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Newsletter 16
10/10/08

Tiger Courting

During a television interview, I once referred to human beings as "promiscuous apes". The media crucified me for suggesting such a thing.

Promiscuous may be the wrong word, but the rituals that human beings go through in pursuit of mates, is complex and fascinating.

One only needs to go to a staff party at Londolozi Game Reserve to see this process in action.


movie clip - mating, JV interview

The men dress up to display their physical assets. The ladies wear  revealing outfits which show off their beauty. Chemical, visual and vocal messages, shoot across the dance floor. Subtle and not so subtle messages inform or misinform potential mates.

The goal for the males is to get the females into bed by the end of the night. Sex is the driving force.

Courtship in tigers is no less fascinating.

At Tiger Canyons, the two tigresses Julie and Shadow, are in separate territories divided by a wire barrier. Each tigress comes into estrous within hours of the other. How is this possible?

I believe chemical messages are being passed on my jeep as it travels between territories. As the jeep enters, each tigress immediately sniffs the marking fluid of the other tigress. The "Organ of Jacobsen " in the roof of the tigress's mouth, processes the chemical message and the one tigress detects the other is coming into estrous.

Not to be outdone, she syncs her estrous cycle, so she can compete for a male when the time is right.

In the one territory is Shadow and Seatao, half brother and sister. In the other territory is Ron and Julie, full brother and sister.

Shadow will not allow Seatao to mate with her. Julie is extremely aggressive to Ron.

Although their hormonal state is ready for mating, instinctively they know that the male from the other territory is better for them.

Such is Julie's desire to get to Seatao and to displace Shadow, that she knocks a one ton gate clean off the rails.

As soon as I switch the males around, mating begins immediately.

I believe that the syncing of estrous cycles is a clever system that nature has devised to ensure genetic diversity.

The tigers territorial system is that a males territory can encompass two or three females.

If the tigress's came into estrous at different times, the dominant male would be able to cover all the females and the cubs would all be related to each other, because they have the same father.

Once the females come into estrous at the same time, the male has to commit to one female. Now an opportunity for another male presents itself to cover the second female in estrous. This is better for the species, because the cubs from the two mated females will not be related

The mating is an elaborate, aggressive affair. By the first 24 hours Julie and Seatao and Ron and Shadow had each mated over 50 times. By the end of the second day, over 100 times. The multi-copulation is believed to induce ovulation in the females.

Tigers are believed to be aggressive when mating and yet I was able several times to go an foot with the mating tigers. The energy and aggression is incredible. To be literally ten feet on the ground from mating tigers, is a fantastic experience. They are truly the great lovers of the world.

I have always believed that it is the female that sets the timing of each mating and it was certainly true with these tigers. However I observed Ron and Saetao on several occasions "chuffing" the tigresses, almost enquiring whether they were ready to mate. If they got a favorable response, they immediately approached the female and mating occurred.

There is no doubt that 100 copulations is a fatiguing exercise. I got tired just watching them.

At one point Ron took refuge on top of my jeep to try and get some rest, but Shadow pursued him and tried to get him to cover her on top of the jeep.


movie clip - fighting

It's the tigresses who also ends the mating. When Ron tried to cover Shadow on the third day and she refused, an aggressive fight broke out. At times Shadow's paw speed defied the eyes and Ron's eyes and face came within millimeters of being ripped.

Finally Ron seemed to take my advice and went off hunting and patrolling his territory, something he had not done for 72 hours.

In 100 days, we will know whether mating has been successful.

All 4 tigers involved, carry the rare white gene. This gives them a 25% chance of producing a white cub.

White tigers have great religious and symbolic importance in parts of Asia. To have a white tiger born in the wild at Tiger Canyons, would have huge significance for tiger conservation and it could open the door to one day relocating white tiger cubs into wild litters in one of the progressive tiger countries in Asia.

I will keep you informed every step of the way.

Love, light and peace
JV

 

Tread lightly on the Earth

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


Newsletters


Newsletters 155
13/11/17
The Indian Connection

Newsletters 154
28/10/17
Desertification

Newsletter 153
20/10/17
Supermarket Shopper vs. Hunter Gatherer

Newsletter 152
14/10/17
JV's response to Elayna Kinley letter

Newsletters 151
29/09/17
Running on empty

Newsletter 150
14/09/17
The Survivor

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
Hunters

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
Tiger Canyons

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