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Newsletter 133

I Have Lost a Friend

“Seatao you are the biggest tiger of all
I want to stand in the Canyon
Be there when you roar
To hear your global message
Across the world and back
Tigers are free
They are fighting back.”

From the song Tiger Freedom 

Hello Friends 

On the 22nd of June 2016, the male tiger Seatao was found dead in the bush at Tiger Canyons. There were no visible injuries on Seatao and no signs of a fight. It appears that Seatao died of natural causes, he was 10 years old. 

Seatao came to me as a 3 weeks old cub. The breeder who bred Seatao, never told me that he was a carrier of the rare white gene. (Seatao’s father was a white tiger and his mother was a normal tigress.)

Seatao came with a female cub called Shadow (DNA profiling later proved Seatao and Shadow were not related.) 

I named him by merging my two boys names Sean and Tao = Seatao. As I walked with Seatao and swam in dams, two things became apparent, Seatao had a very nice nature and secondly he was going to be big, very big! 

One day I took Shadow and Seatao down to the Wilderness to show to the pupils at Hoekwil school. (Sean and Tao went to Hoekwil.) On the way down I was stopped in a roadblock to inspect my vehicle. (The license had expired.)  While the traffic inspector was inspecting my truck, Seatao began to give a distress call in the back. The traffic officer asked me what was crying in the truck and I replied “A tiger”.  

Not believing me, the traffic officer opened the back of the truck and out jumped Seatao. This sent the traffic officers scattering in all directions. Having assured them that he was only  a cub, all the traffic officers posed for pictures with Seatao (The traffic officers used their speed camera to take the pictures.) 

After the photo shoot and having given each officer a DVD copy of “Living with Tigers”, I went on my way (The traffic officers forgot to fine me for having an expired motor vehicle license.) 

When I arrived in the Wilderness, I put Seatao and Shadow in a box in the bedroom where I was staying. Seatao cried so hard that I took him in to my bed. Here he regained his confidence immediately, took a short cat nap and then he and Shadow proceeded to destroy the bedroom. 

Unlike Ron and Julie who I had hunted with for 4 years, Seatao and Shadow had their own boma stocked with game. Seatao became a very good hunter, although he mostly pirated the kills from Shadow. 

One day Shadow killed two blesbuck. The first one Seatao pirated, the second Shadow hid in a pool of water. Seatao followed the drag and then using his feet, located the kill in the water. Seatao dragged the blesbuck to where he had left the first kill. Here he proceeded to eat both blesbuck and never shared with Shadow. 

On one occasion, I witnessed Seatao and Shadow co-operating in a hunt. The two tigers surrounded a Cape Clawless Otter in a pool. The otter was too quick for the tigers to catch. Seatao walked out of the pool and positioned himself on the top of the bank above the pool. Shadow maneuvered the otter to a position beneath Seatao. With a dramatic leap, Seatao dropped onto the unsuspecting otter, killing it with a bite to the neck.

Ron my original tiger who came from Bowmansville Zoo in Canada, was in one large area and Seatao was in another area. 

Dividing the 2 male tigers, was an electric fence with an automatic gate which worked on remote control. One day the gate opened on the remote and then closed and then reopened. Ron moved through the open gate and into Seatao’s area. I knew I must prepare for the “Rumble in the Jungle”. 

I have filmed male lions fighting. It is nothing compared to male tigers. Although only 3 years old and up against a more experienced fighter, Seatao eventually had Ron down and was throttling him. Determined not to let Seatao kill Ron, I fired shots into the ground next to the fighting tigers. Fortunately they separated and I was able to get Ron back to his area. (Ron had not been in a vehicle for four years, yet I was able to load him and take him back).

Five years later Ron was killed in a territorial fight. Seatao found the body and attacked it for 20 minutes. Seatao picked up Ron clean off the ground and shook him like a rag doll. (I estimated Ron’s weight at 200 kg.)

I remember vividly when attempting to weigh Seatao, it took 12 strong men to get him onto the scale. Seatao tipped the scale at 229 kg.

