Rumble in the jungle at Limpopo predator park

2015-07-09 10:56
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 - A Limpopo predator park whose most famous resident is Panjo the tiger on Wednesday resisted attempts by a lawyer to remove its 21 big cats.

They had apparently been sold during a liquidation settlement, but owner Justin Fernandes disputed this.

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

“We blocked them at every entrance and exit. They left the cats and went home,” he said on Thursday.

One of the cats was apparently shot, but Fernandes said he had been unable to see it.

“When one cat got darted, he panicked, jumped the fence and bit one of the security guards. They said they took five warning shots and the cat dropped. They refused to call us. I am waiting now for the vet to come and see.”

No food, water for entire day

He said a “youngster called Nel, an attorney from Pretoria”, arrived with about 20 men on Wednesday 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 six-year-old Panjo, as the truck was too small.

They spent the night in the truck and were still in it by Thursday morning. Fernandes said he was waiting for a vet to come and assess them. They had not been given food or water since Wednesday morning.

"It's all a bogus thing," Fernandes said of the claim that the cats were part of a liquidation settlement.

"We were under liquidation last year. But only the property was under liquidation, no other assets.

“Apparently when the liquidation was started they said the cats were part of it, but we said they have nothing to do with it.

“The liquidation was settled in cash. Now this guy comes here six months later and comes loading them, darting them. It’s a complete bullshit story that he sold us.”

He said the lawyer, who he named as an SD Nel, claimed one of his clients had bought the cats during the liquidation.

Panjo’s run

Nel could not be reached for comment.

According to the park’s website, Goosey Fernandes, a motor mechanic by trade, bought the game farm in 2008 and turned it into a wildlife refuge. He rescued Panjo and raised him by hand.

In July 2010, Panjo jumped off the bakkie in which he was being taken to a vet. He disappeared for two days and three nights before he was found in a wattle plantation in Verena, 70km from the reserve.

The website says the park is home to white and Bengal tigers, white lions, caracals, wolves, and a serval.

Police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said police were there “just to observe and assist the sheriff”. She said no cases were opened and no arrests made.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  animals

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