JV and THE BIG CATS


Home

Mission

Founder: John Varty

Tiger Canyons
Tiger Experiment
Invest in Tigers
Tiger Canyons tigers

Tiger Anatomy

Tourism

Volunteers
Merchandise
Research
JV Image Library
JV's Music

JV's Films

Poaching

Tiger Conservation

Tiger Subspecies

Tiger Newsletters

Tiger Photo Gallery

Contact us


 

 


Select newsletter in right column


Newsletter 34
26/05/10

Tiger Hunt

The early morning sun lifts over the rugged canyon. Steam rises from the pools on the canyon floor and the white, frost covered grass, contrasts with the golden light. The scene is magnificent.

A New York banker, a cameraman, a vet, a tracker and myself talk in whispers, our breath condensing in the cold winter air.

The tracker examines the fresh paw print of a large male tiger. He informs me that the track is fresh, it is worth following. I convey the information to the banker standing next to me. He is quivering with excitement. The banker motions to the photographer standing next to him, to prepare the cameras. A high definition Sony movie camera and a state of the art Nikon Digital still camera are quickly prepared.

I motion to the party to move behind me in single file and to talk in whispers.

We are doing what no other person can do, or is allowed to do. We are hunting a wild male tiger on foot, an extremely dangerous exercise.

The tracker is highly skilled, he has spent a lifetime tracking jackals and caracals and although the terrain is rocky, he follows the track with great skill. To watch a master tracker, is like watching a surgeon perform an operation. Like we read a book, the tracker reads the signs. He shows us where the tiger lay down next to the pool after quenching his thirst, his elbows pushing into the mud, his tail grooving the sand.

As the tiger leaves, his wet paw prints are clearly visible on the rocks. The tracker kneels to examine the drops of water that have dripped from the tigers mouth. He signals to me, they are still wet, we are close.

The tiger has moved through the tall grass, no paw prints here, just a curving trail through the frosted grass indicates the direction the tiger has taken.

Suddenly a mountain reedbuck whistles an alarm call, it has seen the tiger. We squint into the rising sun, nothing! The tracker and I follow the eye line of the reedbuck, it is staring into tall grass, interspersed with boulders.

The tiger's camouflage is perfect. It's golden coat blends with the sunlight shining on the brown grass. The tiger is motionless, it is hunting the reedbuck, unaware that we are hunting him.

The banker is huffing and puffing. Overweight and out of shape, the excitement is getting to him. I motion him to rest and remain quiet. How is he ever going to aim his gun, I wonder?

The mountain reedbuck move closer to the tiger, intensifying their alarm calls, they have him in sight.

Suddenly, with his cover blown, the tiger rises and begins to stroll down into the canyon. He is magnificent, 230kg of lean power and beauty.

The banker can't see the tiger as he is right into the rising sun. The cameraman can't film him, the sun is flooding into his lens. The banker wants to give chase, I command him to wait, the tiger slips out of sight.

I know that patience will be vital if this hunt is to be successful. Quickly I assess the situation. Can the banker physically handle the climb down into the canyon? Which way will the tiger move, where is the best cover from which to hide and shoot? I decide to take a longer but easier route down into the rugged canyon floor.

The tiger has a low centre of gravity, its weight is distributed on all fours, it glides through the rugged canyon. The humans are tall with a high centre of gravity. Their weight is distributed on two legs, they stumble, they fall.

Eventually we reach the floor of the canyon. The tracker quickly picks up the tracks in the sand and we follow as quietly as possible.

Suddenly I see him, he is marking territory on a prominent rock, he is facing away from us in the dappled light. The banker, peering through his glasses, can't see the tiger and the cameraman can't find him in the black and white viewfinder. In short, the stripes of the tiger are merging with the shadows, breaking up the outline of the tiger.

The vet hands me the loaded gun which I give to the banker. I'm carrying a 30.06 Springfield rifle for safety.

The male tiger draws back his lips as he pulls a flehmen face as he processes the scent of another tiger, the banker sees the movement and makes out the tiger.

"Wait for him to turn broadside" I command. The bankers gun is rotating wildly, he has a bad attack of "buck fever", there is no ways he will hit the target. "Rest the gun over my shoulder" I command.

The tiger turns, gazing back at us. It is unsure whether to stay or to run. "Now!", I command. The banker fires! The tiger rears up on impact, the cameraman rolls his camera and the vet glances at his watch. The tiger disappears behind some boulders. "Can we go after him"? the banker urges in a high state of excitement. "Not yet, we must wait 7 minutes", I reply.

We move in, the male tiger is stretched out on the sand, he is alive. The vet bends down and removes the dart from the sleeping tiger. The banker keeps the dart as a memento. I radio a nearby helicopter to bring the banker's wife and daughter to join in the celebrations. Champagne flies and cameras roll.

The tiger is weighed and measured and blood taken. The hunt is recounted a dozen times for the benefit of those who weren't there. The tiger is photographed from every angle.

The bankers daughter with the help of the vet, antidotes the tiger. As the tiger awakens, the banker gets into the helicopter and the cameraman films the tiger from the air as it moves away.

Before he leaves, the banker gives me $40 000. I instruct the fencing crew to fence another 2 kilometers of the new tiger sanctuary.

Let me know (email, facebook and twitter) whether you think this is an ethical way of earning income from tigers?

Tread lightly on the Earth
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