Four Paws concerned about private ownership of tigers in SA

Published Feb 3, 2023


Cape Town - Four Paws South Africa says it is concerned about the increase in ownership and commercialisation of big cats in the country.

This comes after two recent incidents of tigers being reported on the loose within a space of a month in Gauteng.

In an interview with the SABC, Four Paws spokesperson Elize Parker is calling on the government to ban the private keeping of big cats and its commercialisation.

“We are saddened by the killing of Sheba but also the escape of the 9-month-old animal. This is an issue that should never have the opportunity to pose a risk to animals or to humans.

“Big cats in private keeping is a serious problem with the risk to the wildlife and public safety.”

Parker added that big cats are large, sentient predators that require huge amounts of space, specific nutritional needs, specialised enrichment and veterinary care.

“They can of course pose a significant danger to the public if they escape.”

She said that the separate stories of two tigers escaping in Gauteng suburbs indicate the ease with which big cats are accessible to the public.

“We are calling for an end to the commercial trade of all big cat species from South Africa.”

Parker maintained that this would contribute to addressing the larger issue of South Africa’s captive big cat business, in which lions, non-native tigers, and other big cats are kept and exploited in captivity for various commercial uses across the country.