Johannesburg - Environmental officials are on the hunt after a tiger cub was found dead in the driveway of a Benoni home.
Chantal Kingsmill was leaving home on Kerry Road at about 10pm on Saturday when she came across the cub. “It was just lying in the driveway,” she said.
Nearby, the town of Petit comprises plots and agricultural holdings.
The female tiger cub was estimated to be no more than 10 weeks old – “about the size of a Jack Russell,” Kingsmill said.
She was already dead. Kingsmill called the SPCA for help.
According to a statement issued by the national branch of the animal protection group, the cub died of “blunt force trauma”.
“Her vertebrae were snapped by some kind of blow,” explained spokeswoman Isabel Wentzel. “But this was not a vehicle or a dog bite. She was kicked or hit with something.”
Wentzel said it was possible the cub had dragged herself until she died.
But she added that the cub was in a generally poor condition, severely dehydrated and showing signs of “the development of underlying infectious conditions”.
The NSPCA is now working with the Green Scorpions to track down the offenders. But Wentzel said there hadn’t been much progress in the search yet.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust said there were no regulations under the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act regarding the keeping of exotic wild animals, and each province had its own set of rules.
“In Gauteng you need permits to transport them, either within the province or across its borders, but not to keep them,” Wentzel said.
The provinces of North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo don’t require permits to own or keep an exotic animal.
But the team are hoping that tracking the transport permits will lead them to the cub’s origins. “That’s if the owners even had permits,” Wentzel added.
The NSPCA said: “It’s not possible to fulfil the needs of a wild animal in captivity, as welfare goes beyond the basics of health and nutrition. It includes the animal’s ability to express natural behaviour and socialise with its own species.”
*The NSPCA are appealing to the public for help. If you have any information, contact them via [email protected] or fax 011-907-4013.