THOMAS KAPLAN: From a historical standpoint, so much of America's wealth is predicated on the fact that we have the world's reserve currency. It allows us to be profligate and irresponsible in a way that we otherwise couldn't accomplish.
Gold has nowhere else to go but up. The macros are what will ultimately determine whether gold stays within a $3,000 to $5,000 range or potentially multiplies from there.
Leg two to was this correction that we've been experiencing, which to my eyes was forming this declining wedge. I do this now because it's so funny to watch most. I remember telling you this, now, I said when it breaks out, it can come back one more time to test it. Now, the beautiful part about it is that it formed this and then the subsequent pattern has turned into a saucer. Do you need to take time? I think Dan just had a [indiscernible].
RAOUL PAL: Today we have a very special interview for you all. Dan Tapiero recently sat down with Dr. Thomas Kaplan. Tom is amongst the preeminent, if not the preeminent, billionaire gold investors in the world. Indeed, he has one of the best track records ever assembled in the natural resource space, having founded or bought early stage Apex Silver in the 1990s, as well as Leor Energy and African Platinum in the 2000s. He is now the chairman of NOVAGOLD Resources, which he believes is an even better investment than his previous three hits.
In addition to his natural resource brilliance, Tom not only founded Panthera Corporation, the largest conservation efforts to save the world's big cat, but he also is considered one of the globe's most vital art collectors, as well as the largest private owner of Rembrandt in the world. It's a hell of a biography and that barely scratches the surface of Tom's achievements. He truly is an amazing man and he rarely ever does any media. This is a really exclusive look inside the mind of one of the best CEOs and most fascinating people in the investing world.
DAN TAPIERO: Hi, everybody. I'm Dan Tapiero, co-founder of Gold Bullion International and founder of DTAP Capital. Today, I'm here with an old friend, I think a very special guest for Real Vision, Tom Kaplan. Tom is the chairman of the Electrum Group. He's also chairman of NOVAGOLD. I would say that of any person that I know, Tom really is the living embodiment of the Renaissance man. Tom has distinguished himself in many different areas and one of the most interesting and one of the I would like to start with is his passion for conservation and the conservation of the big cats. Tom, I'd like you to start to talk about Panthera.
THOMAS KAPLAN: Panthera was created in 2006 by my wife Daphne and myself and the late Alan Rabinowitz, who I would say was the brother that I never had. In fact, I think it's fair to say that we both felt that way about each other. In many ways, we came to fulfill each other's lives and passion in an unusual way.
When I was a boy, I wanted to become what essentially Alan Rabinowitz became; a big cat, biologist and wildlife conservationist. Around the age of eight or nine, I discovered a genuine aptitude for history. It was that which I pursued all the way through my education. If anything, the application of history has been the greatest relative advantage that I've had in my business and in my philanthropy.
Because I understood the nature of cycles, I was able to make a very good living in the mining industry and in the energy sector. That allowed me to go back to my first love. I'd always said that if I had the good fortune to make a fortune, I would go back and retrace my steps and support those who really did have a genuine aptitude for science and for being able to apply science in the interests of environmental preservation.
When I met Alan, I realized that in many ways, my mission was being fulfilled by being able to leverage the wealth that I had created through investing and creating companies and enabling those great conservationists to go out and save the species I loved. That's how Panthera was created and over the course of the next decade, we became the leading NGO, non-government organization, in big cat conservation, getting to the point where National Geographic described us as the most comprehensive effort in big cat conservation ever. The US government said, if Panthera can't save the cats, then nobody can.
DAN TAPIERO: When was that?
THOMAS KAPLAN: That was several years ago, and we've taken that mission extremely seriously. We're the only organization dedicated to the conservation of all the wildcats from the smallest through to the Amor tiger. It's something which I would say of all my passions that you referenced, this one is the closest to my heart. I genuinely believe that the greatest psychic gratification that someone can have is to prevent the species from blinking out in their lifetimes.
I know that we've had that effect. We've been able to move the needle in tigers, jaguars, snow leopards, leopards, lions, and this means everything to me. I want to know that we've made a difference in leaving the planet itself in better condition than the way that we found it, which is extremely rare because after all, the human being is a parasite. We take from our host, we don't give anything back to it. Usually, the most that we can imagine doing is to do as little harm as possible.
