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Newsletter 80

"In The Jaws of the Tiger"

I dedicate this book to Julie Brown, Julieanne Reid and Phumlani Mchunu who risked their lives to save mine in  the attack by Tiger Corbett.

"I turned my back to close the gate
A careless moment a twist of fate
He shoved his paw and the dew claw gripped
I spun like a top and then I slipped
Into the Jaws of the Tiger"

From the Song
"In the Jaws of the Tiger" 

John Varty's long awaited book "In the Jaws of the Tiger" has finally gone to print.
The book tracks the period from when JV acquired the cubs, Tiger Ron and Tigress Julie, from Bowmanville Zoo in 2000, to the near fatal attack by Tiger Corbett in March 2012. 

JV describes the joy of watching the zoo born tigers Ron and Julie catch their first blesbuck and later becoming super hunters in their own right. 

"It was like watching my boys score their first goal in a soccer match" 

The tension in Julie's den is unbearable as JV introduces the 6 day old lion cub Savannah into the litter. 

"For the first hour I thought Julie was going to kill her" 

Every morning at first light, JV went to Julie's den. 

"This morning Julie was preparing to move the cubs to a new den site. As she carried the first cub out of the den, the second cub became caught in a thorn bush and gave a distress call. Gently she lowered the first cub into my lap while she freed the second cub. Such trust, Such love!" 

JV created a den for tigress Shadow to give birth to her first litter. Surveillance cameras were positioned to capture the birth. 

"As Corbett's feet touched the ground, he waddled out of the den and into 38 degrees heat. By crawling next to him I chuffed him and he answered me back. I had had my first conversation with Corbett, just 15 minutes old, a precious moment indeed."

"In the Jaws of the Tiger" tells the ongoing saga of Shadow intent on biting the tyres of the vehicles. 

"I saw Tigress Shadow charging for the second wheel. I fired trying to spray the sand into her face. The bullet ricochet upwards. I saw the tigress jump, blood spurting from her back leg." 

When Tigress Shadow sat on her one cub, JV crawled into the den to see, if like leopards, she would eat the cub. 

"Tigress Shadow was grooming the dead cub. She stopped and stared at me. I now know she was growling at me but it was too low for my ears. Suddenly she charged knocking me down. I grabbed her around the neck like a boxer going into a clinch. All the time I chuffed and lowered my voice to calm her. Her pupils were dilated, her nostrils flared. Gradually she relaxed and then returned to her den as fast as she had come" 

The book describes the disappointment of Julie abandoning her second litter of cubs. 

"The den was not well chosen. A steep bank sloped down to a stream. One cub rolled down the bank and into the water. Julie made no effort to fetch it. 

She neither groomed or suckled the cubs and within an hour she left, never to return!

A large electrical storm was moving in. I did what any caring emotional person would do, I picked the cubs up. Two were normal colour and one was white" 

"I was there when you were born
Thunder rolled and electric storm
Your mother has gone off into the night
I see the glow of a flickering light
I called you Shine, Shine a light" 

From the Song
"Shine a Light"

Julie's third litter was 5 cubs of which one, Runti, was much smaller and weaker then the others. 

"I went out early and found Julie sitting outside the cave. While Ricky kept watch, I went down and sat 10 feet from Julie. Julie immediately got up and came and flopped down on top of me. No sooner was she lying down when all the cubs came out to suckle. Now from underneath Julie, I took the bean bag, put it on top of her and put the camera on the bean bag.

Literally inches from the lens, I filmed the cubs suckling and by reversing the screen on the EX1 Sony camera, I could do the commentary from underneath the tigress.

Millions of people from 180 countries would later see the sequence in the television series "Tiger Man of Africa" 

The book graphically describes the ferocious attack by Tiger Seatao on Tiger Ron even after  Ron had been killed. 

