A pet tiger named Sheba escaped from her enclosure on a private farm in Walkerville, south of Johannesburg, and wreaked havoc on the community, killing two dogs and a pig before being euthanised according to the Evening Standard.
The eight-year-old tiger had been kept as a pet and was not a part of any conservation or breeding programme. Efforts to capture the big cat proved unsuccessful, and officials decided to euthanise her for the community’s safety. Gresham Mandy, a representative of the local community police group, explained that the terrain and area made it impossible to contain or secure Sheba safely.
Despite using drones and a helicopter to locate her, darting the tiger was not an option, and officials ultimately gave the go-ahead to shoot her on Tuesday. The Walkerville community, which had been living in fear since the tiger’s escape, was relieved that the threat had been contained.
William Mokoena, a resident, shared his harrowing experience of being attacked by Sheba while walking home from a shop on Saturday night.As he recounted his harrowing experience, he vividly described how the ferocious tiger leapt at him with lightning speed as he crouched down to tie his shoelace.
In an instant, the powerful beast seized him in its powerful jaws, attempting to drag him away with a terrifying force that left him struggling to break free. Mokoena managed to fend off the tiger using his legs.
The incident has raised concerns about South Africa’s laws around keeping exotic animals as pets. Animal welfare organisations, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), have called for stricter regulations on the ownership of exotic animals. However, no licence was required to own such animals in the Gauteng province where Sheba was kept.
Several high-profile cases of exotic animal escapes and attacks have occurred in South Africa in recent years. In 2019, a lion escaped from a game reserve and injured a man in Limpopo province. The same year, a man was killed by his pet lion in the Free State province. These incidents highlight the dangers of keeping exotic animals as pets and the need for tighter regulations to protect humans and animals.