DAN TAPIERO: What was the specific inspiration for the big cats as opposed to other species that are endangered?
THOMAS KAPLAN: No doubt, when I was child, the primary impulse was the appreciation of their beauty, their majesty, their elegance. There's a reason why big cats and small cats, by small, I mean the small wild cats have such an impact on people. They immediately create empathy when someone looks at them, and this is extremely important because we've done studies which have shown that in most countries, certainly in the Western world, of the top 12 terrestrial animals, seven or eight of those that immediately create the most immediate sense of empathy are indeed the cats.
What does this allow us to do? Well, if you're an environmentalist, if you're interested in wildlife conservation, it allows you to leverage the iconic nature of the cats to be able to provide a hook on which those who really want to engage in conservation can hang their hats. Not only because of the beauty, not only because that refinement is clearly something that transcends race, class, gender, creed, but also because from a biological standpoint, it's the ideal creature with which to be able to affect landscape wide conservation.
We call cats the umbrella species. Almost always within their landscape. The big cats are what you would call the charismatic megafauna, or the umbrella species, or the apex predator. If you think of the ecosystem as a pyramid with the apex predator at the top, and then all the way down to the ground and the landscape itself, then what you find is that the big cats require two essential ingredients in which to thrive, land in which to roam and protein.
If an ecosystem, by definition, can support a thriving population of big cats, it's a healthy ecosystem, because it provides an entire food chain. If you want to save critical habitats, critical ecosystems, landscapes, the best way to do is to focus on the cats. From a practical standpoint, from a pragmatic standpoint, the cats have a tremendous function in wildlife conservation. We know that there are vast landscapes around the world that exists today because of the work that we've done to ensure that the cats have an ecosystem that can sustain them.
DAN TAPIERO: I know you've worked on the Jaguar Corridor, could you talk a little bit about that? Let people know what you've done there.
THOMAS KAPLAN: The Jaguar Corridor was conceived of and implemented by Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, our partner in creating Panthera. It is far and away the most ambitious carnivore conservation program ever undertaken. The mission is almost breathtaking in its scope, in its ambition, it's to create or to identify a genetic corridor all the way through the jaguar's range, from the Sonora in Mexico, all the way down through Central America into South America into Ghana and the north and ultimately, reaching northern Argentina.
Something that's extraordinary about the jaguar is that from Mexico to Argentina, it's the same genetics. There are no subspecies along the way, which means that the populations haven't become isolated. That presents us with a tremendous opportunity and the basic principle of the Corridor is that having identified this genetic pathway. We work with governments who sign on to implementing their development plans in a way that's consistent with enabling the jaguar to pass because by definition, there are jaguars crossing the Panama Canal, hence, they're not genetically isolated and creating subspecies. The program itself is a really beautiful example of applied science and applying rigorous science to conservation.
DAN TAPIERO: I know that the-- I think I was reading somewhere that the tigers are the ones that right now are the most threatened. What is the thought as to maybe creating a corridor for the tigers? Is that something that Panthera is focusing on? What is being done specifically?
THOMAS KAPLAN: The concept of corridors and tiger conservation because those populations have become so isolated is very hard to implement. You can have corridors in relatively small areas. The idea behind the Jaguar Corridor, for example, we could no longer implement in tigers. On a relative basis, tigers are in triage.
It's more along the lines of what we would call a stronghold strategy, which is fine those are areas where you have that critical mass of land, of prey density and protect them as strongholds so that within those areas, the tigers are secure. It's this work that Panthera and its partners are affecting throughout the tigers range, but we're not able to play offense with tigers in the same way as we can do that with jaguars. Jaguars still allow us to be in a position to think forward and to be proactive in a way that with tigers, it's just much more difficult.
DAN TAPIERO: Is there a specific project that, I don't want to say is your favorite, but is there one that you could tell the audience about that moved you to a certain degree more than the others?
THOMAS KAPLAN: I became very keen, obviously, on the Jaguar Corridor, because it meshed with my own temperament, which is a big landscape, take advantage of momentum