S.African big cat specialist in hospital after tiger attack
A South African conservationist and filmmaker was in intensive care on Thursday after being attacked by a tiger at a reserve where he breeds the big Asian cats.
John Varty suffered several puncture wounds and two broken ribs after being attacked while filming on his Tiger Canyons farm in the central Free State, which he set up to create a free roaming tiger population outside Asia.
“We are pleased to announce that John Varty is out of theatre at Bloemfontein Medi Clinic and is recovering from the incident which took place at Tiger Canyons yesterday,” said a statement on the sanctuary’s website.
“The report from the doctor is positive, however, we anticipate that John will remain in ICU for three more days as part of the pain management medication.”
Tigers are not native to South Africa, which is home to lions, leopards and cheetahs, but Varty set up the experimental reserve near the small town of Philippolis with the aim of eventually returning cats to Asia to boost their dwindling numbers.
He founded the luxury Londolozi Game Reserve in the private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which shares an unfenced border with the country’s world-famous Kruger National Park.
He has made several documentaries and co-wrote, produced and starred as himself in the 1992 film “Running Wild” starring Brooke Shields and Martin Sheen.