After it was revealed that a South African couple are keeping tigers as “pets” in Boksburg behind a nursery school, new reports suggest that footage of these pets have surfaced on a TikTok account.
According to TimesLIVE, the teachers at the Boksburg crèche spotted the two large white tigers sitting on a jungle gym, watching the children from over the wall, for the first time during outside playtime last week.
Needless to say, outside playtime was stopped after that…
The SPCA reportedly told The Citizen that a tiger was being kept as a pet in a home in Impala Park with a nursery school just behind the house.
But, in a shocking turn of events that reminds one of Netflix’s Tiger King reality series, the lives of actually TWO tigers have been somewhat documented on one of the family members’ public TikTok account.
Cape Town etc reports that footage shows the tigers being taken for walks on leashes, sitting on couches in a lounge and swimming in what seems to be makeshift pools.
The SPCA said it was involved with the welfare of the tiger even though it required assistance from the City of Ekurhuleni with regard to enforcing by-laws.
“No exotic or wild animal should be kept by humans as a ‘pet’. This can only end badly, and this poor animal will be the one to suffer because of ignorant humans.”
Meanwhile, the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) said that their hands were tied after conducting an inspection and issuing a warning.
They said that it is not up to them to issue permits pertaining to the ownership of wild animals. This is handled by Nature Conservation (a division of the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development).
The NSPCA added that keeping tigers in residential areas is not a good mix as it puts the animals at high risk of becoming unnaturally stressed, as well as posing a safety risk to humans.
Animal welfare organisation Four Paws have also been alerted about the tigers.
“The images are appalling, but we are not shocked by them,” said Four Paws director Fiona Miles. “Tigers have very little protection under SA law, despite being considered an endangered species. This is particularly true in Gauteng, where such cases of private keeping are prevalent.”
It is believed that there are around 1 500 tigers kept in captivity in South Africa, though there are fewer than 4 000 left in the wild.
The couple, Matthew and Anneline Kruger — through their lawyers — told News24 that “no laws have been broken and the family has complied with all regulations in Gauteng to keep the animals on their premises”.