A tiger is on the loose after escaping an exotic farm near Johannesburg in South Africa, attacking a man and several other animals, police and a community leader said Monday.
The eight-year-old female Bengal tiger escaped its enclosure at the private farm on Saturday after an unknown person cut the fence, according to Gresham Mandy, a member of a local policing forum.
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The big cat went on to attack a man, two dogs, and a deer kept at the same farm in the Walkerville area, 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the economic hub of Johannesburg in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province.
The 39-year-old man survived the attack, however one dog and the deer were killed, and the second dog was so badly injured it had to be put down, said Mandy.
“The search is still on,” for the tiger, police spokesman Dimakatso Sello, told AFP.
About 40 people from the police, nature conservation organisations and local community groups are involved in the hunt for the tiger.
“We are using drones, (a) helicopter …but it’s proving a little difficult with the density of the bush,” Mandy told AFP.
The striped and endangered big cats are not native to South Africa, but in recent years tiger breeding has become common in the country.
South Africa has no official count of its tiger population.
A report by global animal rights charity, Four Paws, showed that 359 tigers — almost a tenth of the world’s tiger population — were exported from South Africa from 2011-2020, most of them sold to zoos.
“It’s extremely dangerous and irresponsible to keep these animals in a residential area, and to keep wildlife in captivity,” said Keshvi Nair, spokeswoman of the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA)