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Newsletter 39
20/10/10

"Descreprimate"


Corbett before accident

A young male tiger Corbett, just 20 months old is hunting a herd of blesbuck at Tiger Canyons. The blesbuck have to pass through the long grass to get to the water and the young male conceals himself in the grass, his stripes merging perfectly with the dappled shadows thrown by the tall elephant grass.

   
Corbett after encounter with blesbuck and during the operation

The young male tiger is inexperienced, he has captured springbuck, mountain reedbuck, antbears and hares - all small and relatively harmless prey.

Tigers are stalker pouncers, concealing themselves in an ambush position and then with a short rush, they catch and over-power their prey.

Much of the hunting technique is instinctive, but the finer points have to be learned.


Tigress Julie kills an impala ram by inserting canines through vertebrae at back of neck

Tigress Julie kills an impala ram by the classic suffocation grip in which the interlocking canines block off the air supply

A blesbuck weighs around 80 kilograms, the horns are 36cm long are S-shaped and very sharp. Aggressive by nature, a blesbuck will not hesitate to attack if captured or cornered.

The young male tiger waits in the grass. At 20 months old he has probably seen his mother throttle large antelope, but it is doubtful whether he has ever done it successfully himself.

A male blesbuck passes close by him on its way to the water. He lets it pass and then charges from behind. The soft pads move him silently at great speed across the ground, but an alarm call from another blesbuck, warns the male blesbuck who spins to face the charging tiger.

The rapier like claws of the tiger seek to grip the blesbuck's neck as he aims for the throat. The tiger turns on his back trying to pull the blesbuck neck down, so the long canines can penetrate the throat.

Something goes wrong and the claws don't bind to the neck of the blesbuck. The male blesbuck stabs downwards, the horn ripping through the tiger's nostril traveling through the bridge of the nose. The point of the blesbuck horn cuts the lower eyelid, stopping millimeters from the tigers right eye. The blesbuck turns and flees, the hunt is over.

The male tiger retires to the shade to contemplate his next move. He can't lick the wound so he licks his paw and pulls it across the wound in an attempt to self medicate himself. The tigers saliva has antiseptic properties. As he pulls the paw across the wound, he folds back the skin to reveal a 2 cm deep gaping wound and one nostril almost detached from his face. He is endanger of losing his entire nose and is vulnerable to infection.

I call Dr. Charlotte Moueix, a wildlife vet, who in the last months has, at Tiger Canyons, vasectomised two male tigers, put a tigress on birth control and immobilized and micro chipped no less the six other tigers.


Zoletil and medetomidine knocks tiger down within 5 minutes

Corbett is quickly immobilized and I watch in awe as Charlotte, in a 100 minute operation, reconstructs Corbett's nose, stitching the nostril back onto the face. Once again, the tiger is breathing through both nostrils. It is a work of art, a brilliant veterinary achievement, perhaps the first of its kind performed on a tiger.

 

   

After anti-doting the tiger, it rises from the operation, a thin scar neatly stitched has replaced the gaping wound. Corbett has been restored to a handsome male tiger.

 


Recent picture of Corbett

During the month that Charlotte has been doing her creative work at Tiger Canyons, the news has been breaking around the world about a rhino poaching syndicate that have accounted for 498 rhino killed between 2000 and 2010 in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Implicated in the slaughter of the rhino are several South African Vets.

How is it that two people who spent many years and large amounts of money studying to become a veterinarian could take such diverging paths? The one putting huge amounts of time and effort into saving animals, the other killing them for greed and profit.

I have invented a new word its called "descreprimate" which stands for "destructive, creative primate" i.e. Homo sapiens.

Over the last twenty years the advancement of dart guns, immobilizing drugs, capture techniques, helicopters and training have all been hailed as giant steps forward for conservation. Yet it is these very same tools that the poachers used as they systematically destroyed 498 rhinos. For this operation to have been successful, the poachers would have needed helicopter pilots, veterinary skills and business acumen to dispose of the horn.

Even if the vets didn't actually kill the rhinos, where did the poachers get the expensive immobilizing drugs? Only qualified vets are allowed to handle these dangerous drugs. Therefore there must be unscrupulous vets providing immobilizing drugs to poachers. Because of the risk involved, the prices will be inflated, so these vets will be making super normal profits no doubt. The questions remains, why did some vets take the destructive road? The answer is greed and money.

The value of 498 rhino horns traded in South Africa is R245 million. The value of 498 rhino horns traded in the East is just over R1 billion. The money that can be made by the unscrupulous destructive vets is much higher than those that can be made by the conventional creative, hardworking, wildlife vet working diligently everyday.

There is no doubt that the rhino poachers will go to unscrupulous lawyers to try to find loopholes in the law to get them off. As I have discovered at great personal cost, there are plenty of "descreprimates" in the legal system as indeed there are in every system.

On the creative side, a magnificent 400 hectare area is fenced and will shortly be electrified at Tiger Canyons. Some 3 kilometers of the canyon winds through the area. It is one of the most beautiful and rugged places on earth. 

I must warn all photographers, new challenges will await you at Tiger Canyons. You will need all your long lenses to achieve some magnificent pictures against spectacular backdrops. Several hides have been constructed strategically over tiger swimming areas.

Two more Sponsors Editions of Nine Lives have been given to Sunette Fourie,   Dr Charlotte Moueix and Dr Willie Marx for their fantastic contributions to Tiger Conservation. My sincere thanks to them for outstanding commitment and dedication.

 
Tread Lightly on the Earth
JV
 

Tread lightly on the Earth

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


Newsletters


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An Open Letter to the President: Operation Wild Lion

Newsletter 116
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Newsletter 106
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Ambassador Cats

Newsletter 105
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Invitation
09/01/15
Gaining ground for tigers

Newsletter 103
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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
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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
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Bush School: Where are they now?

Newsletter 94
12/05/14
Open letter to Jani Allen: Oscar Pistorius

Newsletter 93
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John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

Newsletter 92
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Marion's Big Cat Safari

Newsletter 91
24/02/14
Full energy flow

Newsletter 90
10/02/14
Investing in wild tigers

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Where are the Champions?

Newsletter 88
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16/01/14
Capture the Moment

Newsletter 86
07/12/13
The Princess Diana of Tigers - Julie:
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Newsletter 85
26/11/13
The Communicators

Newsletter 84
26/11/13
A Letter to All Conservationists in SA 
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Newsletter 12
09/04/08

Elephant Trust