Seatao readily jumped onto the bonnet of the Mahindra vehicles. One could physically feel the vehicle sag under Seatao’s weight. 

Many guests at Tiger Canyons were sprayed with marking fluid as Seatao marked his territory. One lady from the USA admitted to me that the highlight of her trip was being sprayed on by Seatao.

Seatao was the most productive of all breeding tigers at Tiger Canyons. He fathered Julie's second litter. (This litter consisting of Sundarban, Shine and Zaria was abandoned at birth.) Seatao fathered Julie's third litter which consisted of Indira, Ussuri, Tibo, Mahindra and Runti (Runti died 12 weeks after birth.) 

Shadows second litter consisting of Oria and Ardene, were also fathered by Seatao. Seatao bred the first white tiger, Shine, and the second, Vivienne Tiger Bomb Player(Tibo).

Seatao’s death was a shock to me. He was 10 years old, his teeth were in good condition. I suspect, although the vets tell me otherwise, that every time a tiger is darted, it lessens their life. Seatao was darted twice in his life, once when I weighed him and once when I vasectomized him.  

Seatao’s death opens up opportunities for the young male Khumba, who will be moved into Seatao’s territory (Khumba is not related to any tiger at Tiger Canyons and is therefore extremely valuable.)

James Corbett, the "Tiger Maneater Hunter" described a male tiger as a wholehearted gentleman and indeed this is what Seatao was. 

His size was awesome, his nature was gentle. I estimated that a half a million images decorate the walls of houses in over 50 countries. I myself shot several hard drives of Seatao.

Picture: Yvette van Bommel

Seatao's death is as painful as Shingalana and Tigress Julie. I will mourn him deeply, he enriched my life greatly.

R.I.P. Seatao. 

Tread Lightly On The Earth


Three tigers have had transponders fitted. The operation is extremely invasive. If anyone has another method other than a collar to fit a transponder, will they please contact me.

Thank you to Doctors Gavin and Charmaine Rous and to Lesley Rous for extremely professional veterinary work. 

Thank you to Emma Wypkema, Margaret Pang, Jos and Yvette van Bommel, Andrea and Michael Brand, Rama and Shankar Kulkarni, Isis Builders, Scot and Pat Kaufman, Vivien and Michael Jones who each sponsored a transponder.

Opening the Olympic Games With an Animal Sacrifice
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson 

The Olympics have certainly degenerated over the last few decades. The incredible waste of money and resources has been obscene. The last such Olympic spectacle in 2012 celebrated industry with top hat wearing cigar smoking British businessmen strutting about the stadium in London, and that was extremely bizarre to say the least. 

And now we have these silly games in Rio where tourists are being robbed on the street in daylight, where mosquitos are buzzing around carrying the Zika virus and machines are spewing pesticides onto the street while people are having lunch and coughing amidst toxic fumes in the outdoor cafes.  

All the Russians and the Kenyans have been banned because some Russians and Kenyans have been allegedly doping. The alternative would be to test them in Brazil prior to competing instead of banning the greatest runners and track athletes in the world. Winning a gold medal in the marathon without competing against the Kenyans would seem to me to be a shallow victory with the winner never ever to be sure that he or she was the indeed the fastest or just the winner by virtue of exclusion of the Kenyans and the Russians. 

These expensive games are being held in the midst of poverty in a nation that is murdering indigenous people, destroying the rainforests and building mega dams and huge mining operations that are poisoning the rivers and wiping out vast areas of flora and fauna.  

Just last week a group of indigenous Guarani Kiowa were viciously attacked, killing one and wounding five others by a group of loggers supported by the military, There were no arrests and no arrests are expected. 

This is a nation that over the last year saw more than fifty environmental activists murdered for protecting rainforests, many of whom were indigenous peoples making Brazil the most dangerous nation on the planet for environmentalists. 

So it was most appropriate that they launch the games by killing an iconic symbol of the rainforest - a jaguar. 

