Darted big cats back in enclosure, unharmed

2015-07-09 20:40
One of the tigers at the predator park. (Justin Fernandes, Facebook)

One of the tigers at the predator park. (Justin Fernandes, Facebook)

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WATCH: 'Please don't let them take our cats' - bereft cry of liquidated predator park owner

2015-07-09 10:07

In a desperate attempt to stop his tigers from being removed from his property as part of a liquidation settlement, predator park owner Justin Fernandes released his emotional plea.WATCH

Johannesburg - The big cats, which a lawyer tried to remove from a Limpopo predator park on Thursday, were back in their enclosures - unharmed, but traumatised.

"They all in their enclosures. They only beginning to wake up now so they getting there and everything is coming right," owner Justin Fernandes told News24 on Thursday evening.

"It's now going to take me two, three months to get inside the enclosures because these cats do not trust humans anymore because of the way they got treated.

"I've lost business… and now I have to spend an extra two to three months with these cats until they come right, until I can get them to where they were."

He said an attorney by the name of SD Nel arrived with about 20 men on Thursday morning and began darting his cats and loading them into a closed truck.

There were 21 big cats on the farm, but they were only able to load 12, including their most famous resident, 6-year-old tiger Panjo, as the truck was too small.

Fernandes, his family and friends prevented the truck, which were loaded with the felines, from leaving the Jugomaro Predator Park, near Groblersdal in Limpopo.

The cats were being removed because they had apparently been sold during a liquidation settlement, which Fernandes disputed.

Liquidators approached the High Court in Pretoria on Thursday and brought an urgent application for police to assist them in removing the cats.

Elias Tshole, the park's lawyer, told News24 the matter was struck off the roll after the judge found that the matter was not urgent.

Fernandes said they would be meeting with the last creditor at the master of the high court on July 14.

"The only key people who had to be paid were ABSA because of the liquidation of the land and nothing else. There were no assets, there were no movable assets that were involved and there were no predators involved. The cats should never have been removed."

He said he was going to sue Nel for damage which had been done to the park and the trauma the animals were put through.

Nel could not be reached for comment.

Fernandes said it would also take a few months before the cats trusted him again.

He said it had been a long day for everyone at the park, but at least the cats were back in their enclosures and healthy.

"They haven't been hurt in any way."

Read more on:    polokwane  |  conservation  |  animals

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