NSPCA lays charges over caged tigers in Klerksdorp
Cape Town - The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said on Thursday it had laid criminal charges against a game farmer on the outskirts of Klerksdorp in the North West province after its investigators found that it was keeping tigers in dirty enclosures and deprived of drinkable water.
"South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, the Hawks, have taken over the investigation as this has become a high priority case," the animal welfare body said.
It said its investigators visited the game farm at the end of November after receiving a tip-off.
"Tigers on the property appeared to be suffering from heat exhaustion and were living in dirty and unhygienic conditions – it was evident that their enclosures had not been cleaned in some time," said the NSPCA.
"Other issues found included tigers being confined with unpotable drinking water, inadequate shelter, and a lack of bathing facilities."
It said the confinement of the animals was a violation of the Animals Protection Act and that futhermore the owners appeared to be in violation of the terms of the permit issued to them by the North West department of economic development, environment, conservation and tourism.
The NSPCA said it had issued a warning to the owners and laid criminal charges against them, and also contacted the department for clarity on the permit conditions and to discuss a way forward with the tigers. However, it had not had a clear response so far.
Tigers are an exotic species and not fully adapted to handle the high temperatures common in the North West Province during South African summers, giving owners the onus to provide an environment conducive to the animals’ welfare, the organisation said.
“To keep tigers in these conditions is unacceptable, and in fact, this is a prime example of why we should not be keeping exotic species in South Africa, or any wild animal in captivity for that matter,” manager of the NSPCA’s Wildlife Protection Unit Douglas Wolhuter said.
African News Agency/ANA