SPCA to probe Lion Park after ‘incidents’

2015-12-22 09:56
The tiger that was killed yesterday after it escaped from the Lion Park on Wednesday afternoon, sits on the property of a neighbouring farmer.

The tiger that was killed yesterday after it escaped from the Lion Park on Wednesday afternoon, sits on the property of a neighbouring farmer. ( Keith Brown)

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Pietermaritzburg - The Lion Park is to be investigated by the National Council of SPCAs.

Last week, a male tiger escaped from his enclosure at the park and was found roaming near a neighbouring farmer’s horse paddock before it was tracked down by a professional hunter and shot dead.

The owner of the Lion Park, Brian Boswell, said at the time of the incident that there had been no other option than to shoot the tiger as it had posed significant danger to the surrounding community.

He said darting the tiger would have been too risky as the bush surrounding it was too thick and the Lion Park vet did not have a clear view of the animal.

Following the incident, the National Council of SPCAs’ wildlife protection manager, Isabel Wentzel, said they had been gathering information on the Lion Park since complaints about the way animals were kept first started coming in years ago.

“There is always something going on at the Lion Park, and right now we are working through the Pietermaritzburg SPCA to gather information on the Park and the recent incident,” said Wentzel.

“It is not just this incident that we are investigating, there are a number of things that just keep building up.

“We want Ezemvelo, who are working with Boswell, to get Boswell to improve the living conditions of the animals.

“Although the conditions are legal, they are barely legal, and just manage to meet the requirements and it is very frustrating,” she said.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife spokesperson Musa Mntambo said yesterday they welcomed the SPCA’s investigation into Boswell’s property.

“Ezemvelo also notes that the SPCA carries a different mandate from that of Ezemvelo and is within its rights to ­conduct its own investigation,” said Mntambo.

“Ezemvelo has been working hard to ensure that Boswell complies with minimum conditions of keeping their animals. It’s been a long process but we have made considerable progress in this regard and Boswell has been co-operating with our officials.”

He said investigations surrounding the tiger’s escape last week would continue. Boswell said he would not comment yesterday.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  tiger  |  spca

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