WATCH | Fear trails mysterious escape and 'capture' of tiger cub in Joburg

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  • Details about the roaming tiger in Johannesburg remains a mystery.
  • A private security company said the tiger was located, sedated and taken to the sanctuary, but the SPCA could not confirm this.
  • Meanwhile, petrified residents want assurances that the tiger has been captured and that it's safe to let their pets and children out.

The whereabouts of a young tiger spotted roaming in the residential area of Edenvale on the East Rand in Gauteng remains a mystery.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) could not confirm if the cub had been captured, despite a private security company stating so.

CCTV footage of the wild animal seen on the premises of an industrial and automotive supplies company surfaced early on Monday morning, prompting authorities to warn residents to be vigilant.

A few hours later, Gary Wilson from S.W.A.T SOS 24/7 said the tiger was located, sedated and taken to a sanctuary for safekeeping.

William Kandaya, an employee at Layne Industry where the CCTV footage was captured, was the first person to see the tiger roaming the streets when he went outside.

"It was jumping from one house to our premises. I went back inside and told my wife, who was in the kitchen, not to go out," he told News24.

"I went back into my room, peeked through the window, and saw it jump over to the other neighbour's house," Kandaya said.

The SPCA could not confirm if the tiger had been captured as they had not been there when it was found, and nobody had come forward to claim the animal.

READ | Man mauled by escaped tiger appoints top lawyer as he considers suing cat's owners

"Our inspectors came back to the scene where the tiger was spotted and, at this stage, we cannot confirm any more information on the whereabouts of the tiger as the team has not been able to spot the tiger themselves," said Edenvale SPCA manager Marita Acar.

She added: "We have not found the tiger, and nobody has come forth [to claim] ... the tiger, which makes it difficult to say if there is an owner and where the owner is. "

In a bid to find the owner, the SPCA and Gauteng police searched the premises of a veterinarian, who was believed to be the owner, but the search yielded no results. 

The vet, Dr Shabeer Bhoola, told News24: "I'm not the owner of the tiger. I am a vet and sometimes bring [tiger cubs] to the house to play with the kids, but the one in the video was not at my house…. I've had about two in the past six months come play with the kids, and they would come with my client."

The uncertainty of where the tiger might be has left many Edenvale residents on high alert as they fear for the safety of their pets and children. 

Candice Humphreys, who lives in the neighbourhood, said she kept her dogs indoors because she was unsure if it was safe to let them out.

"My dogs are clawing down the door, and we don't know if we can let them out yet. Everyone keeps saying [the tiger] has been caught, and then we are told that's rubbish, it has not been caught."

She expressed sympathy towards the tiger, but added: "We need to know if the tiger has been caught, we live nearby, and we want to let our animals out, and we want to know that we are safe."

The SPCA cautioned residents to be vigilant.

Just more than a week ago, an 8-year-old tiger, Sheba, escaped from its enclosure on a smallholding in the south of Johannesburg.

Sheba was eventually found and euthanised for the safety of the community of Walkers Fruit Farms.

Before being euthanised, Sheba attacked 39-year-old William Mokoena, landing him in hospital.

The tiger also attacked a pig and two dogs. Both dogs had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries.

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