The killing of the jaguar symbolizes the Brazilian government's complete and utter contempt for nature, wildlife, and the rights of indigenous peoples. It symbolizes humanity's forced superiority over other species as it hosts an extravagant display of commercialization of sports in a orgy of political competitiveness for national bragging rights. 

And it will be even worst in 2020 when they hold this international charade of a "united" humanity in Tokyo where the very groundwater will be radioactive, in a nation that illegally butchers dolphins and slaughters whales in contempt of the International Court of Justice.  

The Japanese will most assuredly be peddling their whale burgers and dolphin steaks at Olympic concession stands to illustrate the obscenity they call their "food culture." And of course the "fans" will be eager to consume the forbidden food just for the thrill of thumbing their nose at conservationists just like they do now when they dine on whale steaks in Greenland, Iceland and Norway.  

The killing of this jaguar was a disgraceful representation of what the Olympics is all about - excessive materialism and patriotic chauvinism and complete contempt for nature.  

Many years ago I advocated that Olympics be held in one place every four years and that place would be where it all started - In Greece. As such there would be the need for just one venue without spending billions on facilities in impoverished nations. But of course that can't happen because the Olympic Committee rakes in vast sums of money from those hosting the games and the games go to those with the best ability to "bribe" the committee. It's not about sports, it's about money, influence and politics.  

Perhaps Brazil believes that hosting the games will absolve them of the crimes of destroying Amazonia, of murdering indigenous peoples and environmentalists while hosting a garish circus amidst extreme poverty. 

This Olympic travesty of 2016 will be most remembered as the farce that murdered a jaguar and as such I could not care less who wins one of those silly gold, silver or bronze medals. All that I will remember is a noble animal lying in a pool of its own blood with a Brazilian soldier standing over her with a smoking rifle. 

Jaguar Shot Dead After Olympic Torch Event in Brazil


A soldier in Brazil shot and killed a jaguar who was used in an Olympic torch event this week, prompting an outpouring of anger from animal lovers and a public apology from the local Games organizing committee. 

The jaguar, a 17-year-old female named Juma, was kept at a zoo that is part of a military base in Manaus, the largest city in the Brazilian Amazon. 

She apparently escaped an enclosure on Monday but was not at risk of fleeing the zoo. The military said in a statement that Juma had been tranquilized but was shot after she moved toward a soldier, and that the action was taken to protect a team that was trying to recapture her. 

The jaguar, a mascot for an infantry battalion, had appeared earlier that day at an event for the Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro, and she was photographed in chains alongside soldiers and a torch runner holding a flame. The Olympic team mascot for Brazil is a cartoon jaguar named Ginga, and an image of the animal also appears on the emblem of the Manaus military base, where the event took place. 

The Games organizing committee said in a statement that it had been an error “to allow the Olympic torch, symbol of peace and unity among peoples, to be displayed next to a chained wild animal.” The committee said that it was “saddened by the outcome” and would not allow similar situations during the Summer Games, to be held Aug. 5 to 21. 

As news of Juma’s death spread, the Facebook page for the Games was inundated with criticism. The animal rights group PETA called the death “needless.” 

“Wild animals held captive and forced to do things that are frightening, sometimes painful, and always unnatural are ticking time bombs — captivity puts animal and human lives at risk,” PETA said in a written statement. 

Less than two months before the Olympics begin, Brazil faces worries about whether infrastructure will be ready, how to keep the Zika virus in check and the continuing fallout from political turmoil that has included the suspension of its president pending an impeachment trial.

Deep ecology:

JV is running a big cat Safari for 6 people in 2017. The safari is 5 days at Tiger Canyons and 5 days at Londolozi. A yoga coach and an animal communicator will accompany the safari. Vegetarian menu will be served. If anyone is interested, the can contact Sunette Fourie at info@jvbigcats.co.za

New Song:

JV Images is proud to produce their new song "Where will the Polar Bears go" on YouTube. A warning that it is not for the sensitive viewers...

Tread Lightly on the Earth

Tread lightly on the Earth

Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


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