"Tiger Seatao circled Ron's body cautiously and then he charged sinking his 5 inch canines deep into Ron's throat. It was a brutal and ferocious attack, one of the hardest things I have ever filmed in my life" 

Tiger Canyons is supposed to be an arid area, but in January of 2011, 300 millimeters of rain fell in the space of 8 hours.  

"Ricky totally unaware that 400 meters of the perimeter fence was gone and that Corbett had swam out of Tiger Canyons and into the farm land, was wading through knee deep water. Suddenly from a reeded island, Corbett charged Ricky. Ricky tried shouting, cursing and swearing at Corbett, but to no avail.

Corbett began to circle menacingly. At one point Corbett tried to trip Ricky and knock him down. Now Ricky changed his tactics, he began to chuff Corbett. Talking slowly and calmly and lowering the tone of his voice, Ricky got Corbett to relax. 

Corbett circled Ricky twice more and then strolled back onto the island"   

The book will bring you to tears when you read the tragic ending of the magnificent Tigress Shine. 

"In the heavy reeds, I found Tiger Corbett standing over the body of Tigress Shine. He had already begun to feed off her.

Later in the morning I discovered where someone had cut the perimeter fence. By piecing the evidence together, I deduced the following: In the early hours of Sunday morning the 15th of  August 2010, hunters in the canned tiger business, fired a dart into Tigress Shine, hoping to capture her for a canned tiger hunt.

Their dosage and combination of drugs was incorrect and she ran from the fence into heavy reeds.

Tiger Corbett heard her thrashing around as she recovered from the drug and he killed her" 

"What price does beauty have
What price does beauty pay
Shattered and torn
Stolen and gone
You turned out the light
The princess has flown
The princess is gone tonight"

From the Song
"What Price does Beauty Pay" 

At 18 months old, Corbett attempts to catch a blesbuck. The male blesbuck sticks a horn through his nostril ripping it off his face.  

"Dr Charlotte Moueix performed an incredible 3 hour operation to stitch Tiger Corbett's nose back. Today Tiger Corbett is easily identified by a scar running across the bridge of his nose" 

In March 2012 the tiger project nearly ends when Tiger Corbett attacks JV as he is closing a gate.  

"I felt the dew claw catch me on the hip and I spun back with sickening force towards the gate. Two ribs and a piece of my spine broke on impact. One rib punctures the lung. Tiger Corbett grabs me by the neck. His canines go through the thick collar on the camouflage jacket I am wearing and into my neck. Now he proceeds to pull me into the boma.

One of the film crew, Julie Brown makes the first run, grabbing me by one leg. Julieanne Reid tries to grab my revolver but is unsuccessful. She takes hold of the second leg. Phumlani Mchunu grabs a wooden stick from the jeep and hits Tiger Corbett three times over the head. On the 3rd strike, Corbett rears back and I hear the words, run JV run! In a crouched run, I struggle for the jeep and dive in head first. Time stands still at Tiger Canyons"

"Bravery is an indefinable thing
Some will run and some will go in
Some will fight
The will to survive
And some will die
In the jaws of the tiger"

From the song
"In the Jaws of the Tiger"

"In the Jaws of the Tiger" is a soft cover A4 size landscape format.
Its has 96 colour photo pages in high gloss.
It is self published and all funds will go towards tiger conservation.
The book will only be available at Londolozi Game Reserve and Tiger Canyons.

The price is R450 in South Africa and $50 outside South Africa.
100 limited signed leather-bound editions are being made available at R1500 or $150.
Price includes postage and VAT.

1) We are able to process PayPal payment. We need your PayPal email account

2) You may make an electronic transfer to:
Seven Falls Trading (Pty) Ltd
First National Bank - Trompsburg
A/C 62094732693
Branch Code: 230932
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ
IBAN: 230932 62094732693
First National Bank, 32 Church Street, Trompsburg, 9913, South Africa

Order Form - email to jv@jvbigcats.co.za





Ordinary books (R450; $50)




Leather-bound books (R1500; $150)








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Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved

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