation.

SM: Where do you want to take your music?
JV: I would like to produce an album which highlights the plight of Tigers. The album would have artists like Ziggy Marley, Rodrigues, Johnny Clegg, Peter Sarstedt, Chris de Burgh, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Ronan Keating, Bryan Adams, Yusuf (ex Cat Stevens) all creating and performing. 

SM: You better get going…some of those artists are getting old!!
JV: …And so am I (smile)

SM: You are writing 4 books this year, tell me about them.
JV: I am doing a book with Marsel van Oosten and Daniella Sibbing on Tiger Conservation and saving the Tiger. I am doing a book on the Big Cats: Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Tiger with Daryl and Sharna Balfour. I am doing a book with my two boys Sean and Tao Varty. It’s a fun book. My last book is called "All the Girls", its about all the ladies I have known, 2 legged, 4 legged, furry.. and not so furry. It spans from Tina Turner to Tigress Julie, from Brooke Shields to Mother Leopard. It should be fun…..

SM: Do books make any money?
JV: None, but they carry powerful messages and they are fun to make.

SM: Do you ever get lonely?
JV: Never

SM: Have you ever been married?
JV: Never

SM: Would you like to be?
JV: Are you making me an offer I do not understand…?


Cub Naming Competition

Thank you to all who entered the Ussuri Cub naming competition. Many beautiful Russian & Indian Names were submitted. Some of my favourites include:

Tamil, Remus, Anat, Iskra, Borya, Kuzma, Bandha, Charger, Antares, Kalu, Thuka, Damansky, Mohanpur, Argo, Orion, Riley, Matea

The competition closes on the 30th of May, when the two judges Lorna Drew and Angeline Carruthers will decide the winner. Names for only the male cubs should now be submitted. 

I would like to thank Margaret Pang who made an extremely generous donation & named Ussuri’s female cub "Marguerite". 

Remember that a Tiger at Tiger Canyons can be sponsored on an annual basis & a tiger can be given a name or a name can be changed for a donation (see newsletter) 

Expansion: The fence enclosing the new tiger area is progressing rapidly. Within 8 weeks, the area will be ready for stocking with prey animals. 

Tiger Corbett and Tigress Zaria will be released into the new area immediately. All tigers at Tiger Canyons will be wild and free ranging. 

For me this is a giant step forward in tiger conservation & one I have looked forward to for a long time. I would like to thank Jos and Yvette van Bommel, who helped finance the fence. Their generosity is endless. 

In addition James Le Vea who has sponsored large sectors of the fence.  

Kevin Drew & Neil McLaughlin have produced a fence of the highest quality. The fence is certainly the highest predator proof fence in Africa and is powered completely by solar energy.  

Tread Lightly on the Earth
JV

 

Tread lightly on the Earth

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


Newsletters


Newsletter 150
14/09/17
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Newsletters 149
05/09/17
In pursuit of Alan Root

Newsletters 148
09/08/17
Open letter re schools plus Panna cubs

Newsletters 147
17/07/17
It's Finished

Newsletters 146
31/05/17
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Newsletter 145
20/05/17
King Corbett

Newsletter 144
08/05/17
Hunting versus Non Hunting

Newsletter 143
14/03/17
If it Pays, it Stays

Newsletters 142
14/02/17
Best Photographs at
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Newsletters 141
16/01/17
Lady Hunters

Newsletter 140
10/12/16
Londolozi and Love

Newsletter 139
23/11/16
Life is Not Fair

Newsletter 138
17/11/16
The Trump Card

Newsletter 137
22/10/16
Most Admired People on the Planet

Newsletters 136
13/10/16
Captive vs Wild

Newsletter 135
08/10/16
To trade  or not To Trade

Newsletter 134
08/08/16
A Defining Moment

Newsletter 133
08/07/16
I Have Lost A Friend

Newsletter 132
13/05/16
The World is Changing

Newsletter 131
08/04/16
Icon Cats

Newsletter 130
31/03/16
Sylvester the Lion

Newsletter 129
22/03/16
An Open Letter to Head United Nations

Newsletter 128
15/03/16
An Open Letter to Carte Blanche

Newsletter 127
28/11/15
Satellite Tracking

Newsletter 126
12/11/15
Lightning strikes 3 times

Newsletter 125
28/10/15
The Break Out

Newsletter 124
05/10/15
Bad Tigers

Newsletter 123
01/10/15
Tiger Boy's Journey

Newsletter 122
13/09/15
Give it a Name

Newsletter 121
10/09/15
Driven Hunts

Newsletter 120
01/09/15
Creative Conservation

Newsletter 119
12/08/15
Sariska from birth till death

Newsletter 118
11/08/15
Real Hunters

Newsletter 117
07/08/15
An Open Letter to the President: Operation Wild Lion

Newsletter 116
03/08/15
An Open Letter to Theo Bronkhorst

Newsletter 115
28/07/15
Cruel Nations

Newsletter 114
08/07/15
Subspecies or no subspecies

Newsletter 113
11/06/15
Tigers Moving Forward

Newsletter 112
13/04/15
Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Newsletter 111
26/03/15
Don't Shoot the Messenger

Newsletter 110
22/03/15
The Hunters

Newsletter 109
09/03/15
Gaia or God?

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
Blondes have more fun

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
15/08/14
The Power of the Picture

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

Newsletter 96
11/07/14
Corbett's Journey

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

Newsletter 94
12/05/14
Open letter to Jani Allen: Oscar Pistorius

Newsletter 93
07/05/14
John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

Newsletter 92
20/04/14
Marion's Big Cat Safari

Newsletter 91
24/02/14
Full energy flow

Newsletter 90
10/02/14
Investing in wild tigers

Newsletter 89
05/02/14
Where are the Champions?

Newsletter 88
27/01/14
Managing the Genes

Newsletter 87
16/01/14
Capture the Moment

Newsletter 86
07/12/13
The Princess Diana of Tigers - Julie:
 Sept 1999 - 5 Des 2013

Newsletter 85
26/11/13
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
04/11/11
Tigress Calendar

Newsletters 49
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

Newsletters 46
08/08/11
The Body Parts Scam

Newsletters 45
11/07/11
Tiger Subspecies

Newsletters 43
01/05/11
Your future and the Tiger

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
Tiger Green Hunting

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
Tiger Boma


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