Panjo owner faces probe over permit

THE owners of Panjo, the tiger that went missing on Monday night and was found two days later, could face two years in jail or a R3000 fine for transporting a wild animal in Mpumalanga without a permit.

The Mpumalanga Parks Board said yesterday that Panjo's owner, Goosey Fernandes, could face criminal charges for transporting an exotic animal without a permit.

The tiger lives on Fernandes' Jugomaro Game Farm near Groblersdal in Limpopo, but was on its way to Gauteng via Mpumalanga to a vet.

The spokesperson of the board's wildlife unit, Louw Steyn, said officials were trying to establish from their counterparts in Limpopo whether Fernandes had a permit to keep the tiger.

"He might have broken the laws of three provinces here. He keeps the tiger in Groblersdal, which is in Limpopo, but it escaped in Mpumalanga while being transported to Gauteng," Steyn said yesterday.

Fernandes denied that he had transported Panjo in Mpumalanga without the necessary permits.

"I am a businessman who owns a game farm worth R10million, and I do things according to the law. The Mpumalanga Parks Board is welcome to come to my farm and talk to me about the permit. I am not prepared to talk about this matter, only the wellbeing of my cat."

Fernandes said he would like to thank South Africans for their help and compassion in the search for Panjo.

"Everyone was amazing in the search for my cat. I was not charged a cent for the whole search. This is what you guys should be asking me, not about whether I have a permit for my cat," Fernandes said.

The 17-month-old Bengal tiger caused panic in Mpumalanga when it was reported that he had escaped from the back of a bakkie somewhere between Groblersdal and Delmas.

Panjo was finally found on Wednesday evening on Swartkoppies farm in Verena by a tracking dog called Zingela.

Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.