Siberian tiger that killed a Gqeberha predator park employee relocated to Free State

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
A Siberian male tiger named Judah was killed.
A Siberian male tiger named Judah was killed.
Seaview Predator Park, Facebook
  • A tiger breached the electric fencing of his enclosure and attacked David Solomon while he was repairing the fence with colleagues.
  • The Seaview Predator Park said the tiger then jumped into another enclosure and killed another Siberian male tiger. 
  • The male tiger and his sister were tranquillised and transported and released at LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary. 

The eight-year-old Siberian tiger that killed a Seaview Predator Park employee and another tiger on Youth Day in Gqeberha, has been moved to a new home in the Free State.  

Renowned international NGO, The Aspinall Foundation, announced this in a statement on Wednesday.

The foundation said the tiger named Jasper and his sister Jade, were translocated in an emergency rescue operation from the Gqeberha park to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in the Free State. 

The rescue mission was implemented as a collaboration between the foundation and FOUR PAWS. 

The operation was led by Veterinary Specialist Dr Peter Caldwell, who tranquillised both tigers and did final health checks. 

READ | Siberian tiger kills Seaview Predator Park employee, tiger in front of horrified staff

The team then loaded the tigers into LIONSROCK's customised tiger crates and onto two vehicles.  

The cats travelled approximately 1 000km and were released at LIONSROCK on Wednesday morning.  

The tigers were both doing well and adapting to their new home, the foundation said in a statement. 

Dereck Milburn, The Aspinall Foundation's regional director, who coordinated the operation, said:

This was a critical and complex operation to complete within a restricted time, to remove any further risk to staff or animals. We are very thankful that the tigers are healthy and that they get a second chance at life in a new ethical home. In many captive facilities, animals are seen merely as an object; may Jasper and Jade show that these are sentient beings we are dealing with, who should be treated as such.

Jasper breached the fence of his enclosure on 16 June and proceeded to kill David Siphiwo Solomon, who was working on fences close to Jasper's enclosure.

Jasper then breached the fences of a neighbouring enclosure where he killed another male tiger Judah, to get to a female tiger Amber who was in oestrus.  

The electric fences of Jasper's enclosure were not working as the park was busy with repairs, providing an opportunity for the tiger to escape.

The Aspinall Foundation and FOUR PAWS said they extended its sincere condolences to Solomon's family and friends. 

Solomon is survived by his wife Margaret and daughter Bulelwa.  

After the tragedy, the park management team placed Jasper in a small holding facility the same afternoon.

"The park then contacted The Aspinall Foundation to assist in securing a  new home for Jasper as the park was unable to ensure his safety. FOUR PAWS, which manages LIONSROCK, confirmed that they were able to accommodate the tiger immediately and the operation was launched," the foundation announced in a statement. 

LIONSROCK is a sanctuary where breeding, hunting, trade of any sort and animal interactions are prohibited. 

It is known for providing a lifelong home for big cats from all over the world who had been rescued from exploitative and precarious situations.

"The team decided that Jade, the eight-year-old female tiger (Jasper's sister), should also be surrendered as they had been together their entire lives, which the owners of the park agreed to," the foundation said.  

ALSO READ | How a lion, which escaped from game reserve, was captured in Pretoria

Dr. Annie Mears, a local vet who was appointed by the collaboration, treated Jasper on Sunday, 20 June, for severe dehydration because of his confinement and the trauma sustained by him during the incident, the foundation added.  

He was further treated for minor injuries and underwent a full health check, to ensure that he was fit to travel, while the rest of the team made the necessary preparations for the move.   

Fiona Miles, FOUR PAWS director in South Africa said, sadly the situation elsewhere for tigers on South African soil was not as hopeful.

"As tigers are not a native species to South Africa, and whilst they may be afforded protection under the Animals Protection Act, and globally the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, their exploitation in private keeping, intensive breeding for commercial purposes and the tourism industry is not protected by legislation in South Africa."  

She added: 

While the country has recently made the landmark decision that it will no longer allow the breeding of lions in captivity for commercial purposes, tigers have been omitted from this protection. We believe there are around 1 500 tigers being kept in cruel conditions across the country that will continue to suffer if this is not addressed.

"The animals are bred for tourist attractions, petting and bottle feeding, while they are young cubs. Then as juveniles they are used in walk-with or photo prop opportunities before they are killed, and their parts and derivates used in illegal international trade."

"We, therefore, urge the South African government to include tigers in the captive breeding ban, as these animals will simply become the focus area, and subsequently more of these incidents will take place," Miles concluded. 

The management of Seaview Predator Park confirmed the relocation of the two big cats to News24 on Thursday. 

They declined to comment further. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
The 2021 Matric exams have been brought forward to avoid clashing with elections. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
A disaster - kids are stressed enough
44% - 496 votes
Not the best idea, but necessary
15% - 167 votes
No big deal, it's just a few days
41% - 453 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.