On 30th January 2023, officials sedated and captured a tiger that was found walking through Edenvale, a residential area in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is believed that it was kept privately as an “exotic pet”, and somehow escaped from captivity.
This was the second incident of a tiger escaping captivity in South Africa in recent weeks. Sheba, another tiger who had escaped and was found in Walkerville, to the south of Johannesburg, was shot dead. Animal protection groups are now asking the government to ban private ownership of wild animals kept as companion animals.
The National Council of SPCSs (NSPCA) is considering taking legal action against the custodian of Sheba, the escaped tigress that was killed. In a statement, it said “This is not the first case of a wild animal escaping captivity, nor is it the first time that the animal is made to pay the price for irresponsibility and lack of compassion. Animals in captivity are subjected to extreme cruelty. Over and above the fact that freedom — the most basic right a sentient being has — is stolen from these animals, they may also be confined to cages, filthy living conditions, the inability to express their natural behaviour, and they are often cruelly trained to perform degrading tricks for the entertainment of people who lack compassion. These animals are also found to be remorselessly bred and sold for profit to just about anyone who can afford to buy them, even if these owners have absolutely no compassion or knowledge of how to properly care for them.” It seems that just a few weeks later there has been another similar case, although this one did not lead to the tiger being shot. However, his re-capture means it will have to spend a life in captivity, which is not a good thing either.