Skip to Content

Meet the Man Who Survived a Tiger Attack, Helicopter Crash, and Malaria 14 Times – John Varty

John Varty
Image by John Varty via YouTube video "Bulletproof"

John Varty, also lovingly known as JV, has an incredible connection to animals and wildlife. In fact, he has gone on so many expeditions and adventures that I hardly know where to start this article! Nonetheless, here is an attempt to tell you a little more about who John Varty is. 

Track Record

John Varty
John Varty (JV) and Shine at Tiger Canyons, South Africa. Image by Tigeralert, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Besides having co-founded the ecotourism reserve Londolozi, making over 70 wildlife documentaries across Africa, starting the Tiger Canyon Sanctuary, tracking the Wildebeest Migration in the Massai Mara for 17 consecutive years, founding the Tigress Julie Foundation and raising the abandoned lion cub, Shingalna, JV also survives. 


John Varty
Screenshot from YouTube video by John Varty.

John Varty has had malaria 14 times in his lifetime – a feat of survival in itself. But, in 1995 he also survived a near-fatal helicopter crash in Zambia which left him with three crushed vertebrae. In 2012 he escaped the mauling claws of 4-year-old Corbett, an aggressive tiger from the day he was born, with four broken ribs and an eleven-week hospital visit. JV has also walked triumphantly away from melanoma cancer and a triple bypass heart surgery.  One can’t help but wonder if John Varty survived all of these fatal illnesses, attacks, and crashes, because of his immense wildlife stewardship. 

JV’s Connection to Wildlife

John Varty
John Varty with Jullie at Tiger Canyons in South Africa. Image by Tigeralert, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Apart from all the actions he takes to document wildlife, conservation, and educate the world on the importance of wildlife, JV has also had many such life-changing experiences with animals. Such as the deep bond he shared with lioness Shingalana that stays with him until this day. When asked how he would survive his melanoma, he jokingly said that the energy and vibrations from a big cat’s purr would give him strength. There is beauty in this way of thinking – animals feel our emotions, and if we connect with them, we feel theirs. 

Slowing Down

John Varty
A young JV. Screenshot from YouTube video by John Varty.

JV believes that nature cares for the sick and the old. And that one day, an elephant would stomp his head or a tiger would maul him, before he retreats into an old age home. As he is never planning on finding himself far from nature. However, when in 2017 his doctors told him he had to slow down or he would end up in a wheelchair, he surprised everyone by taking their advice. He stepped away from the tiger sanctuary he ran for 17 years and started a band. But turns out, he did not slow down, as he says “I’ve started living faster than ever before”. 

JV and the Tigers

YouTube video
In the video, you can see John Varty’s musical tribute to his beloved Shingalana.

John Varty and the Tiger Band, are a protest band. Through their music, written by JV, they protest animal poaching and cruelty, and many other environmental issues to bring awareness to the world. 

The Last on JV, For Now!

Chris, Jan and John Varty
A photo from our founder’s visit with JV. Jan (left) and Chris (right) with John Varty (middle).

John Varty lives a life filled with adventure with no indication of slowing down until he is forced to. A true steward and activist for animals, from lions and tigers to elephants. All while documenting incredible wildlife interactions to share with the world. Making us very proud to be associated with John Varty here at Animals Around the Globe. Gaining insight into his animal and wildlife encounters, hearing more about his interesting life, and of course, seeing some of the amazing things he has! We look forward to many more visits and conversations with the thriving JV and hope to take you as readers on our journey.

If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy reading these:

Join our Forum for free today!

Animal Forum
Click Here
Grizzly Bear Spotted Feet From Alaskan Campsite Top 10 States With The Most Cougar Top 10 States With The Most Moose Top 10 States With The Most Coyote Top 10 States With The Most Elk