Included in the photographs are Gillian van
Houten, Tigress Julie, Sunette Fourie, Tigress Shine, Cassandra Slabbert, Tigress Zaria, Lorna Drew, Tiger Sunderan, Jenna Drew,
Tiger Seatao, GG. Gonneau, Tiger Ron, Caitlin Robinson, Tiger
Mahindra, Carmen Goddard, Tigress Indira, Jade de Klerk and others.
A kind lady to JV: JV, I would like to bequeath
some money for the tigers in my will.
JV answers: Thank you, when will you die?
Jokes aside, I would like to thank you all most
sincerely for supporting me through floods and snow storms this last
Your support has kept me going through one of
Tiger Canyons' toughest years.
More and more people are wanting to make
donations to the tigers. Some people are keen to sponsor a specific
tiger, others are bequeathing money in their wills. I am humbled by
It has become obvious that the time has come to
create a vehicle which sees that your donations go straight into
the tigers and nowhere else.
I will take professional advice and revert back
to you in the new year with a simple plan which can involve you
directly with tiger conservation.
Letter to the Head Ranger Chris Goodman
Londolozi Game Reserve
Would you pass this on to all the rangers at
Tigress Julie had produced two litters of cubs
with the male tiger, Seatao. Four cubs survived from the last litter
and are now at dispersal age. Julie has come back into estrus for
the first time in 22 months and is mating again.
In the area is the dominant male Seatao, a
magnificent 500 pound male tiger and a shy, smaller, 4
year old male called Swamp Male (Sariska)
As his name implies, Swamp Male lives in a swampy
area where he has learnt to defend himself by hiding in tall reeds or
actually laying low in the water.
Now, as Julie comes back into estrus, he does an
interesting thing. He leaves the swamp and goes into the hills where
he can easily conceal himself in the rocks.
When Julie comes into estrus, she gives no sign. No calling, no rolling, no scent marking,
nothing! She simply
disappears for two days.
During her last estrus, I decided to follow her
and although she tried to throw me off the trail, I discovered her
mating with the Swamp Male in thick bush in the rocky hills.
Julie's problem is that if she falls pregnant and
has not mated with Seatao, he will immediately kill her cubs. She
counters this by returning to Seatao towards the ends of the estrus
and mate with him. In short, she deceives Seatao into believing he is
the only male mating with her and thus gains his protection.
Julie's behavior is identical to Manana (3:4) and Mashabene
female leopards when new male leopards were invading their
territories and killing offspring.
Two questions arise from this behavior. Naturally
Julie would like a different father and therefore cubs from another
male, even though Swamp Male is an inferior specimen to Seatao, who
has already fathered her cubs.
The second question is, would it be possible for
produce a litter of cubs, some of which are fathered by Swamp Male
and some are fathered by Seatao?
This brings me to the point. I think we have a
very valuable opportunity at Londolozi with Mashabane females' two
I strongly recommend that if you can find the
budget, we should dart both the male cubs, take blood from them and
genetically map them. At the same time I will genetically map
Julie's cubs to see if they are from different fathers.
From this information, we can deduct whether they
are in fact from the same father or not.
If they are not from the same father, it would
prove that a female leopard or a tigress instinctively seeks to
diversify the genes in her cubs which is in the end good for the population.
Please let me know if you can arrange this so I
can come and help you with the experiment. We should film the
respective experiments from start to finish, it will make
At the same time, I will genetically map Julie's
cubs to see if they are indeed from different fathers.
"Why do Tigers reverse into the water?"
Thank you for your excellent responses to my
Karen Paolillo: Is it not like warthogs into their holes. They
are leaving their powerful jaws and front legs free to attack if
anything was to go a miss?
Kerry: Perhaps it’s so that they can see a possible threat
that might be coming from the land, so they’re protecting
Tread lightly on the earth