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


Savannah

 


Select newsletter in right column


Newsletter 2
06/02/07

Cub Relocation

As the human populations in Asia continue to rise, so the islands in which the last remaining tigers try to survive, come under more and more pressure.

A young male tiger, at the age of dispersal, searches for a territory in which to establish himself. Sooner or later he encounters domestic stock at the edge or even in the park.

Slow moving goats, cattle or sheep are much easier prey than the fleetfooted indigenous prey.

Herdsmen retaliate with guns, traps or poison. When it comes to conflict between humans and tigers, tigers will always be the loser.

Under this scenario a young male may choose not to disperse. If he mates with his sisters or his mother, an  inbred population develops.

At Tiger Canyons, a unique experiment has been going on for some time.

The experiment involves the introduction of tiger cubs born in captivity into a litter of tiger cubs born from a wild tigress.

Unknowingly, the wild tigress is raising the introduced cub, so the genetic diversity of the tigers in the besieged park is strengthened.

On the 27th of November 2006, Julie gave birth to three male cubs at Tiger Canyons. I immediately set about searching for a tiger cub of a similar age but was unable to find anything. I did however find a lion cub of similar age at Ingrid Swart's Boskoppies Game Reserve.

If I could introduce a lion cub into a tiger litter I would surely be able to introduce tiger cubs.

I agonized over the decision. If Julie could tell the difference she may kill the cub immediately. If I introduced a fourth cub there would be added complementation for milk which could endanger all the cubs.

Would she know the difference between 3 and 4 cubs? My experience with leopard is that they can't count.

The scent of the lion cub would undoubtedly be different. How important would this be? Would it cost the lion cub her life!

I was not that worried about colour. Lion and tiger cubs are similar in colour except that tiger cubs have stripes whereas the lion cub has spots on the top of the head. Tigers have been known to raise white and normal cubs in the same litter.

I decided finally to remove one tiger cub and substitute the lion cub. This would keep the number of cubs the same - at three.

The introduction went smoothly. The lion cub, a female, was actually slightly larger than the tiger cubs. This was good because it meant she could compete for milk with the tigers.

I hoped that I could go straight from the lioness to Julie with the cub. I didn't want to bottle-feed the lion cub as this would create more foreign scent for the lion cub.

Although temperature reached 42C and we had a five- hour journey, the lion cub traveled beautifully without any bottle feeding.

The moment of truth had arrived. I introduced the lion cub into the litter while Julie was away feeding, and I removed one tiger cub. I rubbed the lion and tiger cubs together and used any urine, dung that I could find in the den to rub onto the lion cub.

My relationship with Julie is such that I can sit in the den with cubs with no fear of aggression from Julie. This is a rare and unique privilege.

With me I had a Canon digital still camera and Sony DV high definition movie camera.

After half an hour Julie returned to the den. Her reaction was dramatic.

She singled out the lion cub immediately and began to hiss aggressively at the lion cub with open jaws.

At this point I was of the opinion I had made a terrible mistake and the lion cub would soon be dead.

I considered trying to remove the lion cub but thought Julie may redirect her aggression onto me. I waited and recorded the drama on film.

Although Julie's jaws were wide open, the lion cub did not back down. In fact the lion cub pushed her face up against the snarling tiger.

I greatly admired the lion cub's courage. Then Julie cuffed it with her paw. My heart sank. How do I get this courageous lion cub out of danger?

 

At this point the lion cub moved away from the den. Julie went after it. This is the moment she kills the cub, I thought.

Gently Julie guided the lion cub to the den. Then she lay down and began licking the lion cub.

The lion cub began to search for the teat as Julie encouraged her to suckle, but the cub was unable to find it.

By now it was almost dark in then den, I felt drained but elated at what had transpired. I had watched events unfold from just 6 feet away from Julie and her cubs and she had not shown any hint of aggression towards me.

At first light the next morning I was back in the den. All three cubs were suckling and I filmed Julie licking and grooming the cub like her own. She had fully accepted the lion cub.

During the next 3 days I spent several hours in Julie's den observing her and the cubs.

One morning she decided to leave the den and transfer the cubs to a new den site. As she left the den with one tiger cub in her mouth, the remaining tiger cub got caught in a thorn bush and began to give a distress call.

Calmly she deposited the cub in her mouth into my lap as if to say "hold this while I fetch the second cub"

It was a incredible act of faith and trust. Certainly one of the most magical moments I have ever experienced with a big cat.

One of the things I believe Asian conservationists can do, is to set up captive breeding programmes alongside their parks.

From these breeding programmes, they can do cub translocations into wild litters.

They will have to immobilize the tiger mother during the operation but it is entirely possible to strengthen diversity and numbers of cubs in wild litters.

Love, Light and Peace
JV

 

Tread lightly on the Earth

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


Newsletters


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