'Gogo, there is a tiger down there'

2015-12-17 11:12


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Pietermaritzburg - The owner of a property, where an escaped tiger from the Natal Zoological Gardens and Lion Park near Pietermaritzburg was spotted, said it was sad that the animal had to be killed. 

"They are dangerous animals, but it is very sad that a tiger had to lose its life because of someone's incompetence," the woman, who did not want to be named, told News24 on Thursday. 

She said she was busy preparing food for her horses on Wednesday morning when one of her workers approached her. 

"He said, 'see gogo, there is a tiger down there'." 

She thought that he had maybe mistaken a caracal for a tiger, but she then saw the animal walking below the paddock where she keeps her stallion and mare. 

The animal then walked into the bush. 

The Boswells, who own the park and the controversial Brian Boswell Circus, were then called.

"I called and said one of your tigers might be missing. They called back after a few minutes and said they went to check, and one is missing." 

She said they arrived with a shotgun. 

"Dean [Boswell] told me that the bullets were not like normal shotgun bullets - the bullets were solid." 

The animal was then apparently shot at.

'We didn't feel threatened'

She was told the animal could not be darted because the tranquiliser took a few minutes to work and the animal would have time to run away, and would have to be found again. She was also told that the tiger was "in such a spot" that it would be difficult to dart it. 

"We didn't feel threatened. But I was worried last night that it would come back and attack the horses." 

She said the Boswells returned on Thursday morning. 

Brian Boswell told News24 earlier that the animal had escaped on Tuesday.

"We were notified yesterday [Wednesday]. It has since been killed," he said.

"We had a vet with us and we had to put it down because it wasn't safe enough to dart [tranquilise]."

He said nobody was attacked by the tiger.

Boswell did not comment on how the animal escaped.

"The police will look into that."

The Brian Boswell Circus has been heavily criticised recently, and calls were made for it to be boycotted after allegations emerged that it was mistreating its animals.

The circus says on its website: "The animals are an integral part of the circus and are treated as part of the family. Their well-being is of utmost importance... we spend far more time with our animals than the average working person is able to spend with their pets."

Read more on:    brian boswell  |  pietermaritzburg  |  animals

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