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Newsletter 96
26/06/14

Corbett's Journey


Corbett (right), sister Panna (left), brother Sariska (middle)

On the  8th of January 2009 Shadow gave birth to 4 cubs.

I capture two of the births on film, as seen in the film Tiger Man of Africa, 

The first cub born, waddles out of the den into 38 degrees Celsius heat. He gives a distress call, but Shadow is too exhausted to respond. I carry the male cub back to Shadow, she thanks me profusely with staccato chuffing. 


Shadow and Corbett

The cub immediately crawls out of the den again. This time I crawl next to him chuffing him and encouraging him to come back into the den. Although still blind, he chuffs me back and follows me into the den and begins to suckle. At just 15 minutes old, I have had my first conversation with a tiger cub. It is one of the most magical moments of my life. The cub would later be called Corbett.

Two weeks after birth, Shadow sits on one cub squashing it. Corbett survives. While trying to film Shadow eating the dead cub, Shadow charges from the den knocking me down. This is told in the book ' In the Jaws of the Tiger'. 

Three weeks after birth, I crawl into the den while Shadow is away hunting. The idea is to weigh the cubs and compare the weight with Julies cubs which she has abandoned & I am hand raising. Two cubs freeze, invisible in the undergrowth, while Corbett attacks the camera hissing and spitting.  

At ten months after birth, Corbett stalks a fencing crew. The scout spots him stalking in the grass & although Corbett charges, all men make it to the safety of the vehicle. 

Twelve months after birth, Corbett is speared by a Blesbuck through his nostril, ripping his nose from his face. A 3 hour operation follows as Dr Charlotte Mouiex stitches his nose back on. 

  
Corbett before and after operation

At twenty months after birth Corbett kills the white Tigress, Shine, as she is recovering from the drug which hunters have shot into her in an attempted theft. Corbett sets a trap for me at Shines body & attempts to catch me outside the jeep while filming Shine's body. In frustration Corbett rips up the beanbag I have left behind. Such is the ferocity with which he shakes the bean bag, that the beans fly into my jeep 10 metres away. 

At twenty-seven months after birth, the fence surrounding Corbett's area is washed away in heavy floods. Corbett swims out into the surrounding farmland.  

We bring him back to Tiger Canyons, where he finds himself in an area with the big male Seatao. In a brutal fight with Seatao, Corbett is nearly killed, so I put him in a boma for his own protection. This is the first time I have taken a wild born, wild raised tiger and put him in captivity. It is totally against my principles and contrary to the philosophy of Tiger Canyons. 


Corbett has the aggressive gene

Fourty two months after birth, Corbett attacks me when I mistakenly think he is on an outcrop of rocks 120 metres away. This story of the attack is told in the book 'In the Jaws of the Tiger'. 

While in hospital, I consider euthanizing Corbett and doing a scientific investigation into whether there is any truth to the Chinese belief that the body parts of Tigers have powerful medicinal properties. There is global outrage at the idea of euthanizing Corbett. I abandon the project. 

Corbett spends 24 long months in captivity. Animal communicators from around the world visit him to hear his story. Varying versions are conveyed to me. 

At seventy months after birth, Corbett will leave captivity for the last time. He has 1000 Hectares of magnificent wilderness in which to become the dominant male. The tigress Zaria will accompany him. Corbett's long walk to freedom will be over. 

This is a defining moment in Tiger Canyons' history because it means all 20 tigers are wild and self sustaining.

Twenty eight km of fully electrified fence was completed as a cost of R3 million. This took a full year to complete. Fifty people from the town Philippolis obtained a job and more than R500 000 was paid in wages.

I would like to thank Rodney and Lorna Drew who created the magnificent area for Corbett, and Kevin & Basil Drew for constructing the fence.

I would like to thank Jos and Yvette Van Bommel and  James la Vea, who helped finance the fence. 

Some special safaris are being planned for Corbett's freedom day, I will keep you informed. 

Tread lightly on the Earth
JV

Satellite Transponders

I am seeking a partnership with a likeminded cell phone company or other company to place a transponder in Tiger Corbett. 

The partnership goes something like this: 

  • Corbett is going into a large but accessible area

  • A guest visiting Tiger Canyons would like to view & photograph Corbett.

  • Using his or her cell phone the guest dials a code which is linked to the transponder placed on Corbett.

  • Onto the cell phone comes the GPS co-ordinates (global positioning system) of Corbett's location

  • The guest now with a GPS instrument and cell phone in hand goes in search of Corbett.

  • Once Corbett is located, the guest photographs Corbett... now the guest emails the photo and GPS co-ordinates of Corbett to friends, family  and Corbett supporters across the world.

A pipedream? No

A Possibility? Absolutely.

As I write this - it is being done with wolves in North America. 

  • For the cell phone company the exposure is massive. The potential to make a television commercial is huge.

  • For the scientist tracking Corbett, it saves hours and hours because now he can find him quickly.

  • For the guest visiting Tiger Canyons, its not only fun, but he or she becomes part of the giant experiment.

  • For Corbett, he carries under the skin, a small cylinder weighing 400 grams which must be replaced every 2 years.

Cheetah success

I recently went out early and found Mara on a freshly killed male Springbok. As she fed off the kill, herds of springbok and blesbuck grazed nearby. I could have been in the Serengetti or the Masai Mara except there was only one vehicle and one photographer to record the scene. 

We are still feeding the 2 males Runde and Sabi the odd warthog. However, I am confident that both these male cheetah will become fully wild, self-sustaining cheetah like the females. 

Leopard Project

In 2015, we intend adding the third big cat onto the landscape, the African Leopard. 

The leopard was extremely plentiful in this area in previous times. Farmers told me that they hunted the leopard with dogs and traps but it was only poison that enabled them to cause the local extinction of the leopard. 

Times have changed. Sixty-five thousand hectares is now under wildlife and sheep and goats are gone. Now is the time of the Leopard once again.

Conservation Music:
Music under the Moon

View the following songs on YouTube

1) Shine a Light: http://youtu.be/ArYt83fHuvQ
Tribute to the white Tigress, Shine

2) Don't cross: http://youtu.be/sowdItBxRV0
Crocs take out a herd of gazelles that try to cross the Mara River in Kenya

3) Camera Man: http://youtu.be/3XRjrSOVBnQ
Tribute to world's best camera man

4) Mandela: http://youtu.be/Mk53LhHIcus
Watch a conversation between JV and Mandela during a defining moment in South Africa's history

5) Hungry Eyes: http://youtu.be/GXTkJRpNIiU
Hungry eyes explores the decline of the tiger, the lion, the leopard and the cheetah


Tread lightly on the Earth

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


Newsletters


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14/02/17
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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