High of the tiger

PANJO the missing tiger was found unharmed in Bronkhorstspruit, east of Pretoria, last night.

The "tame" big cat was found in a pine forest on the Swartkoppies farm in Verena.

The 18-month-old tiger, weighing 140kg, fell from a bakkie while being transported from Groblersdal in Limpopo to Springs in Ekurhuleni on Monday night. He was being taken to a veterinarian.

Residents in surrounding areas have been gripped by fear since and officials warned they should stay indoors until the animal was found.

Owners Rosa and Goosey Fernandes could not be reached for comment last night.

Their son Justin Fernandes confirmed that Panjo had been found.

He said: "He is in the back of the bakkie now. We are taking him home. He is well."

Panjo may have landed himself a place in the spotlight but his owners could land in trouble.

Brenda Santon, manager of the wildlife unit at National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said: "The organisation will conduct an investigation into the family's illegal activities. There is a possibility that the animal will be taken away from them."

An Mpumalanga Wildlife Unit official said the Fernandes' actions showed that they did not have a permit to own or transport the tiger. He warned there was a possibility the cat would be confiscated while they could face serious charges.

"If they had a permit, they would have known that to transport such a big animal, you should have a cage," he said.

Goosey earlier told Sowetan: "The permit to transport Panjo is none of your business."

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