WATCH | Teams working to capture escaped Johannesburg tiger after it was found near waterhole

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  • Sheba, the tiger that escaped her enclosure in the south of Johannesburg over the weekend, was spotted at a waterhole in the Walker's Fruit Farms area close to Midvaal.
  • This after search teams sent up a thermal imaging drone.
  • On Monday evening the team said it would place a carcass with tranquillising medicines near the site in the hope of safely capturing her.

Sheba, an 8-year-old female tiger that escaped her enclosure on a plot in the south of Johannesburg, was spotted near a waterhole in the Walker's Fruit Farms area, close to Midvaal on Monday evening.

This after search teams sent up a thermal imaging drone. She escaped on Saturday evening after the fence to her enclosure was tampered with and cut.

Gresham Mandy of the local community policing forum said a tracking team saw fresh paw prints around the hole.

"They also smelt her, so she was very close," he said.

But because the bush around the waterhole was too thick, making it risky for them to enter, they opted to lay out a cut-up carcass with tranquillising medicine instead. The hope is that she'll eat the carcass and become drowsy.

"It will be easy for the team to move in and maybe dart her as well, if needed, and then capture her," Mandy explained.

He was hopeful that the operation would yield positive results.

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She was later spotted at her home when she "grabbed some meat they left outside the door and bolted". 

Once captured Sheba will be relocated to a big cat sanctuary nearby. Her male partner had already been darted and relocated to the shelter on Sunday. 

Since her escape, Sheba has attacked a 39-year-old man, a pig and two dogs. Both dogs had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries, Mandy told News24 on the sidelines of the search operation earlier on Monday.

The 39-year-old man is expected to make a full recovery. 

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Mandy said there were no leads yet as to who might have cut the fence.

"It happens in this area, especially in rural... and agricultural areas where suspects or perpetrators cut the fences to gain access to properties and use it as a quick exit when they go in to steal or house break," Mandy said.

He said the first choice would be to tranquillise the tiger so that she could be captured and relocated. Ground teams were limiting foot patrols as Sheba was deemed very dangerous and they did not want to corner her.

"If she becomes a danger and tries to attack somebody again, then she will probably have to be shot."  

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