(BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa) — A South African conservationist and filmmaker known for daring photography of wild animals is in intensive care after he was attacked by a tiger on his private game reserve.
John Varty, 61, is on a ventilator recovering from surgery for his injuries, including several puncture wounds and two broken ribs. A spokesperson at his Tiger Canyons reserve described it as a “bad attack,” but was hopeful he would be able to make a full recovery.
Varty’s brother confirmed he was with a film crew at the time of the attack Wednesday but could not say what led to the mauling.
“We don’t have the facts as yet. We have just been focused on his recovery,” Dave Varty said.
A spokeswoman at the hospital in Bloemfontein where he is being treated told local media he has injuries all over his body, except his face.
Varty was the “Tiger Man of Africa” in a 2011 National Geographic documentary about his life. He has produced more than 30 wildlife documentaries, but is most famous for starring alongside Martin Sheen and Brooke Shields in the 1990′s film Running Wild, which he co-wrote and produced. His autobiography is entitled Nine Lives.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Junko Ogura, Madison Park, Yoko Wakatsuki and Ray Sanchez, CNN Newswire
Andreas Preuss and Joe Sutton, CNN