Fury as Sheba, the Bengal tiger which tried to maul man and killed two dogs, is euthanised

Animal rights activists have condemned the ‘inhumane’ practice of keeping wild animals in private collections after escaped Bengal tiger Sheba was shot dead in South Africa. The eight-year-old escaped from a private farm on Saturday and attacked a man and killed two dogs and a pig while on the loose for days.

She was shot dead in the early hours of the morning today after being spotted in a residential area in the Walkerville region , south of the capital of Johannesburg.

Chris Lewis, Captivity Research Officer, at international animal welfare charity the Born Free Foundation, said: “This tragic incident once again brings to light the sad reality that dangerous wild animals such as these are still being allowed to be kept by private individuals.

“It will likely shock some people to know that even here in the UK, it is still legal for members of the public to keep big cats provided the owner acquires the appropriate licences.

“In today’s modern society, it must be questioned why such an archaic, inhumane practice is still allowed to continue.”

Meanwhile, South African’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) questioned why a licence was not required to have exotic animals in the Gauteng province where Sheba was kept.

A spokesman said: “This tigress, which has already displayed the behaviour of a tiger in the wild, did not wander into a residential area on her own.

“She was unwillingly brought there to be held in captivity, something that should not have been allowed to take place to begin with.”

Officials said it had proven impossible to capture the big cat safely, and its owner gave the go-ahead for her to be put down.

Gresham Mandy, a community police group representative, said: “Due to the terrain and area it was not possible to contain her or secure her safely.

“At 3.45am the decision was made to euthanise her while it was still safe to do so.

“Unfortunately at that moment in time darting her was not an option.”

Mr Mandy said it was “not an easy decision” but the safety of the community was “a priority”.

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source: express.co.uk