Three men arrested for allegedly smuggling a lion cub from Limpopo to a home in Athlone, in the Cape’s Southern Suburbs, made their first court appearance on Wednesday, August 28. They were each granted bail of R5 000. The accused are Moegamat Rayaan Simons, Shurud Jacobs and Sulaiman Effendi – who is the son of Najwa Petersen, the woman convicted of murdering her husband, Taliep Petersen.
The lion cub, with an estimated street value of R50 000, was discovered in Effendi’s Athlone home last week. After the cub was tracked down, the fluffy cat was transported to a place of safety.
Effendi is the boyfriend of beauty blogger and strong supporter of animal rights, Qaanita Orrie. After the arrest, she posted the following statement via her Instagram account: “I need to make it clear that I neither support nor condone the illegal possession or smuggling of wild animals. I am honestly devastated at what has happened and hurt to have been made a part of it all. I am and forever will be a passionate animal lover.”
It has been reported that authorities suspect a second lion cub has also been stolen from Thabazimbi in Limpopo, which is the same place the first lion cub disappeared from.
In South Africa, three animals in the cat family, namely, the cheetah, lion, and leopard, are categorised by the national biodiversity law as “vulnerable species”. As a result, their possession in private homes is restricted and permits are required.
Their cases have been postponed until November 27 for further investigation.