Optics Jedi Knight
Lord Of The Flies
Location: South Africa
Go get ‘em, er, tiger?
Here’s a story a bit out of our patch, but a good read nonetheless: An exhausted Goosey Fernandes was hoping that the latest claimed sighting of his tiger Panjo would be “the one”, while at the same time people were starting to demand money from him claiming their cattle had been eaten, writes Jenni O’Grady.
Panjo the tiger jumped out of his owner’s bakkie between Groblersdal and Delmas on the way to the vet in Springs earlier this week, sparking off a massive search operation.
Puffing as he walked through bush near Verena, Mpumalanga on Wednesday, he said two youngsters reported seeing him there, and after rushing to the site, found two tracks that looked promising.
“Now we have to get into the air with a chopper,” he told Sapa by phone, of the lengthy search for the animal, believed to have jumped out of the back of his bakkie near Delmas, while on his way to a vet.
“It looks like we’ve got two tracks, but then they disappeared into the bush.”
Fernandes said he had started receiving calls from people demanding money as compensation for their animals, they said were eaten by the feline, which was used to getting food from his owner.
“One guy said, ‘your cat just killed three of my cows. I have got him and I want R10,000′,” said Fernandes. “I told him, ‘I will give you R20,000, just keep him there’, but then I can’t get hold of him again.
“I’ve been walking into the koppies shouting for my cat,” said Fernandes, adding that he is being followed by a group of “TV people”, police and people with wildlife knowledge.
Dries Pienaar, an official at the Mpumalanga Parks Board, said reports of attacks on cattle were usually good clues at tracking down a predator, but so far they had received no such reports.
Contrary to Fernandes’ insistence that he has “all the paperwork” for Panjo to be in the province, Pienaar said they could not find such a record.
This meant that if Panjo was captured in Mpumalanga, he may be confiscated and kept during a court case.
But said Fernandes: “There is nothing to that. I have permits for my tiger, [with the] Mpumalanga Parks Board.
“I have got four tigers, never mind one,” said Fernandes, saying he used them for gene testing. He was also planning on getting a white tiger.
Panjo, he said, came from a breeder in Zeerust.
“They will never take that cat away from me,” he said.