Cape Nature has been come under fire for ending the life of young Simba the lion cub. Simba the lion cub was an intergral part of an active smuggling investigation.
Simba was rescued in August in an operation led by the Hawks’ stock theft unit. The Hawks tracked the lion cub down to find him at a residence in Athlone which is linked to one of Najwa Petersen’s sons.
The key aspect of the stock theft unit’s investigation is finding out how Simba made it to Cape Town. Simba was a lion cub from Thabazimbi in Limpopo who was bred in captivity.
On the same day Simba was rescued the police issued a statement noting that the lion cub “was taken to a place of safety.” In this case the conservation organisation Cape Nature.
In normal circumstances, Cape Nature is guided by certain policies in its handling of endangered species. With the rarest of options being to put down the animal. Especially if the animal is part of an active investigation and was rescued in good health.
Simon Bloch, an investigative journalist from Durban went looking for answers after being intrigued by Simba’s story and having not heard anything from Cape Nature about the cub’s condition.
Bloch was informed that Simba had been put down for no apparent reason.
He also discovered that there may have been a breach in conduct by Cape Nature in the way that Simba was handled and consequently a police investigation has been launched against the organisation.
He stated that SAPS confirmed a case was opened at Wellington SAPS. The case docket is still under investigation.
Cape Nature permit head Deon Hignett has been reluctant to speak to the media saying the details of Simba’s passing are part of an active investigation.
Cape Nature’s spokesperson, Loren Pavitt said they had taken the decision to not provide media comments at this stage given the sensitive nature of the case and the ongoing investigation and all journalists were encouraged to attend court proceedings for further information.
More: The South African