Sulaiman Effendi appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court over the cub. Screengrab
Cape Town – The search is on for a second lion cub following the surprise finding of one last week in Athlone.

Three suspects have been released on bail for being in possession of the animal last week, which is said to have an estimated value of R50 000.

One of the accused, Sulaiman Effendi, son of convicted husband killer Najwa Petersen, appeared alongside his co-accused, Shurud Jacobs, and Moegamat Simons in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk yesterday said the accused appeared on charges of possession of a protected animal. The men were each granted bail of R5 000, unopposed by the State, and the hearing was postponed to November 27 for further investigation, said Van Wyk.

“The Stock and Endangered Species Unit’s investigation is ongoing.”

The lion cub was transported from Tabazimbi in Limpopo and found in Athlone on August 21 by the police following a tip-off.

Effendi’s girlfriend, social media influencer Qaanita Orrie, posted a statement on her Instagram account after “something broke out on social media relating to my boyfriend”.

“I need to make it clear that I neither support nor condone the illegal possession or smuggling of wild animals.

‘‘I am honestly devastated at what has happened and hurt to have been made a part of it all.

“I am and forever will be a passionate animal lover,” wrote Orrie.

“Right now I am mustering the energy to deal with this issue, especially as it hits so close to home, something I had no line of sight of #broken,” she said.

Cape Nature spokesperson Loren Pavitt said the organisation was working with the police.

“Together with the police, we are investigating multiple criminal cases regarding the suspected illegal import, transport, trade and possession of lion cubs in the greater Cape Town area.

“Investigations are ongoing and we cannot comment about any details regarding the cases at this time.

“Any lions found during the course of the investigations will be dealt with according to our provincial protocol, which is based on international best practice,” Pavitt said.

Anyone with information can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or sms Crime Line on 32211.

Cape Times